Evanston RoundTable
Downtown Evanston in September (RoundTable photo) Credit: RoundTable photo

Good morning, Evanston.

Evanston will receive a significant financial boost as a result of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 federal stimulus package recently signed into law. City Manager Erika Storlie estimates the City of Evanston will receive $45 million, almost double the amount secured after the 2010 recession. City officials begin discussions about how best to use the funds.

In District 65 news, Superintendent Devon Horton gave an update on school plans for after spring break and for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. By reducing the social distancing requirement from six feet to three feet, the District will be able to provide additional seats for in-person learning after spring break. All staff will be required to return to in-person work for the school year 2021-22.

The downward trend in COVID-19 cases appears to have stalled and may be moving slightly upwards. “Even as we’re getting more and more vaccine doses, we cannot let our guard down, especially with these virulent new strains circulating,” stated Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. She and other health officials cautioned residents to stay vigilant. “Wear your masks, avoid large crowds, and keep six feet of distance.”

Are you 55 and older and want to get vaccinated? Advocate Aurora Health is currently scheduling appointments for Illinois residents 55 and older at a handful of locations in Illinois, including Des Plaines and Libertyville. Sign-up through the portal.  

We won’t tell you how to cast your vote, but we will give you unbiased information about candidates running for local elective offices, where they stand on important issues facing our City and schools, and what these decisions mean for Evanston.

If this coverage is helpful to you, please consider joining our community of engaged citizens who value local journalism by becoming a member of the Evanston RoundTable today. If you haven’t already, please take a minute to watch this short video about why the RoundTable’s mission is critically important to our community.

Local Election News: Early in-person voting began Monday at the Civic Center for the April 6 election. Residents have until April 1 to request a mail-in ballot. Please see Voting in the April 6 General Election and our Election Guide.

COVID-19 by the numbers: We are checking in with many sources to keep you updated on COVID-19 cases and vaccine information.

  • Eight new cases were reported yesterday in Evanston; the seven-day average is five.
  • There were no reported fatalities yesterday. Evanston has lost 114 residents to the pandemic.
  • Our City’s positive test rate for the past seven days is 0.7%; in suburban Cook County it is 3.9% and in Illinois it is 2.5%. 
  • The number of cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days is 52 in Evanston, 83 in suburban Cook County, and 102 in Illinois.
  • Illinois received 814,100 doses and used 637,000 doses of the vaccine in the past seven days. Illinois has used 78% of the 6.2 million doses received to date.
  • About 1.8 million or 14.0% of total Illinois residents are fully vaccinated, including 231,400 in the last seven days.

Variants: IDPH reports 176 cases of the more infectious COVID-19 variants, including six cases of variant P.1, first identified in Brazil. 

Evanston Vax Facts: One-third or 20,901 of Evanston residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and a fifth or 12,372 of residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated. The proportion of Evanston seniors vaccinated is higher; 88% of residents 65 and older have received at least one dose and 56% are fully vaccinated.

The City plans on holding two clinics to administer first dose vaccinations to residents 65 and older and begin vaccinating homebound residents this week. The City anticipates completing vaccinations at congregate living and shelter facilities. The City expects that nearly all residents 65 and older will be able to receive a first dose by the end of March. See the RoundTable’s resource page for vaccination and testing updates.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

Landmark Reparations Proposal Approved By City Council. Evanston City Council members approved a landmark reparations resolution on March 22, setting in motion housing assistance for eligible Black residents to redress some of the injustices they suffered over a half century of discriminatory practices.

Alderman Cicely Fleming: Statement on City Council Resolution 37-R-27. “Let me be clear: I am 100% in support of reparations. I come from three legacy Black families in Evanston who have suffered enough. I am one of countless such families across the country. Real reparations are long overdue.” 

E3R’s Reparation Seminar Provides Insight Into Common Ground and Divergence Around Evanston Reparations Program. The group “Evanston Rejects Racist Reparations” (E3R) held a community and candidate meeting on March 17 to discuss viewpoints on reparations in Evanston.

District 65 School Board Adopts “Land Acknowledgment and Acknowledgement of the Contributions of the Enslaved.” A motion to approve the Land Acknowledgement resolution was unanimously approved by the District 65 School Board Monday night.

Riva Lehrer (Photo by Shterna Goldbloom)

A Conversation with Riva Lehrer, Author of ‘Golem Girl’. Portrait artist, educator, curator, and author of the critically acclaimed memoir, “Golem Girl,” Riva Lehrer spoke to the Levy Lecture crowd about her life, her book, and her art.

Around the web

Chicago Suburbs Shapes Reparations for Black Residents: ‘It Is the Start’. The New York Times, along with many other national news organizations, covers the decision by Evanston to distribute $10 million in reparations to those who suffered housing discrimination.

Predominantly White Advocacy Group for Reopening Sees Success. This article in the Evanstonian, the student newspaper of ETHS, chronicles the advocacy of Reopen Evanston Schools (RES) and the varying level of interest among racial groups about returning to the classroom this school year.

Illinois Pot Smokers Won’t Get Vaccine Priority Cigarette smokers – but not weed smokers — are now eligible for the vaccine, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.