Stories by Alexandra Silets

The Week in Review: CPS Board Vote Keeps Cops in Schools

(Don Harder / Flickr)

The Chicago Board of Education votes to keep police in schools for now. Chicago and the state enter phase four of reopening. Rumors the city’s top cop is leaving amid spikes in gun violence. 

Spotlight Politics: The Debate Over Police in Schools

Demonstrators march in Chicago on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 to show their support for removing police officers from schools. (WTTW News)

A contentious vote on police in schools. The next phase of reopening for the city and state. A plan for in-person instruction at schools in the fall. Those stories and more in this week’s roundtable.

The Week in Review: Chicago Recognizes Juneteenth, Agrees to Study Reparations

Chicago City Hall (MIke / Flickr)

The Chicago Police Department missed 70% of reform deadlines set out in a consent decree. A landmark week at the U.S. Supreme Court and the Chicago City Council recognizes Juneteenth.

Aldermen Weigh In on Police Funding, Reparations, Cops in Schools

Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward) speaks about the Police Free Schools Ordinance on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. (WTTW News)

Protesters across the city and nation continue to push for police reforms that some elected officials say should include defunding the police. That’s just one of the topics on the City Council’s packed agenda Wednesday.

The Week in Review: Lightfoot Wants to License Police, Activists Call to Defund Cops

A screenshot from a video surveillance camera inside the office of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush on June 1, 2020. (WTTW News via City of Chicago)

Activists call on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to defund the police – an idea she rejects. She’s pushing to license police after video caught a dozen officers lounging as looters destroyed businesses.

Spotlight Politics: Chicago’s Dual Challenge to Reopen, Rebuild

Navy Pier on the eve of its June 10 reopening. (WTTW News)

Amid a pandemic that has been linked to the deaths of more than 2,000 people in Chicago, the city is cautiously reopening. But some communities are facing another hurdle: rebuilding.

The Week in Review: Tensions Rise Between Community, Police Amid Protests

Protesters and police officers wearing riot gear have a standoff near Daley Plaza on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling for the firing of the Chicago police officer who flipped off protesters. A citywide curfew will remain in place even though most recent protests have been peaceful.

The Week in Review: Illinois Begins Partially Reopening

Illinois partially reopens Friday as the state surpasses more than 115,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 5,000 deaths. Chicago is planning its reopening for June 3.

Memorial Day Weekend Violence ‘Unacceptable,’ Strategy a ‘Fail’

With 49 shot and 10 killed over Memorial Day weekend, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is ripping her new police superintendent’s strategies. “This was a fail and whatever the strategy is, it didn’t work,” Lightfoot said.

The Week in Review: Illinois Set to Reopen Late May, Chicago Eyes Early June

(WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker greenlights a partial reopening of the state next week. Mayor Lori Lightfoot says Chicago won’t reopen until early June. State lawmakers battle over masks, reopening and the budget.

The Week in Review: Illinois’ COVID-19 Peak Pushed Back

Family members wearing masks walk along the sidewalk in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, all residents should wear face masks or coverings when social distancing is not possible. (WTTW News)

More than 4,000 have died from COVID-19 in Illinois as Gov. J.B. Pritzker pushes the state’s estimated peak to mid-June. Chicago is on pace to move to the next phase at the end of the month, but the lakefront will remain closed. 

The Week in Review: Officials Unveil Plans to Reopen City, State

(Stephen M. Scott / Flickr)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot details how she plans to reopen Chicago days after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker details the state’s blueprint. And the state’s unemployment system is overhauled to handle the deluge of people filing for benefits.

Stress on the Front Lines: Medical Providers Coping with Fatigue, Fear

(Courtesy of Rush University)

The global COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful on everyone, but health care workers on the front lines are dealing with incredible mental health challenges.

US Rep. Robin Kelly on COVID-19 Health Disparities, Stimulus Funds

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (WTTW News)

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit African American and Hispanic and Latino communities especially hard in terms of infection and death. We speak with U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly about health disparities, funding and more.

The Week in Review: COVID-19 Cases Soar As Testing Increases

(WTTW News)

Illinois records more than 3,000 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, which officials attribute to an increase in testing. McCormick Place is winding down operations as an alternate care site. And as a new modified stay-at-home order begins, hundreds protest.

The Week in Review: Stay-at-Home Order Extended Through May 30

A quiet lakefront in Chicago on March 26, 2020. (WTTW News)

Illinois sets a new record of confirmed COVID-19 cases as testing capacity expands. Gov. J.B. Pritzker extends the stay-at-home order until May 30 with some modifications. And Chicago aldermen narrowly approve emergency powers for Mayor Lori Lightfoot. 

Cook County Medical Examiner Prepares for a Surge in COVID-19 Deaths

(WTTW News)

About 70% of Illinois’ COVID-19 deaths are in Cook County. As a result of the pandemic, the medical examiner’s office opened an off-site morgue to deal with a surge in deaths.

What’s Being Done to Address COVID-19 at Nursing Homes in Illinois

(sabinevanerp / Pixabay)

The statistics are sobering. Data shows that nearly a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in Illinois are tied to nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 

The Week in Review: Pritzker Suspends In-Person Learning for Rest of Year

(Brandis Friedman / WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker closes schools for in-person learning for the rest of the year to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus as cases and deaths continue to climb. Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fines the company behind the Crawford Power Plant implosion. 

After Halting WHO Funding, Trump Comes Under Fire Yet Again

President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing on April 8, 2020. (WTTW News via CNN)

President Donald Trump has halted funding to the World Health Organization until a review can be conducted of its pandemic response. U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Jan Schakowsky weigh in on that and other recent moves by Trump.

Pandemic Changes Rituals of Life — and Death

(Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash)

Dealing with loved ones dying in normal times can be difficult enough. But during this global health crisis, a host of new challenges arise as physical distancing forces families apart during final bedside moments.

The Week in Review: Officials Hope Illinois is Flattening the Curve

An overcrowded hospital in Brooklyn deals with COVID-19 cases. (WTTW News via CNN)

While the COVID-19 death toll is nearing 600 in Illinois, officials are hopeful that the state is starting to flatten the curve, but leaders are urging residents to celebrate the Easter holiday from home.

Celebrating Easter and Passover During the Pandemic

A Seder dinner service. (mollyjade / Flickr)

Will the holidays be vastly different during the stay-at-home order? A local rabbi and pastor talk about how they are ministering during this strange time.

Illinois Congressmen React to Trump’s Ouster of COVID-19 Stimulus Watchdog

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus pandemic during a press briefing Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (WTTW News via CNN)

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump fired Glenn Fine, chairman of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, whose job was to oversee the administration of trillions of dollars in federal funding. We get reaction from three Illinois congressmen.

The Week in Review: COVID-19 Cases Soar as McCormick Place Facility Opens

Illinois saw its largest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases on Friday, with an additional 1,209 people testing positive for the virus. A growing number of Chicago cases prompts the creation of a field hospital at McCormick Place.

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