Evanston RoundTable

Good Thursday morning, Evanston.

Parents and guardians of Nichols Middle School students received email notifications Wednesday afternoon that the school, located at 800 Greenleaf St., had moved to a “Secure and Teach,” or soft lockdown, after a threat had been found in a girls bathroom.

According to an afternoon email from Nichols Principal Marcus Wright, the threat indicated the possibility of violence in the building on Thursday, Jan. 20. In an evening update, Wright wrote that dismissal had gone smoothly on Wednesday and the investigation was ongoing, but the Evanston Police Department said school operations can resume as scheduled on Thursday.

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ETHS administrators provide a COVID-19 update to the school board on Tuesday, Jan. 18. (Screenshot via ETHS District 202)

At the most recent gathering of the Evanston Township High School District 202 School Board on Tuesday, school officials provided an overview of the current COVID-19 situation at the high school amid the ongoing surge in cases from the omicron variant’s impact

Based on conversations with the Evanston Health and Human Services Department last month, ETHS began COVID-19 testing for all students, regardless of vaccination status, on Jan. 11. The school reported a record 311 new positive cases among students between Friday, Jan. 7 and Friday, Jan. 14. Numbers are updated weekly on the ETHS COVID-19 dashboard

COVID by the numbers: 43 cases were reported on Tuesday, the last time the city updated case numbers. The seven-day average is 106 cases per day.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable website

The ACLU’s Paige Fernandez gives a presentation to the Evanston Reimagining Public Safety Committee at its Jan. 18 virtual meeting. (Screenshot image)

Reimagining Public Safety panel looks at Minnesota model for reducing police role. Evanston’s Reimagining Public Safety Committee met Tuesday evening to discuss a public safety resolution in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and violence prevention efforts.

ETHS survey invites community input in superintendent search. The District 202 School Board is seeking feedback from Evanston residents on the search for a new superintendent through this survey, which is available through Jan. 31.

Lisa Degliantoni. (Jamie Kelter Davis Photography)

Who made Evanston Made. Lisa Degliantoni launched the local arts-promoting organization Evanston Made in 2012, and since then it has grown from a handful to more than 450 members.

Rank and File | ETHS chess shows depth at conference championship. At last weekend’s North Suburban Chess League Conference Championship, the eight-board varsity team tied for second place.

At this time: 9:24 a.m. Wednesday. Evergreens and shrubs are wrapped in burlap outside a condo building at Dempster Street and Elmwood Avenue. “They almost look like gnomes,” said Amy Dale of Evanston’s Green Edens landscaping, and to another observer they somewhat resembled the Easter Island statues. (Photo by Richard Cahan)

Handicraft Hour at The Willard House offers interactive activities for all ages. The Frances Willard House Museum’s first Handicraft Hour of 2022 will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 30 and will explore children’s homemade newspapers.

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Around the web

Chicago COVID: City passes omicron peak, but not out of woods yet, Dr. Allison Arwady says. The commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health announced in a news conference Wednesday that the city had officially reached the peak of the omicron wave.

Chicago Public Media will acquire the Chicago Sun-Times. WBEZ Chicago’s board made the blockbuster move official on Tuesday, creating one of the largest nonprofit media brands in the nation. The transaction is expected to close Jan. 31.

Evanston Housing and Community Development Committee discusses contract renewals, affordable housing. The committee approved recommendations of renewals for two city housing-related contracts on Tuesday, which will be sent next to City Council.

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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...