FAQs on DePaul’s changing COVID-19 policies, DePaul to host panel on Ukraine, Madigan indicted
and recommendations on where to spend your spring break in Chicago
Welcome back to ‘In the Loop’! It’s the newsletter team — Claire, Mariah, Elly, Ava, Emily, Grace DV, Kate, Cam and Richie — here with another great one this Monday. Today we have a feature story that breaks down the university’s latest COVID-19 policies, the low-down on a lawsuit against Mayor Lightfoot, more news from Ukraine and a recommendation for where to spend your spring break in Chicago.
In other news, this week 14 East is publishing our two-year COVID anniversary issue. This issue is a collection of stories that looks back over the last two years of the pandemic and explores the lasting effects of COVID-19. So be on the lookout for those pieces dropping this Friday.
Additionally, there’s no new episode of The B-Side this week. But not to worry – we’ll have another fresh episode ready for y’all next week!
Before we get into it, we want to take a second to thank you all for your continued support. You’ve kept this newsletter going over the past two years and we can’t thank you enough. If you want to increase your support for 14 East and “In the Loop,” we invite you to donate directly to our newsroom. Whether it’s a one-time contribution or a monthly gift, every cent helps us build a newsroom that serves you, our readers, and we get 100% of your donation.
Now let’s get to the news…
Frequently Asked Questions on DePaul’s Latest COVID-19 Protocols
By Elly Boes
On February 25, DePaul released new in-person COVID-19 protocols for students, staff and faculty. 14 East identified several frequently asked questions that are not currently listed on the university’s resource page.
The following list compiles common COVID-19 questions and concerns and offers direction for those on campus. Questions were crowdsourced from the DePaul community and answered with the help of university spokesperson Kristin Mathews.
Where are masks required on campus and where are they optional?
For the rest of Winter Quarter, masks will only be required in instructional spaces like classrooms and labs and where COVID-19 testing is conducted on campus.
Spaces where masks are optional (or recommended but not required) include the following:
Residence and dining halls
Building hallways, elevators and stairways
Workspaces like libraries, the University Center for Writing-based Learning, the Student Center, The Ray, Athletic Center and outdoor areas
Individual group activities on campus other than in person classes (such as Greek Life chapters, student organization meetings, etc.
What type of masks are required now?
Previously, DePaul required those in person to wear “high quality masks” like KN95s, N95s or layering a tight-fitting cloth mask over a surgical one. Mathews said all of these options are still recommended but a surgical mask by itself is also acceptable, though not preferred.
Need a mask? Check out these maps to find locations on campus in Lincoln Park and the Loop where you can grab one for free.
What about social distancing on campus?
According to Mathews, social distancing is not required in any Lincoln Park or Loop campus areas.
Has the enforcement of masks changed since the February 25 update?
No. To enforce mask policies, faculty and staff can ask students to comply with DePaul’s updated masking protocols in classrooms. Outside of instructional settings, any community member can also politely ask others to put on a mask.
“If an individual is uncomfortable speaking directly to the person not wearing a mask, we suggest bringing this to the attention of an appropriate faculty [or] staff member, the Dean of Students Office, or the Department of Public Safety,” Mathews said in an email to 14 East.
What can you do if you need to limit your exposure to unmasked individuals?
Faculty, staff and student employees can submit a request for medical accommodations — granted on a case-by-case basis — available here. For others, DePaul still recommends asking those in close proximity to wear a mask and respect the needs of others.
While student organizations like Accessible Futures DePaul and Student Government Association have called for more protection for those who are immunocompromised, the university does not offer an official masking policy outside of required spaces except to create a “mask-friendly” campus.
What does “mask-friendly” mean?
In a March 3 Newsline statement,University Marketing and Communications defined “mask-friendly” as a “Take Care DePaul” initiative, including a sign that can be posted in spaces where masks are not required but strongly encouraged.
“If you are joining a meeting or gathering and a participant asks you to wear a mask, please do so,” the statement said.
Will students, faculty and staff who aren’t vaccinated be required to continue wearing masks or provide proof of a negative COVID test?
In instructional settings and on campus testing sites, all community members will still be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
Do student workers have to wear masks? What about other campus employees?
For graduate assistants or those otherwise working in classrooms, labs and DePaul COVID-19 testing sites, masks are still required. For other campus employees, Mathews said individual workspaces “should not develop masking requirements inconsistent with the university guidelines.”
Will masks still be required in classrooms during Spring Quarter?
For Spring Quarter, guidance on masks and other in person COVID-19 protocols will be updated sometime after spring break. At the time of publication, an official timeline was not yet available.
Have any other questions? Feel free to message 14 East on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “DePaul COVID Question.”
By Mariah Hernandez
Finals Week is Approaching
DePaul is offering a Brain Fuel Week to help students destress and re-energize during the final weeks of the quarter. Brain Fuel Week will be from March 7 to 11. Events include games, yoga, eye massages and a drag night. The John T. Richardson Library hours have been extended to 7:30a.m.-12a.m. from March 7 to 10. You can find a full line up of Brain Fuel Week events here.
DePaul Students Create a Podcast Raising Awareness for Lymphoma
DePaul Public Relations and Advertising students Pavitra Reddy, Remy Milburn, Angela Sampers and Maria Estevez have entered into the 2022 Bateman competition. The competition is held for public relations students to create a PR campaign. This year they have partnered with the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and the campaign will be focused on educating young adults on lymphoma. The students created a weekly podcast called Lymphaudio where they talk with individuals impacted by lymphoma. You can listen to their podcast here.
DePaul Panel to Address Invasion on Ukraine
DePaul will be addressing the invasion in Ukraine on March 8 at 4:30 p.m. during their “Panel on Ukraine: The Attack and Its Effects.” The event can be attended by students and faculty. The event will be held virtually over Zoom. Speakers include Lili Bivings, a Depaul alumna and former reporter for the Kyiv Independent, Dick Farkas, a political science professor at DePaul and Cécile Shea from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. A link to the zoom can be found here.
Lastly, here is your weekend sports update (March 5 to 6):
The women’s basketball team lost in the Big East Tournament to Marquette 105-85 on Saturday.
The men’s basketball team lost to Connecticut 75-68 on Saturday.
The women’s tennis team won 4-3 against Middle Tennessee on Sunday.
By Maureen Dunne
Chicago Public Schools to End Mask Mandate Next Monday – Chicago Public Schools announced today that its mask mandate will be lifted next Monday, March 14, in light of declining case counts, lower community transmission rates and a pending lawsuit. The Chicago Teachers’ Union warns of health “consequences” and filing an unfair labor practice charge against the district if masks are no longer required. CPS agreed to keep mandatory masking until the end of the semester in an agreement with the CTU to end the union’s 5-day work stoppage in January. Nader Issa of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Nipsey’s Restaurant & Lounge Suffers Fire Damage — The roof of Burnside’s Nipsey Restaurant and Lounge, long a lightning rod for complaints about rowdy patrons from neighbors and Ald. Michelle Harris, collapsed overnight due to a fire on the premises. Atavia Reed of Block Club Chicago reports.
City to Host Virtual Town Hall Meetings to Discuss Community Crime Reduction — The City of Chicago’s Community Safety Coordination Center is hosting six virtual town halls: one for the north and northwest sides, one for the west side, south side and city center as well as an additional meeting in Spanish over the next two weeks. The City’s Community Safety Coordination Center aims to gather community members, leaders, businesses and organizations to discuss community-based violence reduction strategies. Participants can register for meetings in their area here. Mack Leiderman of Block Club Chicago reports.
Former Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges — Madigan, a staple in Illinois machine politics for decades, now faces federal charges for using his office for personal gain. Federal agents conducted wiretaps and obtained emails to uncover Madigan’s alleged leveraging of his position to secure government appointments for people, drum up business for his law firm and political favors. Jason Meisner and Ray Long of the Chicago Tribune report.
Mayor Lightfoot Sued for Defamation by Former Park District Attorney, Denies Vulgar Comments Listed in Suit — Mayor Lightfoot is being sued by a former Chicago Park District attorney, George Symrniotis, who alleges he was forced to resign after a meeting with her regarding bringing the Columbus statues back to city parks. Lightfoot denied the lawsuit’s claim that she told Symrniotis: "My d*** is bigger than yours and the Italians. I have the biggest d*** in Chicago," calling the alleged comment “deeply offensive and ridiculous.” Mary Ann Ahern of WGN News reports.
By Ava O’Malley
Deadly Series of Tornadoes Devastate Iowa – Over the weekend, severe weather ravaged the midwest, including over two dozen tornados in Iowa. An EF3 tornado tore through the Des Moines area, leaving seven dead. Three of the deceased were members of the same family, and a GoFundMe was created to provide relief. Read more from AccuWeather reporter John Murphy here.
Trial Against Michigan Governor Kidnapping Conspirators Continues – This week, four of the six men charged in the thwarted 2020 kidnapping plot of Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, will be brought to trial. Far-right conspirators Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., David Harris and Brandon Caserta, who were all charged with kidnapping conspiracy, will stand trial on March 8 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Associated Press reporter Michael Tarm explains the trial in depth here.
Gas Prices Soar in Wake of Economic Sanctions on Russia – The national average for a gallon of gas rose above $4 over the weekend, amid the war between Russia and Ukraine. This is the highest national average since July 2008. Today, California reported gas prices as high as $5.34 per gallon. GasBuddy predicts that a new record high will be reached in the upcoming days. Read Jessica Dickler’s CNBC report on rising gas prices here.
Democrats and Republicans Cooperate to Suspend Trade with Russia – Members of Congress from both political parties have come to an agreement this morning that will block U.S. trade with Russia and Belarus. According to tweets from reporter Craig Caplan, Democrats Richard Neal (MA) and Ron Wyden (OR), along with Republicans Kevin Brady (TX) and Mike Crapo (ID), made this statement in Congress this morning: "As Russia continues its unprovoked attack on the Ukrainian people, we have agreed on a legislative path forward to ban the import of energy products from Russia and to suspend normal trade relations with both Russia and Belarus." Stay up-to-date with this agreement here.
Hey, Check This Out!
With Featured Columnist Emily Soto
It’s week 10 of the winter quarter for us students at DePaul, and with that comes the stress of final projects and exams. But at the end of it all, one thing we can all look forward to is spring break! So if you’re staying in Chicago this year, I’ve got a few things you can do to make the most of your week.
History is everywhere! There are a number of great museums and exhibits to check out around the city. Here is a place you can check out for free.
Museum of Contemporary Photography: This museum is part of Columbia College and, as the name suggests, is completely focused on photography. The current show is a combination of two exhibitions, entitled “Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part” and focuses on the experiences of artists of color. It’s a great exhibit to go by yourself or with some friends to have a thoughtful conversation.
You can make a reservation to see this exhibit on their website.
Food and Drink
There are so many places to go out in the city. Here’s two that you might not have tried yet!
Nighthawk: This bar in Albany Park is a cozy little spot to find some one of a kind specialty drinks or experience a fun, themed pop up event! But with the weather still a bit chilly, definitely try one of my favorites — a hot cocktail — while you still can! (Plus, if you go on a weekend, you just might find our very own Grace Del Vecchio working the bar!)
Sabe a Zulia: Are you looking to try a new cuisine? As the child of a Venezuelan immigrant, I have to include a Venezuelan restaurant on this list! It’s not often I can go out to eat the food I remember growing up with but Sabe a Zulia does it. Located on Fullerton Avenue in Belmont Cragin, this is the place for an authentic arepa, soup or chicken dinner.
There’s a lot of ways to get moving and explore being outside despite being in the city. Divvy bikes are a great way to do that and there’s so many paths you can ride along. While the lakefront path is a classic place to ride, change up the scenery and try another path!
The 606: The 606 is almost three miles of great walking, running or biking trail that runs from Ashland Avenue to Ridgeway Avenue, through Humboldt Park. From there you can access other parks, see the art that is displayed along the route and sit in an open green space to relax a little. Easily accessible from the Blue Line, this could be your new outdoor trail.
Need resources regarding warming centers, rental assistance, COVID-19 testing and vaccines or mental health? Check out our complete list here. Also, check out this resource guide of gender affirming healthcare in Chicago from Staff Writer Mariah Hernandez.
That’s it for today! Finals week is next week, so to all our Blue Demons, take care, get some sleep and best of luck with exams. We’ll be back next week with our last newsletter of the quarter. See ya’!
The 14 East Newsletter Team