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The Springfield School District 186 board reconsidered Thursday night its decision of how to start the school year. In an emergency meeting, the board voted 5-2 for nearly all students to begin online just over a week after they voted to move forward with a plan that offered both in-person and online options.

This week on Statewide, many small colleges and universities were struggling before COVID-19.  Will the pandemic deal a final blow to more institutions?  

We also hear about the rise of home schooling.  And we look back to a time of lawlessness in southern Illinois, when prohibition era gangs went to war with each other and the Ku Klux Klan. 

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When Prohibition became law 100 years ago, it led to bootlegging and gang warfare throughout Illinois. Its effect in Chicago is well-known, but its impact on Southern Illinois was equally devastating. 

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Illinois has awarded the first round of emergency funding to small businesses to help them during the pandemic.  

Census takers are required to wear a mask, according to the Census Bureau.
U.S. Census Bureau

People in Illinois who have not yet filled out their census forms will soon get a knock at their door.

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When the pandemic hit this spring, there were immediate concerns over the basic needs of people and how to make sure those were being met. A joint effort between the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and United Way of Central Illinois came through in a big way.  

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This fall, if a student has a fever, cough or other symptom that is commonly linked to COVID-19, they cannot enter a school building.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Sangamon County came off the Illinois Department of Public Health’s list of counties at a warning level due to the spread of COVID-19.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Amid the pandemic, the state's ongoing budget woes received some attention this week, with uncertainty over federal aid to states and local governments.  Also, novel coronavirus positivity rates continue to slowly rise, prompting Governor J.B. Pritzker to issue new emergency guidelines for businesses, schools, and daycare centers.

WBEZ Public Radio's Tony Arnold and Capitol News Illinois' Peter Hancock join the panel.

Being admitted to a hospital can be traumatic any time.  But during a pandemic, hospitals are restricting visitors.  We'll hear about the effect it's having on patients and family members.

And are visitors to Chicago following the city's health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19? 

Those stories and more on this week's Statewide.

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in Illinois, leading Gov.  J.B. Pritzker to say some regions of the state could be facing new restrictions on bars and restaurants.  That could mean a rolling back of the state allowing indoor dining.  

Protesters in a Black Lives Matter car parade on May 31 in Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

The Springfield City Council approved an anti-racism, anti-violence and anti-hatred resolution Wednesday night that would name May 31 as BLM Solidarity Day in honor of the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican, announced Wednesday he has contracted the coronavirus disease.

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Illinois will launch a new rental assistance program that could help approximately 30,000 tenants struggling to keep a roof over their heads, according to the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health will test people for COVID-19 at the State Fairgrounds on Wednesdays, beginning today.

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Franny Cole’s now-estranged husband had been emotionally abusive and financially controlling. She thinks sometimes about what might have happened had she not gathered the strength to leave prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Hospital Sisters Health System has announced it is cutting about ten percent of its workforce in Illinois and Wisconsin.  The system operates St. John’s Hospital in Springfield and St. Mary’s in Decatur, along with other facilities.

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Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said the five million dollar effort will use the slogan “It only works if you wear it.” 

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The following is a commentary from Dr. Robert Smith, Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Illinois Springfield.    

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder signing a Declaration of State of Emergency
City of Springfield

Patrons of bars and restaurants must have an assigned table or seat, and shouldn’t leave their seats unless they’re going to the restroom or leaving.

Critics have said the system has been too punitive and too ineffective.  More than half of youth who are released end up getting in trouble again. 

Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton said change is needed.

Orange indicates there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.
Illinois Department of Public Health

Sangamon County is one of several counties that are now at a warning level due to the spread of COVID-19.

The county has had 70 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week, surpassing the Illinois Department of Public Health’s target number of 50 cases. The number of emergency room visits of people with COVID-19 symptoms is also rising.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, there were more calls for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan to resign due to a long-term bribery scheme involving energy provider Commonwealth Edison.  Also, Governor Pritzker issued new guidelines for sports as Illinois' COVID-19 numbers have been rising.

John O'Connor of the Associated Press joins the panel.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

SIU Medicine will not be offering COVID-19 testing Thursday or Friday nights in the parking lot of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, a county spokesman confirmed to NPR Illinois.

As we near the 75th anniversary of atomic bombs being dropped on Japan, we learn about the Manhattan Project and work that was done in Illinois to usher in the atomic age. 

We also find out how the controversy over a retired University of Illinois mascot continues to this day.

Join us for this episode of Statewide.

When families, schools or hospitals in Springfield hired McCormick’s Catering and Smokehouse Craft Meats for events, Michele and Gary Seelbach said they got much more than excellent food. 

Practice field at Glenwood High School in Chatham, Illinois.
Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois High School Association announced a new sports schedule following new public health guidelines issued by the state.

Voting signs at Sangamon County building
AMANDA VINICKY / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

Millions of voters across Illinois are getting vote-by-mail applications.

A new law signed by the governor this summer directs all election authorities in the state to send out the applications by August 1. 

Illinois Information Service

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Monday stop in the county seat of Quincy was no social call.  Appearing at the Adams County Department of Public Health, he pointed out the numbers there are going in the wrong direction.

Online registration is still available for District 186 students until Friday. 

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