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JBP

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday morning is expected to announce a statewide indoor mask mandate for everyone 2 and older as well as a vaccine mandate for all kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education employees to reduce spread of COVID-19, sources told the Daily Herald.

The move would come after Pritzker warned Tuesday of “significantly greater mitigations” if a rise in hospitalizations continues. The governor was asked about expanding a vaccine mandate to all state workers instead of a smaller group of employees who work at congregate settings, such as veterans’ homes, on Tuesday and Wednesday but avoided a direct answer.

On Wednesday, the governor said he was considering multiple options to keep hospitalizations down.

Masks again became required at all indoor public settings in suburban Cook County starting Monday, on County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s orders. The city of Chicago had already required masks indoors. But other suburban and many other downstate county health departments don’t have the power to impose mask requirements.

Read more here.

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Hunt Grove

Barrington 220 Superintendent Robert Hunt, his second grade daughter Emmie Hunt, 7, center, and their neighbor, Hadley Crowley, 8, put on masks as they walk to school on the first day of school at Grove Avenue Elementary School, Aug. 20, 2021, in Barrington. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

As Illinois schools welcome students back to fully reopened classrooms this month amid another coronavirus surge, educators face a thorny question: How do you teach students who are quarantined by COVID-19?

The dismantling of pandemic-era remote and hybrid instruction programs across the U.S. this fall arrives by state proclamation and on the urging of U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, who earlier this summer said, “Schools have shown that they can — and should — be offering in-person learning opportunities five days a week to every student.”

Remote instruction can be offered to students while they are under quarantine, Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Carmen Ayala said earlier this summer. But despite pleas from some parents who want a full-time e-learning option to continue, districts including Chicago Public Schools are reserving their virtual programs for students who qualify as medically fragile and have documented health conditions.

Some teachers and parents are applauding the full return to in-person learning. But the abrupt halting of remote instruction — which last year allowed in-person students who tested positive for the virus to pivot swiftly to online classes — is forcing school districts to get creative this fall when it comes to teaching kids who need to quarantine.

Students at Barrington School District 220 will have the option to participate in the district’s Test to Stay Strategy. It will rely on a slate of authorized PCR or rapid antigen screenings from the date of an exposure to COVID-19, with close contacts permitted to remain in the classroom as long as the results are negative, according to the District 220 website.

The strategy can only be used when “both the COVID-19-confirmed case and close contact were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks, regardless of vaccination status,” officials warned.

Read more here.

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JBP

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced his reelection bid on July 19 with the key pillar of his campaign being his record on “protecting the lives and livelihoods of the people of Illinois.” Look at the “livelihoods” in Illinois, and that quickly looks like a poor campaign decision.

While COVID-19 and the public health responses to the crisis caused racial employment gaps to increase everywhere, the gap widened more in Illinois when compared to Illinois’ border states and the rest of the country. Job seekers’ education and other observable characteristics can explain little of the employment differences between racial and ethnic groups.

Black workers face comparatively higher risk of job loss at the first sign of economic weakness. As a result, a robust expansion has historically reduced disparities. Unfortunately, Illinois’ economy has persistently underperformed relative to the rest of the country. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois’ labor market under Pritzker suffered one of the worst first-year performances of any elected governor in recent history. In the time since, Illinois’ economy has continued to lag the rest of the nation, with both the gaps between Illinois and other states widening and the gaps between groups of Illinoisans continuing to widen.

COVID-19 exposed large racial disparities that existed well before the pandemic. Although large employment and wage disparities exist between whites and Blacks, they may not necessarily be tied to racist attitudes.  Statistical discrimination could arise from employers having little reliable information about Black workers, but that could not explain why employment gaps for similar workers are much larger in Illinois when compared to the rest of the country.

Despite consistent improvements over time, discrimination in the labor market remains a  problem in America today, especially among large employersResearch shows while most employers barely discriminate, a few discriminate heavily. That same research also shows while local demographics do not matter for discriminatory hiring decisions, local sentiment does. Racial discrimination is more severe in geographic locations with more prejudiced populations.

Read the full Illinois Policy piece here.

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Butter Cow

Gov. Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker unveil the Illinois State Fair’s 2021 butter cow.

SPRINGFIELD – The final preparation for the opening of the 2021 Illinois State Fair (which begins today) took place Wednesday with the traditional unveiling of the butter cow.

This year’s sculpture, which marks the 100th anniversary of the fair’s butter cow, is entitled “Embracing Tradition.” It features a dairy farmer embracing a cow. Hidden within the sculpture are 13 hearts, signifying the 13 essential nutrients found naturally in milk.

“After a year where the world stopped, I felt including an exhibitor embracing the cow signifies the joy our youth are experiencing as they return to the fair,” butter cow sculptor Sarah Pratt, of Iowa, said in a news release. “You only get one chance to celebrate the 100th anniversary and I hope this year’s Butter Cow will invoke those feelings of nostalgia people have experienced for generations.”

Gov. JB Pritzker and First Lady MK Pritzker took part in the ceremony along with Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II, Midwest Dairy Association board member Donald Mackinson, and this year’s Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Kelsi Kessler.

Read more here.

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JB Flip Flop

Gov. J.B. Pritzker promised to respect local school boards and private school autonomy, until too few were doing what he wanted. So he reversed himself, mandating masks for both private and public Illinois schools.

Nearly 17,000 Illinoisans told the General Assembly in May they opposed a proposal that would have given the state more authority over private schools, and lawmakers listened.

Then Gov. J.B Pritzker essentially backed those parents when he said masks and other COVID-19 protocol should be a local decision, left to local school leaders being advised by local health departments.

“Families should be involved in making decisions for their own families. And, school districts and school boards will make decisions for the schools within their districts,” Pritzker said July 17.

But that was before so many school districts were exercising their freedom to choose and making what Pritzker considered to be the wrong decision.

“Far too few school districts have chosen to follow the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prescription for keeping students and staff safe,” Pritzker said during a press conference Aug. 4. “Given the CDC’s strong recommendation, I had hoped that a state mask requirement in schools wouldn’t be necessary, but it is.”

So when Illinois students return to school in a few weeks, they will be wearing masks, by order of the governor. His statewide mask mandate covers all students, staff and visitors in both private and public schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Read more from Illinois Policy here.

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JB Mask

Dr. Ngozi Ezike will be joining the Governor J.B. Pritzker for a presser at 2:30 p.m. at the Thompson Center.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday will issue a mask mandate for preschool through high school students and staff statewide and a vaccine mandate for state employees in prisons, veterans homes and other congregate settings as Illinois tries to blunt a fourth spike of the coronavirus pandemic, sources said.

As the fall semester approaches, school boards across the state have grappled with the decision of whether to require masks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week issued new guidelines including a recommendation that everyone wear masks in schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Pritzker, who’s made his handling of the pandemic central to his reelection bid next year, is stopping short of requiring all state workers to get vaccinated but will mandate it in settings where people are in the direct care of the state, including prisons, juvenile detention facilities and veterans homes.

Read more here.

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If you’d like less partisan gridlock, there’s something you can do, i.e., work to change how we vote to ranked choice voting. It’s a way to reduce the power of the political parties to pick candidates and give it back to the voters.

George Washington and other Founding Fathers were wary of the influence of political parties and a recent analysis by Michael Porter, an internationally known economist, found that the political parties don’t compete but primarily operate to pursue their own interests, not those of the country.

Ranked choice voting isn’t a new idea. It’s now used in Alaska, Maine and Washington state and in more than 20 U.S. cities.

Here’s how it works. Each voter ranks the candidates in their parties’ primary election and the five top vote-getters all appear on the general election ballot. When the votes are counted, if a candidate gets 50% of the votes they’re the winner. If no one gets 50% in the first round, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is dropped and their votes for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th choices are reallocated to the remaining candidates. If in the next round, a candidate gets 50% of the votes, they are declared winner, if not, the process is repeated until a candidate gets to 50%.

Ranked choice voting has a number of important advantages over the way we vote today, including, Higher voter turnout. All voters become important, so candidates need to compete for larger groups of voters.

Fewer false negative attacks. They become a liability and campaigns become more civil.

Lower costs. It’s necessary to hold only one election, never a need for runoff.

If this sounds like a good idea, you should check out what they are doing at FairVoteIllinois.org and if you like what you see, you can do your part.

Willard Bishop
Barrington Hills

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From District 220:

“There will be four school board seats up for election on the April 6, 2021 consolidated election ballot. School Board members serve a four year term.

If you’re interested in running for a Board seat, former Barrington 220 Board members will be holding a Q&A session on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at the Pavilion at Citizen’s Park. Masks and social distancing will be enforced.

Interested community members can also check out the Cook County “Info for Candidates” webpage, as well as the Illinois Association of School Boards website.”

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Petition packets are available for two open Park Board Commissioner seats for the April 6, 2021, Consolidated Election. Those interested in running for a Barrington Hills Park District Commissioner seat must be a registered voter and have been a resident of Barrington Hills for at least one year prior to the election.

To download the petition packet, please click here. If you wish to have the petition packet mailed to your home or schedule an appointment for pick-up, please contact Kim Keper, Administrator, at 847-783-6772 or Kim@bhillsparkd.org.

Circulation Period / September 22, 2020 – December 21, 2020

The circulation period for the Consolidated Election on April 6, 2021, will be open until December 21, 2020.

Filing Period for Petition Packets / December 14 – December 21, 2020

The filing period for petition packets is December 14 – December 21, 2020. Petition packets must be hand-delivered to the Administrator at the Park District Administrative Office, 364 Bateman Road, Barrington Hills, IL 60010, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  No petitioner packets will be accepted before or after the stated dates and times. The Barrington Hills Park District staff cannot provide any election or legal advice for any petitioners. Petitioners are encouraged to contact their County Clerk’s Office.

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