High schools have faced a 4.3% drop in attendance compared to 0.9% for elementary schools (LIVE UPDATES)Sun-Times staffon February 25, 2021 at 3:35 pm

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Here’s the latest news on how COVID-19 impacted Chicago and Illinois.


CPS open to improving remote learning as F’s increase, attendance drops

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times
Protestors chant asking Mayor Lori Lightfoot to consider and improve policies for Chicago Public Schools during a press conference by CPS parents and Raise for Hand for Illinois Public Education outside of City Hall at 101 N La Salle St in the Loop, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.

As students continue to ask for more leniency and support in remote learning, Chicago schools chief Janice Jackson reiterated her stance Wednesday that the school district would not reduce screen time — but she suggested officials would be willing to revisit how that time is spent.

Those students’ pleas come as new data released Wednesday shows failing grades are up and attendance is down across Chicago Public Schools, largely along racial and socioeconomic lines.

The district’s year-to-date attendance has dropped 1.9% this school year compared to last —92.5% to 90.6% — with the most serious decreases coming among Black students at 4.5%, Latino children at 1.4%, special education students at 3.6% and homeless students at 6.7%, district records show. White and Asian American kids are attending at higher rates than last year.

High schools have faced a 4.3% drop in attendance compared to 0.9% for elementary schools, and charter school attendance has fallen 6.3% compared to 1.3% for district-run schools.

Grades, meanwhile, are skewing to extremes. There are more A’s but also more F’s in reading and math at all grade levels and in all racial groups. Elementary students in particular are getting F’s at more than double the rate as last year. Perhaps most troubling to district officials is a significant rise in failing grades handed out to Black and Latino students.

Read the full story from Nader Issa here.


9:20 a.m. Trisha Yearwood battling COVID-19; husband Garth Brooks tests negative

Country music star Trisha Yearwood is currently “under the greatest care” at home after contracting COVID-19, according to a statement from her husband, Garth Brooks.

A press release from Brooks’ publicist says the couple was already quarantining at home after a member of their team recently tested positive, and that the winter weather in Tennessee prevented them from getting tested for almost a week. Both have now been tested twice, and Brooks remains negative.

“Officially, she’s diagnosed as ‘on her way out of the tunnel’ now, though,” Brooks said in the release. ”Which I’m extremely thankful for.”

“Anyone who knows me knows my world begins and ends with Miss Yearwood, so she and I will ride through this together. And anyone who knows her knows she’s a fighter and she’s been doing everything right, so I know we’ll walk out the other side of this thing together.”

The press release says Yearwood is “doing okay so far” but dealing with unspecified symptoms, and Brooks welcomes fans’ prayers and thoughts.

“If anyone asks, that’s what you can do for her. That’s what I’m doing. Living with her, I sometimes take it for granted she’s one of the greatest voices in all of music, so the possible long-term effects on her concern me as her husband and as a fan. We’re very lucky she is currently under the greatest care in the best city for treating and healing singers.”

Read the full story here.

New Cases

  • Officials reported 2,022 new cases were diagnosed among 82,976 tests, sending the average statewide testing positivity rate down to 2.6%.
  • Coronavirus hospitalizations are back to summer lows with 1,511 beds occupied across the state as of Tuesday night.

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