WIUM Tristates Public Radio

COVID-19

A new model is cautiously optimistic about a university’s ability to control the spread of COVID-19 this fall—but that hinges largely on how much students socialize off-campus.

A Clay County judge ruled today Governor J-B Pritzker had no authority to issue multiple Executive Orders to keep the State of Illinois locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TONY WEBSTER / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS / HTTPS://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY-SA/2.0/

The University of Iowa is facing steep budget cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis, as are institutions across the country. The school is grappling with how to create an on-campus experience that will attract students to return in August, while protecting public health. 

Illinois recently released guidelines for schools to return in-person this fall. Some concerned parents are choosing to homeschool their kids this year rather than send them back to in-person classes during COVID-19.

Brandi Poreda has homeschooled three of her kids over the last 20 years. She said the biggest advantage of homeschooling is flexibility.

Her first piece of advice to parents homeschooling for the first time? Don’t try to replicate the public school classroom experience.

COVID-19 has caused disruptions in how families get their food. That’s one reason why more people are growing their own. 

The concept of a victory garden dates to the Second World War. Food was in high demand, and canned food was rationed for the war effort. Sarah Vogel is an educator at the University of Illinois Extension. She said the federal government encouraged citizens to grow their own food and provided lots of information on how to do so.

Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

The University of Illinois system, including its campuses in Urbana, Springfield and Chicago, will welcome back tens of thousands of students this fall. In the announcement, university officials laid out plans to offer a mix of in-person and online instruction. 

A list of health and safety guidelines for getting students back in classrooms is scheduled to be released before the end of the month. It will provide rules and recommendations for more than 850 school districts resuming classes this fall.

Republicans Sue Governor Over Limits On Gatherings

Jun 17, 2020

The Illinois Republican Party is suing Governor J.B. Pritzker over the crowd limitations he imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Illinois Newsroom

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a saliva-based  COVID-19 test.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University - like schools across the state - shut down its campuses in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interim President Martin Abraham is leaving no doubt about whether in-person classes will resume for the fall semester.

Nebraska’s largest COVID-19 hotspots are meatpacking areas with deep immigrant roots.

Rich Egger

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has experienced unemployment figures not seen since the Great Depression. But Bill Polley, Associate Professor of Economics at Western Illinois University, said the Great Depression is more akin to the Great Recession of 2008 than to this year's economic freefall.

Colleges around the state are working on their plans to host classes on campus this fall. A few outlined their plans while discussing them with the Illinois Board of Higher Education Tuesday.

YONKERS HONDA / VIA FLICKR CC BY-SA 2.0

Automobile dealers in Illinois were among the hardest hit businesses during the state's COVID-19 stay-at-home period.

State of Illinois

Flooding is beginning to feel like an annual event in some areas along the Illinois River.  The governor and head of the Illinois Emergency Management agency visited flood fighting efforts in west-central Illinois  Wednesday.

Wikimedia Commons

The first drive-through TestIowa site in the southeast part of the state will open Wednesday, May 27. Great River Health is partnering with the state to operate the coronavirus testing location. 

COVID-19 was both in the forefront and in the background during the abbreviated spring legislative session that Illinois lawmakers wrapped over the weekend. It was the focus of both the legislation and the politics in Springfield.

UPDATED 2 p.m. | Two freshmen have filed a lawsuit claiming Illinois State University did not refund enough of their mandatory student fees after abruptly shifting to online-only classes because of COVID-19.

CDC

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported a fifth McDonough County resident has died from COVID-19.  The IDPH said the woman was in her 60s.

A lawmaker who portrays himself as an outsider found himself on the outside Tuesday. A group of protestors, meanwhile, made their voices heard as state lawmakers convened for the first day of a special legislative session.

Moline Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is promoting the Heroes Act after it passed in the House late last week. 

The city of Galesburg is considering joining the Restore Heart of Illinois phased reopening plan led by Peoria.

Rich Egger

When the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees met on May 6, Chairperson Polly Radosh warned the COVID-19 crisis is saddling Western with a new set of budget challenges.

Two county health departments are trialing a new “tech-based” approach to COVID-19 contact tracing. Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker Monday defended rules that lay out penalties for businesses disobeying statewide shutdown orders.

Pritzker’s office announced both St. Clair and Lake County’s health departments will use a “state-of-the-art” software platform that is designed to gather data from infected persons and track the virus in real-time. Another 95 counties will join them over the next few weeks.

Rich Egger

Mayor Mike Inman said the Illinois Municipal League provided the city with an estimate of how much revenue might be lost due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Frank Franklin II/AP

A new report from the University of Illinois' Institute for Government and Public Affairs identifies several ways the COVID-19 pandemic is creating challenges for health care workers and health care facilities.

The 11-county "Heart of Illinois" subregion plans to implement its own, speedier reopening plan independently of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan, which lumps Peoria in with the Quad Cities and Rockford in reopening phases.

Amy Mayer/Iowa Public Radio file

Pork processing fell nearly 40 percent following temporary closures at meatpacking plants across the Midwest last month. That's created a backlog of market-ready hogs, though the scope of the problem isn't as dramatic as some had feared.

The Confession window at St. Francis of Assisi doesn’t look all that different from a fast food drive-thru, except for a tiny sign taped to a traffic cone that reads “The Priest Is In.”

The Archdiocese of St. Louis halted most in-person services in March, as part of an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Soon after, priests at St. Francis of Assisi in Oakville devised a creative way to stay connected with parishioners: a drive-thru Confession window. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for the legislature to reconvene to discuss an economic recovery plan for the state.

Pritzker said his administration has supported residents and small businesses by banning evictions, delaying tax filing deadlines, and expanding unemployment eligibility, but he said more work needs to be done to get the economy going.

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