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Illinois Federation of Teachers Update: The Toughest Week Yet

Friday Afternoon News Updates

It has been the toughest week yet here in Illinois, with Governor Pritzker announcing the highest number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths on Wednesday and similarly high numbers throughout the week. As of today, our state has a total of 17,887 reported cases and 596 deaths. The governor indicated on Thursday that social distancing may be in full effect this summer, suggesting that large gatherings should be canceled until a vaccine is developed. This week we also learned the startling data from Illinois (and across the nation) which shows how the African American community is being hit the hardest by the virus. Chicago's black residents are dying from COVID-19 at alarmingly high rates compared to other groups: though they make up 29 percent of the population, African Americans account for 70 percent of Chicago's death rate. Statewide, black residents account for 15 percent of the population but 42 percent of the deaths. Governor Pritzker today described ways he is working to address this serious concern by expanding testing and providing alternate housing arrangements for those in vulnerable and historically marginalized communities. While there are some hopeful signs that the curve is bending, we are clearly far from seeing the light at the end of this tunnel. Please continue to stay home (join the official campaign to do so here) to keep yourself, your family, and our brave frontline healthcare workers safe. Social distancing works, and we must keep it up if we want to (eventually) get back to "normal." For text updates from the Illinois Department of Public Health, text COVID to 312-500-3836. (For Spanish, text COVIDESP.) For information and resources, visit ift-aft.org/coronavirus.

#IFTSTRONG: Coronavirus edition

It's hard to keep up with all the posts on #IFTSTRONG: Coronavirus edition, where we recognize the tremendous things our members are doing during this difficult time for their students, colleagues, and communities. Visit the page regularly to see more great stories from our members like the one below. Tell us how you're staying #IFTSTRONG by tagging @iftaft on social media or sending photos and anecdotes to info@ift-aft.org.

MONDAY: Tell educators, "We appreciate you!"

On Monday, April 13, show your appreciation for all of the educators going above and beyond during the shutdown - from teachers giving online lessons to school staff packing lunches, to bus drivers delivering homework, to those keeping our schools safe and clean, and so many more. Download and share an apple on your social media accounts on April 13 and tell them: We appreciate you!