Starting Monday, everyone in suburban Cook County, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors, officials announced Friday.
“We are in a dangerous period, with the delta variant surging, during which we must return to previous remediation measures,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, co-lead and senior medical officer of Cook County Department of Public Health. “We have no choice but to mandate that people wear masks indoors to help contain this spread of the virus.”
Chicago Public Schools prepares to welcome students back to the classroom as the delta variant of COVID-19 is driving the number of infections up across the city. The rising case count has put another wedge between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union.
“We’re concerned that the mayor and the city are trying to roll back a number of health protections,” said CTU President Jesse Sharkey. “For example, they want to decrease social distancing, they want to get rid of the metrics that we’d use for a potential shut down if the situation in the schools gets worse.”
Meanwhile, the Illinois State Board of Education has put dozens of school districts on probation for disregarding the governor’s school mask mandate, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The Illinois General Assembly will return to Springfield at the end of the month for a special session on legislative maps. Will Democrats draw out downstate Republican Rodney Davis which could result in a gubernatorial run for the congressman?
“My political future depends upon the Democrats who have supermajorities in Springfield and upon Gov. Pritzker deciding whether or not to keep his promise of not signing another legislatively drawn, gerrymandered political map,” Davis said. “I’m going to decide what my future holds … based upon the political battlefield that the Democrats control. And when they release it, I’ll make my decisions.”
Also this week, a trial date was set for members of former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle in the ComEd bribery scandal. The Supreme Court denies the Obama Presidential Center’s opponents’ effort to halt construction work. And President Joe Biden takes the blame for the messy withdrawal in Afghanistan.
Police and violence
Officer Ella French was laid to rest Thursday. She is the 582nd Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty. Her family, former police partner and the father of her current partner eulogized her along with Cardinal Blaze Cupich, who asked for unity.
Activists and youth leaders are calling on Chicago officials to dump the city’s contract with gunshot detection company ShotSpotter, claiming the technology is unreliable and often leads to police being sent into communities on “high alert” for false alarms.
“CPD and ShotSpotter assert that by identifying the location of gunshots and sending police there, fewer crimes are going to occur,” said Adwoa Agyepong, a member of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America. “They claim with ShotSpotter and other technology, we are being kept safe. This is obviously a lie.”
Meanwhile, approval numbers for Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx fall as fears about violence rise, according to a new WGN poll.
Also this week, the long-awaited trial of Chicago native R. Kelly is underway.
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