Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » COVID-19 Roundup: Motion to consolidate 11 cases; Liability concerns for basketball; DCEO grant clawback; Cook’s lack of contact tracing; CTU loses reopening battle
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COVID-19 Roundup: Motion to consolidate 11 cases; Liability concerns for basketball; DCEO grant clawback; Cook’s lack of contact tracing; CTU loses reopening battle

Friday, Nov 6, 2020

* Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed a motion with the Illinois Supreme Court to consolidate 11 more COVID-19 lawsuits with the ones that were already consolidated in Sangamon County. Click here for the motion. I didn’t even know some of those lawsuits had been filed.

* Troy Taylor

[Katy Hasson, president of the IHSA board of directors and principal at Rockridge High School] said the IHSA directors were aware of the consequences of their action, primarily that schools would not likely have the support of their liability carriers if they forged ahead with the season.

That situation, and a decision whether to play basketball, now confronts local schools and their local boards of education across the state.

A straw poll of more than 300 Illinois Athletic Directors Association members showed that about 9% were certain they would play basketball this season, 29% said they wouldn’t and 62% were unsure.

“Difficult to go against a recommendation of a million dollar plus liability,” she said. “That’s a huge decision.”

* Meanwhile, from a Center Square email…

Restaurant owners looking to get some of the federal funds the state is doling out might be on the hook if they violate the governor’s orders. The DCEO said it could take funds away or force payback from businesses that get the grants but don’t comply with mitigation efforts such as the prohibition on indoor service.

I checked with Lauren Huffman at DCEO…

Compliance with all relevant laws, including the statewide social distancing guidelines to protect public health and safety, is a condition of eligibility for the BIG program. DCEO will take appropriate actions regarding applicants and grantees who are not complying with the statewide public health orders in coordination with IDPH and ISP.

As part of the BIG grant application, applicants agree to this…

The subrecipient has complied and will continue to comply with all relevant laws, regulations, and executive orders from the State and federal government, including the social distancing guidelines as promulgated by the Executive Orders of the Illinois Governor.

Businesses that have been awarded funds and don’t comply, which could be grounds to rescind the award and require return of funds.

* Coming a bit late to this, but it appears that Cook County is barely running any sort of contact tracing operation. WBEZ

Dr. Rachel Rubin, who runs the Cook County Department of Public Health with another physician, said the county isn’t focusing on where outbreaks have been. The suburban region is roughly 700 square miles — too big to monitor and analyze the addresses of people who test positive for the virus and see if clusters arise, Rubin said.

“I can’t tell you how many restaurants are affiliated with particular positive cases, because this requires us to talk to the individual who is positive and ask them where their movements have been over the prior two weeks,” Rubin said. “It also requires them to be honest, and people don’t necessarily want to ‘tattle on their friends.’ ”

“In suburban Cook County, we frankly are not up to speed yet to where we can talk to those contacts right away,” she added. […]

She didn’t have specific numbers, but she said the county has traced a “fraction” of the just over 75,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region. Instead, the county focuses on specific areas, like schools and people in their 20s, where cases are rising quickly. And the department investigates complaints, such as if people are not wearing masks at specific restaurants.

The state has got to change the way it handles public health. Too much authority is given to local health authorities, who too often just do their own thing or are (in some Downstate areas) are brow-beaten by local county boards into submission.

Illinois needs a more regional approach. We just have way too many counties.

* Chalkbeat

A state labor court on Thursday rejected the Chicago Teachers Union’s request to delay the district’s school reopening plans at this juncture, but said it would reconsider the case when Chicago set a specific date for teachers and students to return to buildings.

The request is part of a broader effort by the union to force Chicago Public Schools to negotiate the terms of its reopening through an unfair labor practice lawsuit.

School officials say they intend to bring pre-kindergarten and some special education students back to school buildings sometime in the second quarter, which runs from Nov. 9 to Feb. 4. They have not yet released a return date or the results of a recent parent survey.

The ruling comes in response to an injunction filed by the union last month. The union accused the district of refusing to bargain over its reopening plan, and asked the state’s education labor board to delay a return to in-person school until the district begins bargaining.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    =Businesses that have been awarded funds and don’t comply, which could be grounds to rescind the award and require return of funds.=

    Good. If you don’t think there’s any precautions to take, you shouldn’t be getting funds meant to help businesses that are being hurt because they’re following health and safety guidelines and best practices established by medical professionals. Good riddance to such businesses when they inevitably go under too. Don’t let the door hit you.

  2. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    Too many counties, too many townships, too many governmental bodies, too many school district and too little responsibility. Strange how it worked out I believe the purpose of all this small localized governments was to insure openness and government responsibility and ends up doing opposite.

  3. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 1:14 pm:

    ===was to insure openness and government responsibility and ends up doing opposite. ===

    When the rural brain drain comes home to roost, it *really* comes home to roost.

  4. - Keyrock - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    Contact tracing remains one of the State’s biggest failures in this crisis. While an effective federal program would have helped, other states have done better, and we need to do more.

  5. - DownSouth - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    ===…local health authorities, who too often just do their own thing or are (in some Downstate areas) are brow-beaten by local county boards into submission. ===

    As someone who once was part of a local public health department I can attest that this is absolutely true, and happens with sad regularity.

  6. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Nov 6, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    Dear Center Square: When one applies for a Grant through the State, one is obligated by contractual language to comply with State law (& federal law if federal $ is involved). Don’t know why I’m saying this, as you can’t seem to understand that if the Edgar Ramp is followed, the unfunded pension liability will increase for about another decade. Anyone there alive when the Constitution of 1970 was written? Out of diapers? Beyond puberty? /$

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