Evanston RoundTable
Police squad cars block traffic to ETHS Thursday. (Photo by Evan Girard) Credit: Evan Girard

Good Friday morning, Evanston.

Just after 10 a.m. Thursday morning, Evanston Township High School sent an emergency alert to the parents and families of students announcing that the school was on lockdown due to an apparent safety threat.

“Safety alert! Evanston Township High School is on lockdown,” the email notice said. “If you are in the building, go directly to a room and secure it. Anyone not in the building should stay away. Traffic congestion will delay emergency vehicles.”

According to the Evanston Police Department, an ETHS school resource officer was alerted to at least two students smoking marijuana in a bathroom around 9:30 a.m. While apprehending those students, the officer discovered backpacks containing two loaded guns and marijuana, police said.

ETHS students perform in the theatre program’s production of YAMO last week. (RoundTable photo)

In a Thursday afternoon email to students and families, Evanston Township High School Superintendent Dr. Eric Witherspoon announced that the remaining school days before winter break, from Dec. 17 to Dec. 23, will be conducted remotely due to an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 cases among students and staff.

This decision to go fully remote also comes a day after the school canceled the remaining performances of YAMO scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week due to an outbreak of COVID-19 positives among students in the cast.

COVID-19 update as of Dec. 16: new cases spike at District 65 and ETHS, jump to 111 in Evanston and 11,856 in the state. The 111 new cases reported Thursday represents the most new cases the city has experienced in a single day at any point in the pandemic.

In the United States, 25% of newspapers have ceased operation, and 2,000 community newspapers have closed in the past 15 years. The vacuum created when local journalism declines poses a serious threat to democracy. Our democracy relies on a free press to educate the public.

Through year-end, your donation to the RoundTable will be matched through commitments from national and local partners.

In the spirit of giving, several community organizations have donated gift items and certificates to be raffled off to RoundTable donors. This week’s raffle is two tickets to any one of the four remaining productions of Northlight Theatre’s 2021 – 2022 season. All donors to the fall campaign will be eligible to win.

Invest in Evanston. Invest in local non-profit journalism.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

A rendering of the high-rise at 1900 Sherman Ave. that won Evanston City Council approval Dec. 13. (HACC rendering)

City Council backs 1900 Sherman high-rise for seniors, with market-rate apartments to help pay for construction of 51 affordable units. Council members unanimously approved the 16-story apartment building for senior living, which will be located near downtown Evanston.

Proposal to impose an access fee on private lakefront properties brings a wave of reactions. Members of a city committee discussed a proposal by 8th Ward Council member Devon Reid that the city assess a fee on 42 lakefront properties where access is cut off from the public.

At This Time: 8:16 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 16. Bob Kimmerle met friends for an early morning breakfast, and is seen afterward crossing Raymond Park on his way home. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Bloomberg Philanthropies recognizes Evanston for using data to improve lives. The City of Evanston was named one of 10 cities to receive the What Works Cities Certification, which recognizes cities for their exceptional use of data to guide decision-making and improve residents’ lives.

Around the web

Omicron Variant Detected in Suburban Cook County, Officials Announce. The Cook County Department of Public Health identified the first Omicron case in the Chicago suburbs Tuesday. The individual who tested positive is asymptomatic and fully vaccinated.

A water crisis decades in the making has come to a head at a prison just outside Chicago. Demonstrators gathered last week outside Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Ill., to demand clean water for inmates, who have been drinking brown-tinged water containing elevated levels of copper.

Like what you’re reading? Share it!

If you appreciate the RoundTable newsletter, please forward it to friends and suggest that they sign up!

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...