Inside DePaul's first vax clinic, affinity groups' letter to Esteban and commencement speakers announced

Plus some poetry and prose recommendations for your week

Welcome to your weekly COVID-19 Updates Newsletter, everyone! It’s May! It’s spring! We’re happy you’re here! It’s your newsletter team – Francesca, Kate, Robin, Cam, Julián and Claire – back for another week. Let’s get into it. 

DePaul Hosts First Vaccine Clinic on Campus

Amid ongoing efforts to get more students vaccinated for COVID-19, DePaul University has partnered with Michigan Avenue Immediate Care to offer free vaccine clinics on campus.  

Between April 27 and April 30 of last week, the university hosted its first clinic at the Lincoln Park Student Center. Those interested had to schedule an appointment in advance, but could choose anytime between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

At the clinic, health care workers administered the first dose of the Moderna vaccine to students, faculty and staff. According to clinic organizers, appointments were fully booked almost immediately, with close to 500 vaccines being given over the course of four days.  

Cheryl Hover, the associate director of emergency management at DePaul, helped organize the vaccine clinic. 

Hover explained the university’s recent decision to require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine for the Fall Quarter and said it was that decision that motivated officials to organize a clinic on campus. 

“A big part of when there was discussion of whether this is going to be required for students was availability … If we were going to put a requirement in place, students need to be able to get that vaccine. Then also we wanted to break down any kind of barriers that there were to getting a vaccine for our students. That is one reason why we are having this.” 

In the wake of the newly announced campus vaccine requirement, many uncertainties about the Fall Quarter remain. Some students wonder whether there will be a campus-wide mask mandate or socially distanced classrooms. Hover said that the university has not yet solidified any decisions regarding other health and safety guidelines for the Fall. 

“It really depends on what the CDC is saying, what is Chicago Department of Public Health saying,” said Hover. “We of course hope at some point we won’t be wearing masks, we won’t be social distancing. It’s very possible that’s happening in the Fall, but we also might be at the point where we’re not doing those things.”

Though the university will be requiring students to get vaccinated, university officials said that requirement has not yet been extended to faculty and staff. 

Hover, however, does encourage all members of the DePaul community to get vaccinated if possible. 

“It’s amazing to think about a year [ago] we were all very much staying at home, very worried about this, a lot was unknown. Now we have a vaccine that we know is safe and we would encourage everyone to get it. If you need a little time to do that, take the spring, take the summer, but please do get the vaccine if you are able because we do really believe that is how we get out of this pandemic.”

DePaul will be hosting another clinic between May 25 and May 28 so students can get the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. 

After receiving the final dose, students will have to wait two weeks to be considered fully vaccinated.

University officials say there is the potential for more clinics over the summer. However, no official decisions have been made. 

Hover says much of that decision is contingent upon the volume of requests and the community’s demand.

“It’s definitely under discussion, of course we don’t have those dates or details worked out yet,” explained Hover. “Especially for any international students coming in, anyone who can’t get the vaccine where they are right now. That’s definitely a big motivation to do something perhaps in August.”


Chicago headlines

  • Block Club Chicago’s Mina Bloom reports on a violent incident in Logan Square on Saturday where a man drove his truck into a group of picnickers after yelling anti-Asian comments. One woman was injured and the man was arrested. 

  • This was a tough year for CPS students. Nader Issa talks to CPS students and families in this report on what was gained and what was lost this year, and what the future might hold for Chicago’s students, for the Chicago Sun-Times.  

  • Last week, videos were released of the police shooting of Anthony Alvarez, a 22-year-old man and father from Portage Park. On Saturday, over 100 people gathered to memorialize Alvarez and demand justice in his case, from Block Club Chicago’s Ariel Parella-Aureli. 

  • WTTW’s Erica Gunderson reports on how the city’s public art scene – murals, in particular – has persisted and even thrived amidst the pandemic. 


DePaul news

If you missed last week’s vaccination clinic in the Student Center and still need to get vaccinated, you’re in luck! This Thursday, May 6th, DePaul is partnering with Cook County for Vaccination Day. There will be multiple walk-up vaccination sites around the county where students, faculty, staff, and their families can show up between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and register onsite to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine will be offered at all locations except the Tinley Park location, which will offer both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

(Interested in getting a vaccine through the program? Check out the locations here.)

The College of Computing and Digital Media has partnered with the athletic department to offer a two-credit workshop where students will work in teams to create non-fiction films featuring unique stories of DePaul student athletes and teams. The course will be offered in the fall and will run every quarter. Interested students should contact Brad Riddell at brad.riddell@depaul.edu for more information. 

The university has released this year’s list of commencement speakers, announcing Emmy-winning WGN reporter and DePaul alumna Lourdes Duarte as the alumni inductor for the June 12th ceremony. 

The College of Law announced Board of Trustees member Anna Richo as the commencement speaker and Karina Ayala-Bermejo, President & CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino, as the alumni inductor for the May 22nd commencement. 

Student speakers for each college’s commencement were also announced, and times for the June 12th virtual ceremonies can be found here

Last Tuesday, Black affinity groups at DePaul sent a letter to President A. Gabriel Esteban requesting that the university address issues faced by Black DePaul community members. The letter was initiated by members of the Depaul University Black Leadership Coalition (DPUBLIC) and the Black Student Union (BSU). The DePaulia reported yesterday that President Esteban released a statement to DPUBLIC where he agreed to discuss the groups’ concerns with his leadership team.  

Intramural Flag Football registration is now open until May 10th. Teams can register up to 10 players for the 4 vs. 4 weekend games on Wish Field beginning May 22nd. Registration and more information can be found here.


National headlines

  • Low vaccine immunization among police officers poses a risk to public safety according to The Washington Post. Police officers’ vaccination rates are lower than or around the same numbers as the general public. Only 39 percent of employees at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have gotten at least one dose. That number is at 36 percent in Atlanta and 28 percent in Columbus. One solution is compulsory vaccinations, but that may lead to litigation. 

  • The United States is in talks to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide according to the Associated Press. U.S. lawmakers and international governments are pressuring The White House to waive patent rules for poorer countries so they can produce their own versions of the vaccine to vaccinate their citizens. The U.S. recently sent India enough raw materials to make 20 million vaccine doses as it battles a new coronavirus surge.

  • Vox reports that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is the first Democrat to oppose D.C.’s statehood. While it passed in the House, it always faced lower odds in the Senate. Sen. Manchin suggests that the decision should be put to a vote of the American people. 46 Senate Democrats are in favor of the bill and it has Biden’s support and Republicans are all opposed.

  • The New York Times reports that a gunman at a Wisconsin casino killed two people on Saturday and seriously injured a third. The police shot and killed the suspect outside the Oneida Casino. 


Recommendations

Julián Martinez

On Wednesday, May 5th, Los Angeles-born Salvadoran poet Janel Pineda will be joining the DePaul Department of Latin American and Latino Studies for an online reading and Q&A session (sign-up info on the event here). Pineda’s debut book, Lineage of Rain, was released late last year and is a tightly paced whirlwind of love, vulnerability and defiance in the face of family struggle, instability and ancestral diaspora. She writes with a deep gratitude to her loved ones and to herself. It’s not a long read but invites multiple readings to soak up her direct yet beautiful language. I bought an autographed copy from Pineda’s website, and encourage readers to do the same.

Another new book I think you should buy is ‘frank: sonnets’ by Dianne Seuss. Seuss has become one of my favorite contemporary poets after an incredible four-book run in the past eleven years, all of which are disconcerting and surreal and deeply personal. She is a wizard when it comes to detail and memory, but also with navigating form, as she proves in her latest collection, which includes nearly two hundred pages of sonnets. Instead of being constraining, the sonnet form works incredibly here, giving Seuss a medium for meticulously crafted punches on each page, exploring grief during her childhood and adulthood, as well as religion and aloneness throughout. She’s the opposite of boring: the poems get weirder and more eclectic by the page. I highly recommend both of these books, if you’re looking for some contemporary poetry that will move and electrify you.


Resources 

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Resources

All of these testing sites and vaccination sites can be accessed for free and without insurance. 

  • Howard Brown offers free, walk-in COVID-19 testing at multiple locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, in addition to mobile testing sites that are updated weekly, which you can access here.

  • The Illinois Department of Health and the City of Chicago have opened more free COVID-19 testing sites in the city and surrounding counties, which are listed with more information here.

  • In the spring, the City of Chicago partnered with CORE response to set up free drive-thru and walk-in testing sites in the city, primarily on the South and West sides, with appointments available Monday through Friday. Register here. 

  • The city has also updated its COVID-19 testing program with more mobile sites, which change weekly. More info here. 

  • Eligible for a COVID-19 Vaccine in Chicago? Check out appointments via Zocdoc, the City of Chicago’s Vaccine Finder or pharmacy websites such as Walgreens and CVS to see what is available in or around your zip code. 

Mental Health Resources

  • At Open Counseling, there’s a list of people and nonprofits with counseling services available for free or low cost.

  • This website compiles mental health resources, including therapist/counselor directories and other online resources. 

  • The Center on Halsted offers behavioral health, anti-violence and educational resources for LGBTQIA+ people.

  • Howard Brown Health offers anti-racism resources and sliding scale counseling specializing in the LGBTQ+ community.

  • This document is a resource for Black people experiencing racial trauma. This master list includes specific resources as well as protesting tips and donation links. 

  • This link is a directory of Black therapists in Chicago. 

  • This link is a directory of Black therapists in Chicago who provide services for under $75.

  • Here’s 7 virtual mental health resources supporting Black people right now, including Chicago-based community organization Sista Afya’s support groups

  • And the Trans Lifeline’s Peer Support Hotline is a resource operated by transgender and nonbinary staffers for the trans community: 877-565-8860.

  • The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy in Chicago is a nonprofit that provides affordable, sliding-scale counseling. Call (312) 263-4368 extension 9081 to schedule an intake appointment (counseling is not religious-centered). 


That’s all from us! We’ll catch you back here next week. 

Francesca, Kate, Robin, Claire, Cam and Julián