Need some COVID-safe entertainment? Drive-in music festival coming to Soldier Field
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of Chicago’s event curators to get much more creative when providing entertainment to the masses.
The Drive-In Fest, which is scheduled for Aug. 22 at Soldier Field (doors open at 6 p.m.), is the brainchild by five local Black promoters: Mike “Orie” Mosley (AFROTRAK); Ronald Platt, Bobby Burke, Charles Martin and Sigma Chris.
Concertgoers should expect feature performances from “a few of your favorite artists from the ’90s and early ’80s hip-hop/R&B era,” according to festival officials.
The festival lineup includes chart-topping singer-songwriter Lloyd, Pleasure P of R&B/hip-hop group Pretty Ricky, Atlanta-based singer Bobby V., and West Side hip-hop artists Do or Die.
8:08 p.m. Suburban districts flip-flop, nix in-person learning for fall after initially planning to reopen schools
School districts in some of Chicago’s largest suburbs had planned to kick off the fall with students back in classrooms at least part-time.
But with the start of school less than a month away and pressure mounting from anxious parents and teachers during a raging pandemic, some of those very districts have backtracked and will start the year fully remote.
Others plan to stick with a hybrid model to get students in school at least occasionally, and most districts, whether they’re planning to bring kids back on a limited basis or not at all, are pledging to improve the online learning experience from the end of last school year.
Online learning will include more live teaching sessions in Elgin Area School District U-46 schools, the second-largest district in the state after Chicago Public Schools. That includes teachers and students using a single digital platform and having teachers evaluate all student work to determine performance. The district’s decision to go fully remote came after it had initially been leaning toward a hybrid model.
Diana Martinez, 43, of Streamwood, will have children in kindergarten and high school at District U-46 schools this fall. Martinez, a single mother who lost two jobs due to the pandemic, said she had waited to find a new job until she knew her kids’ schedules. She even started training her younger son to get used to wearing a mask, in case his kindergarten class had an in-person component.
6:38 p.m. City will issue tickets for quarantine violations, ‘flagrant’ social activities spotted on social media
Ticketing is coming for Chicagoans who travel to any of the 20-plus states subject to Chicago’s 14-day travel quarantine, Dr. Allison Arwady, the city’s health commissioner, said Tuesday. Previously the city has relied on voluntary compliance to the order.
Arwady told reporters on a conference call that tickets can be issued during course of an investigation into COVID spread. She also mentioned the possibility of fining city employees who may not have abided by quarantine.
Tickets also may result from “social media examples” where people are “flagrantly posting social activities,” Arwady said.
The additions to the order — Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska and North Dakota were all announced Tuesday — bring the tally to 22 states now covered. Under the order, people traveling or returning to Chicago from one of those states are required to isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
When the order, in effect indefinitely, was announced, the city had offered no details on exactly how it would be enforced. But under the order violators are subject to city fines of $100 to $500 per day, up to $7,000.
There are exemptions, such as travel for medical care, or for essential workers who are required to travel to Chicago from a covered state, or travel from Chicago to work in one of the covered states.
The rest of the list: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
3:15 p.m. They call themselves the ‘Rona Quartet after the disease that has kept so many musicians apart
The music floats down a narrow, weedy gangway to a backyard on the North Side, where four French horn players sit, socially distanced, their instruments gleaming in the late-morning sunlight.
A cardinal somewhere up in the high branches of a huge silver maple adds its own accompaniment to the piece they’re playing, “Fripperies for Four Horns,” by Lowell Shaw. A middle-aged couple step out onto their deck overlooking the garden to listen.
“There are a lot of bees out here. What’s going on?” said Mary Jo Neher, swatting at the little insects buzzing around her ankles during a pause in the music.
It’s a small inconvenience for Neher, 42, and her fellow Chicago-area horn players, who are thrilled to be playing with other human beings after months of isolation at home.
“One of the things I’ve missed was the feeling of throwing my case on my back and going into the garage to go to work,” said Neher, a freelance musician. “There is so much in that moment: I have a purpose. I’m not just Mom, keeping everyone alive and teaching at home. I just yearn for that basic feeling.”
2:15 p.m. MLB temporarily suspends Marlins’ 2020 season amid COVID-19 outbreak
The Miami Marlins’ season was suspended by Major League Baseball amid an outbreak of COVID-19 cases that resulted in 15 players and two staff members testing positive from Friday to Tuesday, according to a baseball official with direct knowledge of the decision.
The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because it has not been officially announced.
The action is a remarkable but pragmatic pause, sidelining one of the 30 MLB teams attempting to play a 60-game schedule through a pandemic, with one potential outcome being that the Marlins — and their upcoming opponents — may not play the season in full.
The Marlins’ outbreak had already resulted in a handful of postponements Monday and Tuesday: Two Marlins games against the Baltimore Orioles in Miami, and a pair of Phillies-New York Yankees games in Philadelphia, site of the Marlins’ three-game weekend series.
Now, the Marlins will have up to seven games to make up: Four against the Orioles and three against the Washington Nationals, their weekend opponents in Miami.
11:45 a.m. Andrea Bocelli recovered from COVID but says lockdown made him feel ‘humiliated’
ROME — Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who had COVID-19, said the pandemic lockdown made him feel “humiliated and offended” by depriving him of his freedom to come and go as he wanted.
Bocelli spoke at a panel Monday in an Italian Senate conference room, where he was introduced by right-wing opposition leader Matteo Salvini, who has railed against the government’s stringent measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
The singer’s announcement in May that he had recovered from the virus came weeks after his Easter Sunday performance in Milan’s empty cathedral. At the time, Bocelli said that when he learned on March 10 that he had tested positive, just as the nation was going into lockdown, “I jumped into the pool, I felt well” and had only a slight fever. He apparently was referring to a private pool at his residence, as public gym pools were closed by then.
Bocelli told the conference at the Senate that he resented not being able to leave his home even though he “committed no crime” and revealed, without providing details, that he violated that lockdown restriction.
10:38 a.m. CPS parents — and teachers — bombard district officials with questions about classroom safety
The first of five community meetings hosted by Chicago Public Schools officials about a potential fall reopening featured hundreds of questions from parents and teachers, many of which were steeped in skepticism over whether in-classroom learning could be done safely in the middle of a pandemic.
Will there be more hand-washing stations at schools? What will happen when a student tests positive for COVID-19? Are teachers expected to move between “pods” of students? What type of instruction will students receive when they opt out of in-person learning?
Top CPS leadership, including CEO Janice Jackson, gave live answers to many questions — though they only got to a fraction in the 45 minutes set aside for a Q&A session, and there were many they couldn’t answer.
Responding to a question about potential cases at schools, CPS’ chief health officer Kenneth Fox said families will be expected to self-report to the district’s Office of Student Health and Wellness, providing their symptoms, noting when they first felt sick and other personal information.
The district would then gather information from that student’s school, such as which 15-student pod they were in, who else they had contact with and what part of the school they had been in. An entire pod would be sent home if one of its students tests positive, and anyone directly in contact with the positive case would be told to quarantine for 14 days.
8:04 a.m. Lightfoot showcases $33 million in relief for renters and property owners
Three months after unveiling a non-binding “Housing Solidarity Pledge” that appeased no one, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday showcased $33 million in relief for renters and property owners bankrolled by federal stimulus funds and local philanthropies.
Shortly after the stay-at-home shutdown triggered by the coronavirus, Lightfoot offered 2,000 Chicagoans struggling to stay in their homes grants of $1,000 apiece. The $2 million was nowhere near enough to meet the demand from 83,000 applicants.
Now, those who struck out in Round One will be “automatically transferred” to a $25 million Round 2, “more than ten times” the initial investment made by the Chicago Department of Housing There is no need to re-apply.
Together with $8 million from the Department of Family and Support Services, Chicago is dedicating $33 million to “eviction and foreclosure prevention,” officials said.
“Thanks to this investment, more Chicagoans will be able to stave off foreclosure, eviction and homelessness and the pain and insecurity that comes with it,” Lightfoot told a City Hall news conference.
Analysis & Commentary
6:13 p.m. I’m a teacher and parent. Our schools aren’t ready to reopen and keep children and families safe.
With the start of a typical school year right around the corner, discussions are taking place about what the eventual return will look like. As an educator and a mom, I am torn between options: Full remote learning to ensure that children and students stay healthy; or a hybrid, with some in-person instruction.
But two major questions loom in the minds of every educator and parent: Can our nation keep children and families healthy, even with limited classroom teaching? If remote learning continues, will students lose too much educationally?
As a former teacher in three Chicago public high schools on the South Side, I think the answer to the first question is a clear “No.” Our nation can’t keep our kids and their families healthy without strong federal leadership, which is needed to have any chance of slowing the spread of coronavirus.
A case in point: One of my grossest days in CPS was the time a student threw up in the library entryway. It was flu season and only two janitors were working that day, so it took around six hours for one of them to clean up the vomit. The student went to the nurse’s office, but she wasn’t at our school that day, so he returned, still sick, for his library lesson. Meanwhile, students and teachers continued to fill the room.
The custodian also found a dead mouse nearby.
4:45 p.m. Four must-haves in Congress’ next pandemic rescue package
No sooner did professional baseball return last week, after months of planning to make the games safe during the pandemic, than the entire season was thrown into doubt when COVID-19 swept through the Miami Marlins.
There is a lesson in that not only for professional sports, which we’re really feeling the loss of right now, but also for lawmakers in Washington who are crafting a massive new pandemic relief bill:
All our man-made plans are doomed if designed for a wished-for world.
At the core of almost every disagreement between Democrats and Republicans about how big the federal relief bill should be — and what it should include — is a fundamentally different view about how long it will be before life in the United States can return to normal.
Democrats, listening to the scientists, think it could be many more months or even years. They are proposing a $3 trillion relief bill. Republicans are leaning hard into that wished-for world. They are pushing a $1 trillion bill.
With that in mind, here are four provisions of any relief bill we’d like to stress:
2:45 p.m. If we’re in hell, we might as well read Dante
John Took’s new book Dante is very heavy lifting. From the first sentence — “Exemplary in respect of just about everything coming next on the banks of the Arno over the next few decades was the case of Buondelmonte de’Buondelmonti on the threshold of the thirteenth century.” — it is a waist-deep slog through the muddiest of academic creeks.
Pressing forward, I grew to hate him. Just for taking something so valuable and rendering it into turgid academic blather. Grew to hate Princeton University Press for foisting this upon a trusting public. Hate the scholars who blurbed it. “A beautiful book that reflects decades of thinking and teaching,” begins literary critic Piero Boitani.
Maybe he meant the cover. It is indeed a beautiful cover.
And I grew to hate myself for buying the book, impulsively, because, heck, it has such a nice cover and it is about Dante. For insisting on grimly, joylessly grinding through it, page after page, trying to glean some shred of knowledge from this field of chaff. I blame my own cheapness. I bought the thing, paid, geez, $35 for it. I have to read it. It grew to feel like penance, a hair shirt. Enduring a homebound summer in a brainless era during the realm of an imbecile? Here’s some grist for the mill, perfesser. Chew on this!
8:43 a.m. Marlins outbreak sobering, scary for NFL teams on eve of camp
On the eve of training camp, the NFL was visited Monday by its worst nightmare. Dressed in Marlins blue and black, the Ghost of Coronavirus Yet to Come showed the worst-case scenario: a season on the brink of cancellation before it really gets started.
At least 13 Marlins players and coaches have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to national reports. It’s a full-blown outbreak, after only three games.
Major League Baseball postponed the Marlins’ game Monday against the Orioles. The Phillies-Yankees game also was called off because the Phillies had hosted the Marlins for three games. Baseball will be play-the-Lotto lucky if that’s the only damage done. A growing crisis would lead to the cancellation of the season.
Even in the best of circumstances, the virus presents a new reality that baseball must cope with every day. White Sox manager Rick Renteria woke up with a cough and nasal congestion Monday, went to a Cleveland hospital for tests and, out of caution, stayed away from the ballpark. He reportedly tested negative for COVID-19 and is expected to be back with the team Tuesday.