Evanston RoundTable

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss has announced the city’s vaccine and mask mandates will end this Monday, Feb. 28, the same day the state of Illinois lifts similar restrictions.

“Today’s announcement isn’t a declaration of victory over COVID-19,” Biss wrote, “on the contrary, it’s an acknowledgement that total victory is still quite distant, and therefore that we have to assess our policies based on the expectation that they will be kept in place for a long time.”

The Wednesday message from Biss came less than a day after Evanston Township High School District 202 announced it will move to a mask-optional policy Feb. 28.

You can read the mayor’s full statement here.

Juan Geracaris. (City of Evanston photo)

Mayor Daniel Biss has appointed Juan Geracaris to fill the open Ninth Ward council seat. If approved by the Evanston City Council at its Feb. 28 meeting, Geracaris would become the city’s first Latino council member. His appointment comes after a public search process that included open applications and a candidate forum.

Student literacy data for District 65 and District 202. (Chart from school board memo)

At a joint meeting Tuesday night, the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and Evanston Township High School District 202 boards reviewed statistics showing the districts are falling short on student literacy and discussed revamping their 2014 joint literacy goal

Just 53.4% of current freshmen in the class of 2025 met both MAP reading standards in eighth grade and the Star reading standards in ninth grade, and nonwhite and low-income students continue to struggle the most.

COVID-19 by the numbers: 17 cases were reported on Tuesday, Feb. 22, the last day the city updated case totals. The seven-day average is 14 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

At This Time: Wednesday at 11:24 a.m. Nickie Lee and her mother, Raven Ashford, took a cab to the Evanston Police Department so they could pick up four KN95 respirator masks being distributed by the city. “We have to protect ourselves and the ones around us,” said Lee. “COVID is real. No joke. It’s killing people.” About 110 free masks were given away at the station, one of four sites offering masks from the federal government. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Dawes students listen as ETHS staff and students read. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Districts 65 and 202 come together for literacy and Black empowerment. A group of ETHS students spent the morning of Feb. 22 reading books about Black joy and empowerment to second-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Dawes Elementary School.

ETHS boys basketball: Second-half surge saves Wildkits in regional opener. The Kits staggered past No. 12 seed Schaumburg for a 58-49 victory, after trailing by 7 points at halftime.

Clarence Weaver, co-owner of C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

‘They serve the community unselfishly’: C&W Market expands help for those in need. While trying to find more ways to help the Evanston community after leaving the corporate world, Clarence and Wendy Weaver decided in 2014 to open C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor at 1901 Church St.

NU closes building after finding message officials call ‘act of intimidation.’ Officials at Northwestern University said the multicultural center will remain closed until Friday as authorities investigate a message written on a whiteboard in the facility.

The cover of a book by Northwestern Professor Ava Thompson Greenwell, who is hosting a Black History Month conversation tonight at 7 p.m.

Local events as Black History Month nears its end. Check out a few more local opportunities, including a talk by a Northwestern journalism professor and a lecture at the Block Museum of Art.

Les Jacobson: Remembering Mr. Arnelle. Our columnist remembers the influence that a crossing guard outside his elementary school in 1950s New Rochelle, New York, had on his life.

EvanSTEM’s Cardboard Carnival kicks off this Saturday. The Cardboard Carnival is a free series of citywide challenges for District 65 students and Evanston residents in grades 5-8.

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Around the web

Russia invades Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine early Thursday. The assault began hours before dawn with a series of missile attacks as well as the use of long-range artillery.

CTA aims for all-electric bus fleet by 2040. Currently, Chicago’s public transit system has 11 electric buses in its fleet of over 1,800, but the rest still run on diesel.

A comprehensive guide to Evanston City Council meetings. The Daily Northwestern explains how the City Council operates and what goes on at meetings.

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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...