Park pools to reopen
After the great majority of the seventy-seven pools managed by the Chicago Park District were closed during the hottest days of June, this week the agency announced that it would reopen thirty-seven of them starting July 5. In response to public pressure, the new parks superintendent, Rosa Escareño, said a national lifeguard shortage was the reason for the closures and that it would divert two dozen lifeguards from beaches to indoor and outdoor pools in the South and West sides. She said the Park District has only been able to fill half of the seasonal lifeguard vacancies despite adjusting their hiring process by waiving the residency requirement and offering applicants the “equivalent” of $17.08 an hour through bonuses. South Side Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) didn’t buy it and speculated that the Park District’s mishandling of the lifeguard sexual abuse scandal had something to do with it. An announcement on the Park District’s Facebook page had mixed reactions, with some parents upset that their neighborhood pool wasn’t included.
Infants now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines
Babies and children between six months and five years of age can now get safely vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing severe disease from the coronavirus in children and decrease the risk of contracting the virus and spreading it to others. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get vaccinated, even if they’ve already had COVID-19, to protect themselves and those around them. The vaccine dosage for children is lower than that for adults, and side effects in several studies, which included thousands of children in this age range, were mild to moderate after the second dose but faded quickly. Parents and guardians can sign up for v-safe, a post-vaccination health tracker, to help inform the CDC how people feel after getting the vaccine and report any negative effects. The vaccine will be available at various locations throughout the city, including City Colleges, family health clinics, and select pharmacies. Go to bit.ly/chibabyvaccine to view the full list of providers.
Another South Side grocery store abruptly closed
The Aldi grocery store on 76th and Ashland in Auburn Gresham reportedly closed without warning on June 12. According to multiple sources, residents of the predominantly Black neighborhood say they were not informed of the closing; they did not discover its closure until they visited the now boarded-up store. A spokesperson from Aldi stated that declining sales and burglary were among the reasons for the closure. A sign on the building directs patrons to the Aldi in Englewood some three miles away, another predominantly Black and low-income neighborhood where a Whole Foods was recently closed. Several other stores in Auburn Gresham have closed recently, including CVS and Save-A-Lot, making it more and more difficult for residents of the neighborhood to buy groceries. One effort to combat the food apartheid in these areas is an upcoming drive-up food pantry event hosted by the Ada S. McKinley Community Services, which will take place at 6033 S. Wentworth Ave. on Wednesday, July 13 from 10am-2pm.