April 20, 2021


11:46 p.m.

An Interview with President Alivisatos; Low COVID Positivity Rate Leads to Early End of Stay-at-Home Order | Newsletter for April 21st

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Good morning. It’s fourth week. 38 degrees in late April...only in Chicago! 🥶 You can read this week's edition of The Maroon here.

We're excited to present our special series on labor on campus, Essential at UChicago. Read it here.

  • With May Day around the corner, we are proud to bring you news and opinion coverage highlighting the experience of campus workers during the pandemic. See the Essential at UChicago landing page for stories about current unionization efforts, challenges faced by maintenance and trade workers during the pandemic, and more

The Maroon spoke to incoming University of Chicago president Paul Alivisatos, cataloging his career so far, his experience as an administrator at UC Berkeley, and what it's like returning to his undergraduate institution as president. It's The Maroon's first interview with a president of the University of Chicago in years.

The University ended the stay-at-home order for College students early on Tuesday, two days earlier than an initial announcement of an extension through Wednesday.

  • The original stay-at-home order began on April 7 was made in response to a spike of positive COVID-19 cases. It applied to students living in residence halls. Another email from Dean Rasmussen extended the order to off-campus students and through Wednesday, April 21.
  • The restrictions were lifted at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, April 20. All in-person classes and laboratory research were slated to resume beginning Thursday, April 22. College students still may not attend indoor or unmasked outdoor gatherings.
  • The announcement comes after consultation with experts at UChicago Medicine and the Chicago Department of Public Health by the administration in light of a 0.07 percent test positivity rate Sunday.

In this week’s UChicago Forward update, the University reported 60 new cases of COVID-19.

  • Thirty of the positive cases were detected from off-campus surveillance testing, which had a 0.60 percent positivity rate this week. The University received 57 UCAIR reports related to COVID-19 this week, up from 23 last week.
  • The UChicago Forward update also noted the City of Chicago’s plans to expand vaccine eligibility to all Chicagoans age 16 or older as the city moves into Phase 2 of vaccine distribution on Monday.

University of Chicago Professor Ada Palmer and a team of undergraduates have created a virtual version of the University campus on Gather.

  • The video calling platform allows participants to move their avatar around in virtual University buildings. When characters are in certain proximity with each other, their audio and video feeds connect, allowing them to talk to each other.
  • The platform re-captures the spontaneous interactions lost to the rigidity of Zoom, featuring small study spaces, private rooms reservable by student organizations, the entirety of the main quadrangle, every house’s common room, and a hidden network of tunnels exclusive to the virtual version of campus, with more locations to come.
  • The site is available here.

The Maroon shadowed COVID-19 testing coordinator Carrol J. Banks, talking to her about a day in her life as a testing site worker.

  • At Woodlawn Social Services Center, the COVID-19 testing site, Banks gave “the speech” to many students who came to their weekly testing in the midst of a hard exam week. The most rewarding part of her job is hearing from students that took her advice and their problems worked out.
  • To Banks, the hardest part of her job is dealing with changing policies, not just across the weeks, but also among the various testing sites. She said that this problem could be improved with better communication across the program.


In Viewpoints

Editor Elizabeth Winkler writes in:

Columnist Ketan Sengupta encourages students to take advantage of their present, learning from the cicadas that will descend on Chicago in May.

As Earth Day approaches, third-year Yair Atlas urges members of the University community to take individual action and be more environmentally responsible in their own lives.


In Arts

Editor Veronica Chang writes in:

Third years and real-life UChicago Man experts Parul Kumar, Liana Massey, and Teddy Sandler sit down with The Maroon to discuss the wacky and hilarious @makeupauchiman.


In Grey City

Editor Laura Gersony writes in:

Grey City sits down with therapists and UChicago researchers to discuss the toll of the pandemic on mental health and wellness.