Headlines for Sunday, August 2nd

The Wayne County Health Department was notified Saturday of another positive case of the coronavirus, bringing the county’s total to 44 cases.  Saturday’s case was a female in her 30s.  Since the pandemic began, one person has passed away, one person is currently hospitalized, 16 people are isolating at home and 26 people have recovered.  The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1639 cases of the coronavirus on Saturday and eight additional deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 180,476 cases and 7503 deaths.

The North Wayne Unit school district has announced its reopening plan for the upcoming school year.  There will be two options, in-person instruction and remote learning.  In-person instruction will follow the Governor’s Phase 4 return to on-site instruction guidelines, and face coverings will be required for all students and staff.  Students will be at school from 8 a.m. til 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for the first three weeks of school.  Students who choose remote learning will be provided with a district issued device.  There will be academic accountability for students who choose remote learning, and assignments will be graded.  To start the year, teachers will post videos of instruction, be available for questions, email or take phone calls, and work with remote learners from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  On September 4th, after the first three weeks of school, students will decide which option they want to stay with and stay with that choice through the first quarter of school.

A town hall meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at R.I.G. Ministries in Carmi.  A group of concerned parents and citizens have decided to gather to try and provide information about public school and other options.  The group wants to discuss the mandate that students and staff at public schools wear masks all day, along with remote learning for public school, private school options in White County, home schooling, and non-accredited online schooling.  The group has scheduled speakers with experience in each option, including State Representative Darren Bailey, who has worked with public, private and home school scenarios.

A study out of the state’s criminal justice authority shows that teen drinking in Illinois is down, but still concerning.  The data shows that alcohol consumption by teens dropped about eight percent between 2008 and 2017, according to Acting Research Director Jessica Reichert.  Alcohol-related arrests were also down in Illinois by around 25 percent from 2005 to 2019.  Despite the decreases, she says alcohol use by youth remains an important health and safety issue, as drinking can lead to risky behaviors, alter brain development and affect school work.

Area river stages as of this morning:  Little Wabash River east of Fairfield is at 23.15 feet.  Flood stage is 17 feet.  At Clay City the stage is 18.94 feet.  Flood stage is 18 feet.  At Carmi the stage is 21.51 feet.  Flood stage is 27 feet.  The Skillet Fork at Wayne City is at 6.48 feet.  Flood stage is 15 feet.  The Wabash River at Mt. Carmel is at 12.16 feet.  Flood stage is 19 feet.  A few days of drier weather is expected in the area by the middle of the week, after some chances for rain through Monday.