Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot were expected to announce Wednesday morning an all-remote learning plan to start the school year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a move that could avert a potential Chicago Teachers Union strike, sources said.

The switch to an all-remote learning plan could come as teachers union leaders are planning to convene the organization’s House of Delegates next week and consider a process that eventually could lead to a strike if CPS doesn’t agree to start the school year with full remote learning, sources said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Illinois health officials Tuesday reported 1,471 new known cases and 19 additional fatalities. The total number of known infections in Illinois now stands at 184,712 and the statewide confirmed death toll is 7,545.

Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

6:35 a.m.: Lightfoot, schools and health officials expected to make announcement on public schools

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools chief Janice Jackson and city Health Commissioner Allison Arwady were scheduled to make an announcement Wednesday morning regarding the 2020-2021 school year, according to the mayor’s office.

The Tribune reported Tuesday that CPS planned to announce as soon as Wednesday that the school district would start the school year with all-remote learning. The move comes as the Chicago Teachers Union planned to hold a meeting of its House of Delegates next week, in preparation for a possible strike if the Chicago Board of Education were to go through with a plan to begin school in-person, while allowing parents to opt for remote learning.

Check back for updates. —Chicago Tribune staff

6 a.m.: As COVID-19 keeps university fall plans in doubt, community colleges see boost as affordable option closer to home

In some ways, community colleges are better equipped to weather the coronavirus pandemic than traditional four-year universities. Unlike larger institutions, community colleges don’t rely on revenue from residence halls — which will plummet if students don’t return to campus for fear of getting sick.

And local two-year colleges could become more appealing to families who don’t want to pay top-dollar tuition for virtual instruction. Very few universities are discounting the cost of attendance despite offering most classes online.

Over the summer, several community colleges in Illinois — including College of Lake County, Harper College in Palatine and College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn — reported upticks in enrollment. Now, the colleges are watching to see if that trend continues for fall.

Madeleine Rhyneer, vice president and dean of enrollment at the education research firm EAB, said the numbers will likely fluctuate until classes start next month and students are forced to make final decisions.

“If a bunch of students who are committed to four-year schools in the next three weeks say, ‘You know what? I’m just not doing that. I’m going to defer for a year … or I’m going to withdraw and reapply a year from now or six months from now,’ then I think we definitely could see a bump in community college enrollments,” Rhyneer said.

Read more here. —Elyssa Cherney

Here are five stories about COVID-19 from Tuesday.

Puerto Rico was added to Chicago’s travel self-quarantine list as city health commissioner warns of coronavirus spread at households, social gatherings.

Wisconsin-based Epic Systems ordered its 9,000-plus workers back to the office, though some workers fear “untold deaths.”

Public housing residents celebrated students heading off to college despite COVID-19.

State House GOP leader Jim Durkin said Gov. J.B. Pritzker is overextending his executive authority in dealing with the pandemic.

Is the coronavirus issuing last call for Chicago’s old school neighborhood bars?

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