NOTE: This article was first published on Evanston Round Table.
Evanston is a city in the Chicagoland area. It is located in Cook County, Illinois, situated on the Chicago North Shore along Lake Michigan.
On July 22, School District 65 announced that it plans to reopen the schools for in-person instruction on Sept. 29, assuming it is safe to do so. At that time, the District provided general guidance on the safety precautions it plans to take, and it provided additional details in a report, “Reimagining Education, A Guide to the 2020-2021 School Year,” which it posted the next day. The District provided still more information in a 90-minute online town hall session at which administrators provided answers to pre-submitted questions on July 29.
“students receiving free or reduced lunch, Black and Brown students, students who received an I [Incomplete] or less than 50% on their report cards, emerging bilinguals, and students with IEPs…”Latarsha Green, Deputy Superintendent, School District 65
Priority for In-Class Learning
Under applicable guidelines, the District said the maximum number of students allowed in each building are as follows: JEH 172; Chute 466, Dawes 354, Dewey 359, Haven 556, King Arts 388, Kingsley 275, Lincoln 486, Lincolnwood 291, Nichols 418, Oakton 335, Orrington 303, Park 181, Bessie Rhodes 343, Walker 276, Washington 416, and Willard 297.
Historically, the enrollment at each school significantly exceeds these numbers.
The second factor that may impact enrollment in on-site learning is the number of teachers who are willing to teach on site, due to concerns about being infected by COVID-19. Some teachers may have a concern based on their own risk factors or of people in their household. At this point it appears that the District is honoring teachers’ decisions on whether to teach on-site or not.
Dr. Horton said the District is not setting teachers up to say, “You must come back.”
Latarsha Green, Deputy Superintendent, said that one of the District’s task forces considered what the District should do in the event more students applied to take on-site learning than there were available slots. She said the task force and administrators decided to give the following categories of students a priority: “students receiving free or reduced lunch, Black and Brown students, students who received an I [Incomplete] or less than 50% on their report cards, emerging bilinguals, and students with IEPs. There are also other categories in relation to students who are not performing according to reading or math grade-level expectations, and students with no comorbidity factors.”
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American Citizens Released in Prisoner Exchange with Iran Return Home
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a significant diplomatic development, five American citizens who were detained in Iran have been successfully released and are on their way back to the United States.
The five Americans, along with two family members, arrived safely in Doha, Qatar on Monday after departing from Iran. This release comes as part of a prisoner exchange agreement between the United States and Iran, accompanied by the return of $6 billion in frozen funds to Iran.
A White House official commented on this, stating, “The president is making five families whole again.” The $6 billion in frozen funds, a substantial part of this exchange, arrived in Qatar on Sunday night, leading to Iran’s decision to release the American detainees. Qatar has played a crucial role as an intermediary for negotiations between the U.S. and Iran.
President Biden, in a statement on Monday, expressed his satisfaction with the successful exchange and revealed that two of the American citizens involved had requested that their identities remain undisclosed. He also used the opportunity to call upon the Iranian regime to provide a full account of the disappearance of Bob Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran.
“The Levinson family deserves answers,” President Biden stated. He further announced sanctions against former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence under the Levinson Act for their involvement in wrongful detentions.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken held a press conference later on Monday to address the release and answer questions from reporters. Blinken expressed his relief at the return of the American citizens and emphasized the U.S. government’s dedication to punishing countries that unlawfully imprison U.S. citizens.
He clarified that the prisoner swap was negotiated separately from discussions regarding the Iran nuclear deal, cautioning against interpreting the exchange as an indicator of progress in the nuclear negotiations, though there are many skeptics raising concern across social media platforms.
The Biden administration has underscored that Qatar will retain control of the $6 billion that is being unfrozen and will allocate it to Iran exclusively for humanitarian purposes. However, some Iran watchdogs have voiced concerns, claiming that this move is insufficient.
According to reports from Fox News, Benham Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, stated, “The Islamic Republic must be beaming now. Despite rhetoric from Washington about supporting the Iranian people, in practice with the waiver and random payment, the Biden administration is now effectively helping Tehran signal that no matter what the regime does, it will not be met with meaningful pressure.”
Furthermore President Donald J Trump took to Truth social Monday commenting on the deal current President Joe Biden made stating, “This absolutely ridiculous 6 Billion Dollar Hostage Deal with Iran has set a terrible PRECEDENT for the future. Buckel up, you are going to see some terrible things start to happen. The 3 years ago highly respected USA has become a laughingstock all over the WORLD. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. VOTE TRUMP!!!”
The release of these American citizens and the accompanying fund transfer mark a questionable development in U.S.-Iran relations. The path forward remains complex and uncertain as both nations grapple with long-standing issues and ongoing negotiations surrounding the Iran nuclear deal.
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