Chicago Public Schools students were told to stay home but teachers were expected to report to classrooms Monday as the battle over in-person learning continues.
As the city of Chicago continues to see improvements in its coronavirus metrics, the state of Illinois has moved the city forward to Phase 4 rules - though the city has implemented stricter mitigations of its own.
Here are the latest COVID-19 headlines from around the state:
Appointments Open Tuesday for New Cook County COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Site
Appointments for suburban Cook County's second large COVID-19 community vaccination site, Triton College in River Grove, will open at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to Cook County Health.
Appointments can be made at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov. Those without internet access or who need assistance scheduling can call 833-308-1988 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Under Phase 1B, the current phase of Illinois' vaccination rollout, people age 65 years and older as well as "frontline essential workers," which includes first responders, education workers like teachers and support staff and grocery store employees, are eligible.
You can find more information on appointments here.
Illinois Adds 41 New COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Across State
The state of Illinois has added 41 new COVID-19 vaccination sites since Jan. 26, according to a news release from state health officials Monday.
More than 3.2 million of the state's residents are eligible for vaccinations under Phase 1B, which includes people age 65 years and older as well as "frontline essential workers." Among those in that category are: first responders, education workers like teachers and support staff as well as grocery store employees and postal workers.
In all, 310 vaccination sites have opened across the state.
Region 10 'on Track' to Move to Phase 4 Mitigations Tuesday, Health Officials Say
Suburban Cook County is expected to move to Phase 4 coronavirus mitigation rules, if numbers continue trending in the right direction.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 10, which includes Cook County suburbs, but not the city of Chicago, is meeting the metrics required to move to the less-restrictive rules on Tuesday.
Region 10 would mark the eighth region in the state to move back to that level since the state began allowing regions to move forward in mid-January. On Monday, Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, moved to Phase 4, while the city of Chicago entered a modified version of the phase over the weekend.
Illinois Reports 2,312 New COVID-19 Cases, 16 Additional Deaths Monday
Health officials in Illinois have reported 2,312 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus on Monday, along with 16 additional deaths attributed to the virus.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Monday's new cases bring the state to 1,128,613 cases of the virus in the state, with 19,259 deaths attributed to COVID since the pandemic began last year.
IDPH also noted that Region 10 is on track to move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan on Tuesday.
Over the last 24 hours, 61,263 test specimens have been turned in to state laboratories, bringing the statewide total number of tests performed to 16,100,555.
The seven-day positivity rate on all dipped again on Monday to 3.9%, its lowest mark since October. The positivity rate on individuals tested during that time stands at 4.9%.
As of Sunday night, there were 2,387 coronavirus patients in Illinois hospitals, the lowest number in that category since mid-October. Of those patients, 515 were currently in intensive care units, while 278 were on ventilators.
2 Suburban Counties Move to Phase 4 Mitigations Monday, State Announces
Another health care region in the state of Illinois has reached Phase 4 coronavirus mitigation rules.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Region 7, comprised of Will and Kankakee counties, has met the metrics required to move to the less-restrictive rules on Monday.
Region 7 marks the seventh region in the state to move back to that level since the state began allowing regions to move forward in mid-January. Regions 8, 9 and 10 are all in Tier 1 mitigations, while Region 4, located in southwest Illinois, remains in Tier 2.
Read more here.
How Chicago's Phase 4 is Different from the Rest of Illinois
Chicago officially moved into Phase 4 of Illinois’ coronavirus mitigation plan, but things won't be quite the same as other regions under this phase of state's reopening guidelines.
Under normal circumstances, the move to Phase 4 would bump up capacity limits in indoor dining establishments, but city officials say that restaurants and bars will be required to adhere to Tier 1 limits on those numbers. That means indoor service will be limited to 25% or 25 or fewer persons per room, with no tables exceeding six customers indoors.
Bar service is allowed to resume at restaurants and bars, however, according to a press release from the city.
In a news release, city officials stated that while numbers continue to decline, they claim a "hurried return to greater indoor capacity would bring serious risk" of reducing the progress that has been made.
"We have just resumed safe indoor dining, and while we are excited to make that move we must continue to be thoughtful and cautious in our reopening," Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said a statement. "The last thing we want is to cause a third wave of the virus by rushing to fully reopen riskier settings where masks are removed and people gather in close proximity.”
Chicago Public Schools Says Teachers to Report to Classrooms Monday; No Agreement Reached
With no agreement in place between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union, CPS officials announced that if teachers do not report to classrooms on Monday, they will be considered “absent without leave” and will not be authorized to conduct remote learning until they report back to their classrooms.
The action could potentially set up a teachers’ strike in the coming days, and represents the latest salvo fired in the ongoing negotiations between the two sides.
“All teachers, pre-K through eight and cluster teachers must report,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press conference. “If you don’t have an approved accommodation, we expect to see you back in class. Those who do not report to work…we will have to take action. Let’s avoid that.”
Parents are being told not to send their children to school on Monday for in-person learning. Under the original parameters of CPS’ return-to-class plan, students in K-8 were supposed to report to class for the first time on Feb. 1, but after a vote by the Chicago Teachers Union earlier this month, that will not occur Monday.
Coronavirus by the Numbers: COVID-19 Metrics in Each of Illinois' 11 Health Care Regions
Chicago’s health care region became the sixth to move to Phase 4 coronavirus mitigations on Sunday, and it will soon be joined by another as Region 7 will likely move to the next phase of mitigation rules Monday.
According to the latest coronavirus metrics released by the state, all seven regions that will be in Phase 4 mitigations Monday are currently trending in the right direction to stay that way, with positivity rates remaining low and hospitalizations dropping in most of the state.
Here are the latest coronavirus metrics from each of the state’s 11 health care regions, broken down by which phase or tier the region is currently in.
Agreements Reached on 4 of Several Issues in CPS and CTU Dispute: Chicago Officials
The Chicago Public Schools and the city's teachers union became one closer to ending their in-person learning dispute Saturday as, according to city officials, both sides reached tentative agreements on four key issues.
The four issues were said to be health and safety protocols, ventilation, contact tracing as well as health and safety committees.
"There is still significant work that needs to be done on the remaining several open issues," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson said in a joint statement issued in the early evening. "We must make additional, meaningful progress today and tomorrow as time is running out."