Evanston RoundTable
In a District 65 survey of third to eighth graders, 24% said they had been called mean names or teased. (Photo by Bessie Mbadugha) Credit: Bessie Mbadugha

Happy Friday morning, Evanston!

As Evanston/Skokie School District 65 students reacclimated to in-person learning this year, there has been an increase in reports of bullying. A survey of third to eighth graders found nearly one in four “had been called mean names, been made fun of, or teased in a hurtful way.”

The district has contracted with a nonprofit that provides customized recess periods to encourage activity and foster life skills as well as provide anti-bullying training for lunchroom supervisors.

As the state announces a plan to end its mask mandate, new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to show significant declines in Chicago, suburban Cook County and the state. New cases in Evanston also fell in the last week, though unfortunately three more Evanstonians died due to COVID-19.

The City of Evanston would be permitted to continue its masking requirement after the state drops its mandate Feb. 28, but the city said in a Thursday statement that “if we continue to experience declines in these leading COVID-19 metrics, a determination will be made on how to proceed with mask mandates at that time.” 

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

At this time: 1:18 p.m. Thursday. It’s off to the state tournament for the Evanston High School Chess Team. From left, front row: Nathan Melnikov, Isabela Maiewski, Elijah Platnick, Boaz Lieberman and Jonah Chen; back row: Rohil Bose, Patrick O’Sullivan, Meris Goldfarb, Luca Zerega, Peter Kezdy and Ozan Mixon. The team, seeded fifth out of 128 schools, plays in Peoria on Friday and Saturday. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Fire Captain Michael Spillane

Fire Captain Michael Spillane announces retirement after 25 years of service. Spillane started his career in May of 1996 as a firefighter/paramedic and was promoted to Fire Apparatus Operator in June of 2007 and Fire Captain in May of 2018.

ETHS girls basketball: Regular season ends with a thud for Wildkits. The Kits saw their five-game winning string snapped in a 67-50 loss to state-ranked Hersey on the road Thursday night.

Young musicians shine on stage during the Walker variety show. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

Fifth Grade Variety Show wows online, in-person audiences. For Walker Elementary School, the return of the treasured tradition “felt normal in a year that has been anything but normal.”

More than 100 people attended the Visible/Invisible exhibition opening at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, including (from left) curators Fran Joy, Indira Johnson and Lisa Degliatoni.

New exhibition offers perspectives on visible and hidden violence. The Visible/Invisible exhibition, on view at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, showcases artists’ responses to violence in various media, bringing new perspectives to issues that have received widespread attention and shedding light on topics lacking media coverage.

Picturing Evanston. The Lakefill on Northwestern’s campus, with a nod to Magritte. (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

The Orion Ensemble returns to Nichols Concert Hall in March. Music from the 19th and 20th centuries fills the program for the third concert of The Orion Ensemble’s 29th season, featuring works by Schoenfield, Still and Tchaikovsky.

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Around the web

Black History Month: Nine unexpected places to learn about history. The National Parks Conservation Association highlights sites where you can learn often overlooked stories about those who shaped U.S. history and culture.

15-year-old becomes first Black girl ever to make a boys varsity hockey team in Evanston. Ari Sushinski has been playing with the boys since she was about seven years old.

Obama kicked off presidential campaign 15 years ago: A look back and forward. Barack Obama formally announced his presidential candidacy at the Old State Capitol in Springfield on Feb. 10, 2007.

Public defenders can now defend Cook County residents facing deportation. The change is a key victory to immigration rights activists demanding legal representation for those confronting deportation cases.

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Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...