DePaul’s rising COVID-19 cases, SGA elections this week, apply to join 14 East’s staff
and check out a feel-good recommendation
Wow! It’s May already. From everyone on the newsletter team — Claire, Elly, Mariah, Aneesah, Billie, Emily, Kate, Cam, Grace and Richie — we’d like to thank you for sticking with us throughout the quarter. And to our fellow Blue Demons, we hope you’re making it through midterms.
This week we’ve got a feature story on COVID-19 cases on campus, news about Student Government Association elections, the low-down on Chicago’s COVID-19 risk status and a recommendation for a feel-good show you just cannot miss.
Finally, we have some good news: 14 East and Pueblo are hiring for the 2022-23 academic year! Check the position descriptions and application (which doesn’t require a resume or cover letter!) HERE. Email 14 East Editor-In-Chief Grace Del Vecchio at graceEdelvecchio@gmail.com with any questions. Deadline to apply is this Friday at midnight!
In other news, this week 14 East is publishing our Business Issue! This issue is a collection of pieces that cover local and small businesses, including their vigor and tenacity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, their character and culture, and how they make up the great city of Chicago. So be on the lookout for those pieces dropping this Friday!
And we want to say a big thank you to everyone who donated to our “Month of 14 East” fundraiser. Thanks to your support, we were able to raise $3,150, which passed our original $2,500 goal. 🎉 From the bottom of our newsroom’s collective heart, we thank you for your generosity and support.
We’re sure you want to get right to it, so without further ado, here’s the news!
DePaul COVID-19 Cases on the Rise
By Elly Boes
According to a recent data analysis from 14 East’s Managing Editor Cam Rodriguez, DePaul saw the highest weekly COVID-19 count during week four of Spring Quarter with approximately 64 cases of COVID-19 on campus among faculty, students and staff during the week of April 18 and 62 cases reported for last week so far.
Kim Amer — one of two faculty representatives on the university’s Community Health Team — reiterated her concern that this data could be incomplete due to cases off-campus that are not reported to local health departments or DePaul’s contact tracing team.
“It's interesting, because it's hard to know the absolute accuracy of the numbers, just because people do a lot of home testing and don't necessarily report to the university,” she said. (While DePaul does have on campus testing programs, positive test results are not automatically added to the reported cases on the dashboard despite being reported to the university.)
Amer said this “skews the data in a negative way because it’s not reported,” which alters Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data as well as Chicago and Illinois case rates. Like DePaul, many universities use CDC and local public health department COVID-19 counts to implement their own protocols on masking and requiring proof of vaccination, among others.
DePaul’s second faculty representative on the Community Health Team, Craig Klugman, is currently on sabbatical for Spring Quarter.
Amer said she thinks decreased masking, more gatherings and the contagiousness of the Omicron variant all play a role in DePaul’s rising case rates. However, she doesn’t believe a mask mandate is likely to return on campus.
“It's concerning [the data on COVID-19 cases at DePaul], but I think that … overall, Chicago is still low risk.”
University spokesperson Russell Dorn cited off-campus spaces as those with higher COVID-19 transmission.
“Cases are rising in Chicago and the U.S DePaul's contact tracing has found that transmission is most often occurring outside the classroom or workplace. As with past variants, the university continues to see transmission most commonly occur among household contacts and in social gatherings."
As previously reported, Amer said DePaul would not alter its mask policy or other protocols unless there was significant rationale to do so, such as an increase in Chicago’s COVID-19 case rates or greater infection on campus that leads to more severe health outcomes, such as hospitalizations.
“I think that just the level of contagiousness of this new variant … we're going to see a lot more, a lot more of an increase in cases. And the frustrating thing is the variant is such that it still is prevalent in people who are vaccinated,” Amer said.
Tomorrow the Community Health Team will meet, according to its biweekly schedule, to discuss potential changes to COVID-19 protocols and review case rates, among other factors such as the number of students in isolation housing on campus.
“It's so hard to talk about this in a way because no one knows that trajectory,” Amer said when asked if masking or other guidelines could return to campus in the coming weeks.
According to Amer, the team has previously discussed additional measures such as wastewater testing at DePaul although the strategy has yet to be implemented.
Last week, Amer, an associate professor of nursing, returned to campus for the first time after teaching many of her courses online during Spring Quarter. She noted the disorientation she felt in returning to in-person meetings while the pandemic is ongoing.
“I think that I had the realization that it's never gonna be the same after this experience,” Amer said.
“I don’t mean that in a horribly grim way but it's like you normalize as much as you can. But this has affected everyone in a profound way and it's never, you're never going to be completely back to quote ‘normal.’”
By Mariah Hernandez
Student Government Association Spring Election Voting Begins
Voting for the Spring 2022 election began today and will last through May 5. Voting occurred today at the Lincoln Park Campus Student Center from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in person. If you didn’t have the opportunity to vote in person, you can vote online using your campus connect login information. To find out more about the candidates running you can visit the SGA Candidate Information Page. The link to vote is here.
Fest Artist Reveal on May 5
Fest, DePaul’s end of year celebration, is back after a two-year hiatus and will take place on May 27 in the quad. The line up has not yet been revealed but this Thursday in the Lincoln Park Student Center Atrium the reveal will be made from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Previous artists to play Fest include Big Sean, Childish Gambino and The Neighbourhood. Student artists can be expected as well from the winner of DePaul’s Battle of the Bands. You can preorder tickets till May 6 for only $5, after that tickets will be $10. Tickets can be purchased here.
Lincoln Park Student Center Turns 20
Happy belated birthday to the Lincoln Park Campus Student Center! The LPC Student Center celebrated its birthday last Thursday with several events for students. The day consisted of a birthday menu at the dining hall, arts and crafts and stuffing plush animals. The Student Center is a second home for many. It’s a one stop shop for coffee, student dining, the mail center and frequently holds student events. It’s a commonplace for students to relax and connect as well. You can read more about what the Student Center has to offer here.
Lastly, here is your weekend sports update (April 29 to May 1):
The softball team won against Creighton 9-4 on Friday.
The softball team lost to Creighton 6-11 on Saturday.
The softball team won against Creighton 9-3 on Sunday.
By Aneesah Shealey
Mayor Lori Lightfoot Announced Intentions For Second Term – Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced last Monday that she will be running for a second term of office. Lightfoot, the first Black woman to be mayor of Chicago, has seen a term marred with controversial political decisions, and her approval ratings are just under 50%, according to polling from late 2021. Jenna Barnes from WGN has the story.
Data Shows That Chicago Has Been Cloudier This Year – If you’re curious as to if the weather has been extra gloomy this year, NBC 5’s meteorologist Paul Deanno has found that only one of the past 42 days have been sunny. Check out his article for a detailed breakdown of how he calculated the data!
Man Shot and Killed At A Gold Coast Hotel – Tragedy struck at a hotel in Gold Coast Sunday morning, as a man was found shot to death in one of the suites of the Sonesta Hotel. As of now, the investigation is being handled by CPD detectives, and the hotel has released a statement, which you can read here in a story from Peter Marzano and Jewel Hillery for WGN.
Chicago is Poised to Become at Medium Risk for COVID-19 Cases- Chicagoland has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases, with five suburbs moving into the medium risk category of the Chicago travel advisory. Kelly Bauer at Block Club has the latest.
By Billie Rollason
Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows – An initial draft written by Justice Samual Alito, the Supreme Court has voted to strike down Roe v. Wade. If passed, the ruling will put an end to 50 years of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights. No draft in “modern history” has ever been made public before it was finalized. The court’s decision will not be final until it is published which will likely be in the next two months. Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward of Politico have the story.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced a state pause in executions until the end of 2022 – This comes in the midst of plans for an independent review of the lethal injection process. Lee's announcement came after a last-minute reprieve, he issued to Oscar Smith — a 72-year-old man who was scheduled for execution on April 21st for the 1989 murders of his wife and her two children. The execution pause coincides suspicion of drugs used in lethal injections and how they are obtained. Check out CNN’s article for details on the planned third-party investigation on the lethal injection process.
Ja'Leaha Thornton, a Florida high schooler and class valedictorian has been accepted into 72 colleges – Thornton is a senior at Glades Central Community High School in Belle Glade, Florida, and began applying to 90 colleges in early September of 2021. She has since received 72 acceptance letters and is still waiting to hear back from more schools at this time. Thornton decided on attending the Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically Black university where she will be studying pre-medical psychology and minoring in chemistry. Yi-Jin Yu of Good Morning America reports.
New York City Amazon workers have rejected unionization at their second warehouse location – this comes after last month's successful unionization of the first Amazon location in the city. As time got closer to the union election, Amazon took great efforts to fight the union effort. This was done by holding mandatory meetings to persuade workers against the union, posting anti-union flyers, and even launching a website urging the workers to "vote no."Despite the loss, the Amazon Labor Union tweeted out, “The organizing will continue at this facility and beyond. The fight has just begun.”
Hey, Check This Out!
With Featured Columnist Emily Soto
Thanks to our Co-Engagement Editor Claire, I think I have discovered the cutest show on all of Netflix, Old Enough! It made us both so happy that we felt it needed to be shared with all of you.
The concept of the show is very simple: Children ages two to five who live in Japan, are sent by their parents on their “first errand.” Whether it be running to the supermarket for a few groceries, or delivering a forgotten item to a parent at work, you are watching these young kids take their first steps towards independence.
But how is this possible, you ask? I know the idea seems totally crazy because in America, parents generally don’t send their three-year-olds alone to the store, but in Japan, first errands have been happening for years. In fact, the Japanese show began back in the 90’s. This isn’t to say that it always works out or nothing bad could ever happen, but when it comes to the show, there are people following the children to film the show and, while they don’t step in to help the kids, they can keep an eye out for potential dangers.
Regarding the task, it usually goes about as well as you can expect. The kids are sent on their way with hidden microphones strapped to their bag so, in addition to the voice over narrations, the task is chronicled by the commentary of each child. We can hear all of their funny or wandering thoughts as they continue on their journey. Some kids get a little distracted, some may forget an item or two, and there may be a few tears shed but in the end, each child finds the courage to tackle their errand.
Each time they complete another step towards their goal, you can’t help but smile and cheer them on. Some practice communicating, and others practice problem solving but all of them are adorable. With each episode running about 10 minutes long, you’ll be able to binge the show and share it with your friends in no time.
Need resources regarding warming centers, rental assistance, COVID-19 testing and vaccines or mental health? Check out our complete list here.
That’s it for this edition of ‘In the Loop’! We’ll see you back here next Monday with more campus updates, city news, media recommendations and another episode of The B-Side. See ya!
The 14 East Newsletter Team