Skip to content

Did CPS fudge COVID-19 numbers?

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


Something about COVID-19 cases at the school and district levels on CPS’ tracker in the new year wasn’t adding up for parent Jakob Ondrey, a web engineer who has been running his own dashboard over the last year.

In a widely shared tweet, he said data reporting changed Jan. 4 — the same day the Chicago Teachers Union voted to temporarily go remote

Ondrey’s dashboard showed cases across the district increased, but weren’t assigned to individual schools, meaning parents, students, and teachers effectively didn’t know the state of COVID-19 in their schools.

CPS released a statement Friday saying it decided to start only publishing cases that had been reviewed by contact tracers for accuracy and privacy reasons. (Students’ names and other identifying info aren’t included in these cases, Ondrey told WBEZ.) 

The district said the new system started Dec. 20. But Ondrey said to look at the data — the divergence started Jan. 4

“Good data leads to good decisions and bad data leads to bad decisions,” he tweeted. “[CPS] is pushing out bad data.” 

Alds. Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward, and Maria Hadden, 49th Ward, said CPS needs to address the allegations. 

The district said it is re-evaluating how to report the data.

👉 Check out Ondrey’s dashboard and the district’s tracker.


Chicago is the birthplace of many dance styles, like the polka hop, the Cha-Cha Slide, and, of course, stepping. 

For Black Chicagoans, stepping is a rite of passage: You learn it when you’re young and have to be ready to hit the moves at family picnics or the club. 

City Cast’s Simone Alicea, a Chicago transplant, wondered when and how stepping entered the dance vernacular. We talk to Kiana Moore who comes from a family of stepping legends, and she gives Simone a lesson.

👉 Need a stepping class? Look here. Then step any day of the week at one of these spots.


▪️ Melissa Ortega was identified as the 8-year-old fatally shot Saturday in Little Village. She was a student at Emiliano Zapata. [ABC7]

▪️ The FBI searched the Center for COVID Control HQ Saturday in Rolling Meadows. The pop-up testing chain duped tons of people including me. Illinois’ centers are officially closed — for now. [USA Today; Block Club Chicago; City Cast Chicago]

▪️ Officials are tracking COVID-19 through poop 💩 [WBEZ]

▪️ Bulls players Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball are out for up to eight weeks with injuries. [Blog A Bull; Midway Minute]

▪️ After 30 years, a Brighton Park couple returned home to Mexico, a dream of many undocumented immigrants. [Chicago Tribune]


Join City Cast, the Better Government Association, and CatchLight Local this weekend for a conversation about the examination of Cabrini-Green, the taxpayer-financed redevelopment of one of the only Black neighborhoods on the city’s North Side. Get tickets now.


Lenore Naxon, the daughter of the Rogers Park engineer–turned–Crock-Pot inventor, told City Cast the original slow cooker came with a recipe book. We’re talking everything from Hungarian goulash to Chinese chop suey.

Listener Dorron Katzin told us he has two slow cookers at home: “One is a Crock-Pot, which we use for vegetarian stews. The other is a Hamilton Beach 2-4-6 multi crock slow cooker, which we use almost every week for our cholent [traditional Jewish stew].”

I was feeling inspired, so I whipped up a hearty chicken parm soup last week, and this herby, tomato-y Mediterranean chicken is cooking as we speak!

Pic 1: Chicken parm soup cook in a Crock-Pot. Pic 2: Tomato-y chicken thighs cook in a Crock-Pot.
Images by Sidney Madden

👉 That got us thinking, what Crock-Pot recipes are YOU cooking? Reply or email Text or leave a voicemail at (773) 780-0246.