Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson Tuesday said that more than half of teachers expected to return to schools Monday did not show up. Her comments came at a news conference shortly after the head of the union representing principals criticized CPS’s decision to resume in-person instruction.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, meanwhile, called on President Donald Trump and the incoming Joe Biden administration to exponentially increase the number of COVID-19 vaccines given to cities, saying the current distribution is not enough.
After the rolling weekly average of cases had been trending downward since early December, it has now been headed back up in the last week. And the statewide case positivity rate reached an average of 8.6% for week ending Sunday, an increase of 1.2 percentage points over the last week and the highest it’s been since the week ending Dec. 14. The case positivity rate dipped as low as 6.8% for the week ending Christmas Day.
Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:
10:24 a.m.: Missing your stimulus check? Direct deposits issued, but some glitches; paper checks may take longer
Quick, take a look at your bank account — or your mailbox — did up to $600 in stimulus cash show up yet?
If it didn’t, the Internal Revenue Service is telling taxpayers don’t call us — and don’t call your bank. If you’re worried and you’re waiting for your money, your best bet is to visit the IRS.gov Get My Payment website.
The IRS said: “IRS phone assisters do not have additional information beyond what’s available on IRS.gov.”
Most people shouldn’t be in panic mode, as the second stimulus money only began rolling out last week. There’s still time to see that cash, especially if it’s arriving via the mail.
10:20 a.m.: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says ‘exponential increase’ of COVID-19 vaccines needed to fight spread of coronavirus
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday called on President Donald Trump and the incoming Joe Biden administration to exponentially increase the number of COVID-19 vaccines given to cities, saying the current distribution is not enough.
”If you want to have us bend this curve, and give people confidence that they can resume their normal lives, there must be an exponential increase in the amount of vaccine that’s available to cities and towns all over the country,” Lightfoot said.
It would take a year and a half to vaccinate all of Chicago at the current rate, Lightfoot said. Lightfoot said the city already has distributed 95% of the vaccine it’s received but doesn’t have enough and wants more.
So far, the city’s administered at least 33,607 doses of vaccine, according to the city’s website.
Public health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city is getting nearly 33,000 Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses this week, with each making up about half.
9:10 a.m.: More than half of CPS teachers expected to return did not; head of principal union hits school leaders for creating reopening plan behind closed doors
More than half of Chicago Public Schools teachers who were expected to return to schools Monday did not show up, CEO Janice Jackson said.
Her comments came at a news conference Tuesday, days after the Chicago Teachers Union said some of its members would not report to schools because of ongoing concerns about adequate COVID-19 safeguards.
The overall percentage of staff members who showed up Monday was 62%, with seven in 10 paraprofessionals reporting to work, Jackson said.
She spoke shortly after the head of the union representing principals aimed another broadside at CPS’s decision to resume in-person instruction, likening the actions of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and school officials to those of a petulant child.
“The biggest obstacle to reopening is the management of CPS because they failed to meet the standard set by teachers and principals for our support of a reopening plan,” Troy LaRaviere, president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, said during an early morning news conference.
“If you tell your child that he can’t play outside until he cleans his room, but the child keeps his room a mess, who is the biggest obstacle to him playing outside?” he continued. “The mayor and CEO are like that child, whining about us setting standards for opening schools, rather than accepting responsibility for their failure to meet those standards.”
He described as a lack of transparency by the school district, a history of deceptive practices that have undercut trust, a refusal to hear from stakeholders while creating a reopening plan while spinning “its message” to the media.
8:10 a.m.: Federally funded food box program critical for charities during the pandemic extended through April – and now with more food choices
A federal program that has provided boxes of fresh food to charities facing long lines of hungry people during the coronavirus pandemic has been extended through April, offering a lifeline as the economy struggles to recover and unemployment remains high.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday that it will purchase $1.5 billion of food for the Families to Farmers Food Box Program. The funding was included in the COVID-19 relief package signed into law last month, just as the program was set to end and food banks were raising concerns about food supply amid a growing need.
The agency last year spent $4 billion on four rounds of the program, which launched in May and was included in the original COVID-19 relief legislation. It said some 3.3 billion meals have been distributed.
Under the program, USDA works with food distributors across the country to buy fresh meat, dairy and produce from farmers and assemble them into boxes that are delivered to food pantries and other charities. Deliveries for the latest round will begin shortly after contracts are awarded this month and continue through the end of April.
7:03 a.m.: Chicago officials to give update on vaccination efforts as county officials announce funding for food delivery for vulnerable during pandemic
Chicago officials Tuesday morning were scheduled to give an update on Chicago’s vaccination efforts, as Cook County officials announce details of a program to help deliver food to people facing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and city Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady were scheduled to brief the public and reporters Tuesday morning (Watch live here at 9:30 a.m.) about the progress of COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Chicago, according to the mayor’s office.
Meanwhile, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Betty Bogg, the executive director of nonprofit Connections for the Homeless, were scheduled to join local officials at a church in Evanston to announce private fundraising “for a meal delivery pilot program serving individuals and families facing homelessness,” according to Preckwinkle’s office.
“The announcement reflects a part of a larger partnership between Cook County and Connections that has led to $3.3 million from the County being infused into local landlords, restaurants, and the hospitality industry throughout the pandemic,” according to the release.
Also scheduled to speak at Preckwinkle’s news conference were a local restaurant owner and some who’s participated in the program after recently gaining housing. — Chicago Tribune staff
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul was warning Illinois residents Tuesday to watch out for scams related to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a news release.
Scammers could use the lure of allowing people to jump in line for a coronavirus vaccine to steal people’s personal information or scam them out of money, according to the release.
“People should be wary of anyone who offers the vaccine or promises priority access to the vaccine or a COVID-19 cure in exchange for money,” Raoul said in the release. “I am urging Illinois residents to be vigilant for scams related to the vaccine, which could compromise their health and personal information. People should report these scams to my office.”
Consumers “should be wary of anyone who offers the vaccine or promises priority access to the vaccine or a COVID-19 cure in exchange for money,” Raoul said in the release.
Officials urged anyone who’s contacted by someone offering a COVID-19 cure or vaccine to report the incident to the attorney general’s office and contact their local health department to see when the vaccine might be available to them.
“Currently, there is a limited amount of vaccine in Illinois and in the U.S.,” state Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in the relesae. “Because of the limited amount of vaccine, we want people to be aware of potential scammers who may ask you to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine, who offer to give you early access to the vaccine, or offer to ship you vaccine for payment.”
The vaccine’s distribution is being overseen by Illinois public health officials, and it is currently available in limited quantities. Residents will be able to receive the vaccine only through a designated health clinic. No one can pay to put their names on a distribution list or purchase early access to the vaccine. Consumers should also be aware that Medicare or Medicaid will not call seniors or residents to proactively offer the COVID-19 vaccine. Residents should consult their health care providers or local health departments for guidance in determining when the vaccine will be available to them.
More information is available on the Illinois attorney general’s website and state Department of Health’s website. Anyone who has questions or wants to report a scam can call the attorney general’s Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-386-5438 (Chicago), 1-800-243-0618 (Springfield), or 1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale), or file an online complaint. — Chicago Tribune staff
6 a.m.: University of Illinois’ COVID-19 saliva test moves closer to FDA approval, but not fast enough to meet the demand: ‘Every school district in Illinois would love to have this’
The University of Illinois has completed a critical step toward obtaining federal approval for its saliva-based COVID-19 test, but some lawmakers worry it’s taking too long to help other state colleges, school districts and companies struggling to operate amid the pandemic.
Medical technologist Joyce Chen prepares samples for the saliva-based COVID-19 test at the Molecular Pathology Laboratory at University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago on Dec. 11, 2020. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)
The test, developed by faculty at the state’s largest public university, was validated in a clinical study and last week submitted to regulators for emergency use authorization, a designation that enables broader distribution, according to Jay Walsh, interim vice president for economic development and innovation at the U. of I. System.
“We’re working as hard and as fast as we can on this,” Walsh said Thursday. “There are numerous challenges on rolling this out. We’ve tackled a lot of them on campus. … We hope to be able to leverage that learning and move this quickly forward.”
But nearly six months after its unveiling, the test remains largely confined to the school’s campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. With an emergency use request submitted, other parties will be able to use the test while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviews the application. It’s unclear how long that will take, but the emergency authorization is desirable because it provides liability protection among other regulatory benefits.
6 a.m.: ‘Frenzy’ in Illinois real estate means more homebuyers are putting in same-day offers. Here are 7 tips to help you prepare.
It’s a special moment: stepping into a for-sale home you know you want to make your own. Unfortunately, in the times of COVID-19, you’re more likely to share that feeling with a couple other interested homebuyers queued up to see the same house.
A surge in home sales — which began shortly after real-estate transactions resumed in late spring after the state’s initial stay-at-home order — has showed little sign of slowing as the industry approaches what used to be its winter lull.
But with high demand, low interest rates and dwindling supply that has continued to plummet, the hot market poses challenges for buyers. Statewide, inventory dropped by over one-third in a year, down from 54,604 homes a year ago to 34,486 in November, according to Illinois Realtors.
Same-day offers are becoming more common, with multiple offers coming in above the listing price, agents said. In response, they’ve developed new strategies, adapted to the rapid pace and figured out how to give clients their best shot at getting an offer accepted.
Here are some recent stories related to COVID-19:
Source by www.chicagotribune.com