Evanston RoundTable

Good morning, Evanston.

Evanston Township High School hosted six in-person commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 on Saturday. The optional event, which was live-streamed on the ETHS YouTube channel, was held at the school’s Lazier Field. The ceremonies took place on a beautiful, warm, sunny day. The 60-minute graduation programs accommodated students and their families in the safest way possible, which included physical distancing and wearing masks.

On Sunday, ETHS virtually celebrated the graduating Class of 2021, which was live-streamed on the ETHS YouTube channel and included additional music selections, speeches, and recognition of academic accomplishments.

Despite rising lake levels in recent years, Lee Street beach had ample room for crowds on Saturday. (RoundTable photo)

In City news, free beach tokens and hazard pay are on the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting as orders of special business. City staff will present the budget estimates for the cost of eliminating the sale of beach tokens and refunding all payments received to date. Alderperson Devon Reid, who introduced the measure at the May 10 Council meeting, requests approval of a resolution authorizing a pilot program for free beach access for the 2021 season. Season token and daily pass beach revenue is budgeted at $1M in the 2021 adopted budget. The City has been giving out free beach tokens to families since 2018, when they distributed 2,400 free tokens.

The Council will consider for discussion another ordinance proposed by Alderperson Reid concerning hazard pay for workers, which would require larger retailers or franchises located in the City to pay essential workers an additional $6.00 per hour on top of their base wage for work performed during Phases 1 through 3 of Illinois’ Coronavirus Response, and an additional $3.50 per hour on top of the base wage for work performed during Phase 4 of the Illinois Coronavirus Response. This requirement will be retroactive, going back 15 weeks from the date of passage of the ordinance.

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

  • The number of COVID-19 cases in Evanston dropped to 21 the week ending May 23, down from 29 the week ending May 16.
  • Northwestern University reported no new cases the week ending May 20. Northwestern students, staff, and professors living in Evanston are included in City test and case counts. 
  • Evanston School District 65 reported two new cases among students and one new case among staff members for the week ending Friday, May 21. The number of students in quarantine was 40. 
  • There were two new cases among students at ETHS last week. ETHS reported six students in quarantine.
  • There were no fatalities reported last week. Evanston has lost 117 residents to the pandemic. 
  • Our City’s seven-day positive test rate is 0.4% and in Illinois it is 2.0%.
  • The number of cases per 100,000 population over the last seven days is 28 in Evanston and 65 in Illinois.
  • As of Sunday, 5.1 million or 40% of Illinois residents are fully vaccinated.

The Week Ahead





  • Feeling Good in Contemporary Black Culture. Author Literary Lunchbreak Virtual Event, co-sponsored by Evanston Public Library and Bookends & Beginnings. Badia Ahad-Legardy discusses her book Afro-Nostalgia with WBEZ reporter and author Natalie Moore. 12 to 1 p.m.


  • Evanston Township High School District 202 Last Day of School (Grades 9-11) Ecology Center Night Hike: Test your nocturnal senses on a guided night hike through the Arboretum. Themed night hike activities, a campfire and s’mores make for a perfect evening. Pre-registration is required. 7:30 to 9 p.m.


  • Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market at intersection of University Place and Oak Avenue (just east of East Railroad Avenue). Free parking is available in the adjacent 1800 Maple Avenue Self Park. 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! 

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