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News Around Illinois – July 2, 2020

The latest news around the state, for July 2, 2020.

From Tight Hallways To Packed Elevators, Urban Campuses Are Grappling With Social Distancing

Colleges and universities in downtown Chicago often use their urban location as a selling point when attracting students. Now, those campuses — located in the densest part of the city — are turning into a potential liability as schools plan to reopen this fall after the COVID-19 shutdown. Tight stairwells, elevators, small classrooms and limited entrances and exits are now all problems to be solved while students and staff are supposed to stay 6 feet apart. For many downtown schools, the solutions start with far fewer students. Many campuses, including National Louis University, Roosevelt University and City Colleges of Chicago, have said the vast majority of fall classes will still be held online because they can’t operate at full capacity while social distancing. But all the schools will offer limited in-person offerings, mostly for hands-on classes or to give students access to technology or study spaces they can’t get at home — and that’s where the schools are trying to get creative. – Kate McGee – WBEZ

Casino Gambling Resumes In Illinois After Months Of Being Shut Down By Coronavirus

Dozens waited outside the Casino Queen on Wednesday morning, eager for the first day of gambling in Illinois since the coronavirus pandemic hit. The Illinois Gaming Board announced last week all 10 casinos and more than 37,000 video gaming terminals in the state could resume operating Wednesday, nearly a month after casinos in Missouri reopened. It’s a big step for the industry, which has lost around $390 million in revenue in the 100-plus days it’s been shut down, said Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. – Eric Schmid – KWMU

No Motive Discovered In Bunn-O-Matic Shooting

Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow said Wednesday authorities have yet to determine why an employee shot and killed three co-workers last week at a Springfield manufacturer. Winslow, holding his first availability with reporters since the day of the incident, offered a few new details. But he said conversations with witnesses, co-workers, friends and family of the suspect have yet to shed light on his actions. – Sean Crawford – WUIS

IWU Students, Faculty and Alums Rally To Defend Threatened Programs

Few rallies include performances by a brass ensemble. But for Scott Ferguson, choral director at Illinois Wesleyan University, the selection made perfect sense for a rally to drum up support for the liberal arts. Ferguson will be starting his 25th year as an IWU faculty member when classes resume this fall. But for him and at least 24 of his colleagues, it could also be his last. The faculty members organized Wednesday night’s “Standing Up for the Liberal Arts” rally on the IWU quad after receiving letters from the university president and provost last month saying their positions may be cut. – Breanna Grow – WGLT

Animal Shelters Reopening As Pandemic Restrictions Loosen

COVID-19 has affected how animal shelters operate, and the demand for pets. When the state started closing down in mid-March due to the pandemic, a lot of businesses and organizations had to adjust quickly. For Tails Humane Society in DeKalb, that meant shifting their cats, dogs and other critters to foster care. With Phase 4 of Restore Illinois underway, restrictions are being loosened on gatherings. But shelters like Tails will still limit how many people can be in the building at once, even if the animals are there. – Chase Cavanaugh – WNIJ

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. We recommend checking the Coronavirus Information Center for the most recent numbers and guidance.

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