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Ask Dr. Arwady: City Cast edition

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


Dr. Allison Arwady was only appointed as the city’s public health commissioner in January 2020 — right before COVID-19 struck Chicago.

Since then, she’s advised Mayor Lori Lightfoot on shutdowns, reopenings, mandates, and mitigations throughout the city’s many waves. 

From repeated standoffs between the school district and teachers union over safety protocols to the summer’s Lollapalooza fest, Arwady tells City Cast that she stands by her decisions, no matter how controversial. 

But as an appointed official, she tells City Cast it’s been hard to navigate the politics of the pandemic, especially when it comes to vaccines. 

The racial COVID-19 gaps among Chicagoans have only grown in the last two years. 

“It’s not just that unvaccinated Chicagoans are filling up Chicago hospitals, it’s mostly unvaccinated Black Chicagoans,” she said.

Dr. Allison Arwady provides an update on Lollapalooza COVID-19 case data and vaccinations on Aug. 12, 2021. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

🎧 Listen to Arwady explain why she thinks students can return to schools.


The teachers union and district are still at odds at what safe in-person instruction looks like, so we asked parents to weigh in. 

Juan Jose Gonzalez, parent of two, said the late-night, midweek CTU vote failed to consider parents and that the learning disruption is “brutal.”

John, a Ravenswood parent of two, said CPS hasn’t earned parents’ trust: “It feels like families are just held hostage watching to see who blinks first.”

❓Parents, what do you want to see from CPS and CTU?

Respond to this email directly or email You can also text us or leave a voicemail at (773) 780-0246.

🎒 Need child care? In addition to CPS’ safe havens, check out First Academy Child Care in West Ridge and YMCAs across the city.


▪️Ald. Pat Dowell is running for U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush’s congressional seat and is dropping out of the Illinois Secretary of State race, the 3rd Ward alder announced Wednesday. [The Daily Line]

▪️ Take shelter at a warming center near you. [City of Chicago]

▪️ At 7 p.m. on ABC, catch a new show about Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of 14-year-old Emmett Till who was lynched in 1955. [Chicago Defender]

▪️ Bulls rookie and University of Illinois alum Ayo Dosunmu’s college jersey will be retired tonight. [Champaign Room]

▪️ Need more Dry January spots? You’re in luck. [Eater Chicago]


+ TODAY: Vigil for democracy downtown
A year after the Jan. 6 insurrection, head to Federal Plaza at 5:30 p.m.

+ SATURDAY: Snow trekking in Burnham Park
Explore the South Side park Saturday at 10 a.m. Snowshoes are provided. 

+ THIS WEEKEND: Christmas tree recycling starts citywide
Starting Saturday, drop off your tree at a station near you through Jan. 22.


Exploring my new neighborhood and penning this newsletter — 200 editions as of today 🎉 — introduced this native Chicagoan to parts of the city I didn’t even know existed, including Alta Vista Terrace.

European-style town homes, cars, light posts, and trees line a snowy narrow street at dusk.
Alta Vista Terrace in Wrigleyville Sunday. (Image by Sidney Madden)

Real estate developer Samuel Gross and architect Joseph Brompton designed the 40 town homes to mirror each other diagonally on the Wrigleyville street, inspired by London row houses. It became the city’s first historic district in 1971, according to Chicago’s tourism arm

Plus, look at this home that’s on the market: It has a Morton Salt Girl mural, a mosaic-encrusted bathroom, and so much more 😍(It’s an Airbnb, too!) 

❓ So that got me thinking, what are your fav hidden gems in the city? Could be a restaurant, a park, a street. Let us know 👇

💡 Need inspo? Check out what Reddit users had to say.

Not subscribed yet? Fix that 👇

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