All posts by michaelgonzales2020

Special ed students face challenges with distance learning

By Michael Thomas
Medill Reports

COVID-19 distance learning is putting a strain on special education students. Middle school teacher Tera Lambert says it can be almost impossible at times. “They like that interaction. That one on one is what keeps them going,” Lambert said.

The California Department of Education has posted helpful guidelines for families online but not all parents have access to the internet.

Photo at top: Tera Lambert teaches her students through her laptop. (Michael Thomas/MEDILL)

COVID-19 leaves international student stuck in Chicago

By Michael Thomas
Medill Reports

Prabash Tiwari is an international student studying in Chicago. With college campuses closed and classes moved online, he’s trying to get home to his family in India. Since Tiwari is originally a citizen of the U.K., he’s not allowed to fly into India. He hopes the government reevaluates its border laws. Until then, he’s forced to wait.

Photo at top: Prabash Tiwari sits alone in his Chicago apartment.(Michael Thomas/MEDILL)

Wrigleyville pizzeria starts campaign to help feed healthcare workers

By Michael Thomas
Medill Reports

Owner of Wrigleyville’s Big G’s Pizzeria, Jaimie Gamez, wanted to find a way to keep his doors open while giving back to front line workers at hospitals.

“I know I had to do something,” Gamez said. With the idea of having people donate money to his store in exchange for pizza deliveries to local Chicago hospitals, he took to social media and began a campaign.

After a little more than a month, Big G’s Pizzeria has delivered more than 1,100 pizzas to hospitals in Chicago. Northwestern Memorial Hospital nurse Lindsey Gradone says she’s grateful to receive donated food during such a critical time.

“It means the world to us to know that people are at home and they’re thinking of us,” Gradone said.

Photo at top: Northwestern medical workers celebrating a pizza delivery. (Big G’s Pizza/Instagram)

Foot traffic drops about 80% in the Loop amid COVID-19

By Michael Thomas
Medill Reports

Chicago’s busy Loop looks like a ghost town amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Chicago Loop Alliance, an organization that helps maintain the loop, foot traffic has dropped about 80% compared to this time last year. The group’s CEO Michael Edwards says, “People are going to expect downtown to be clean safe and healthy and we’ll do everything we can.”

Depending on the latest number of positive cases, the state’s stay-at-home order could be extended. On Wednesday, April 22nd Gov. Pritzker said, “We’re looking at an extension, but I don’t know.” For now, Chicago Loop businesses will remain closed.

Photo at top: A nearly empty Chicago Loop (Michael Thomas/MEDILL)

A California couple’s big day postponed due to COVID-19

By Michael Thomas
Medill Reports

High school sweethearts Jenae Torres and Bobby Carrington spent a year planning their dream wedding. The COVID-19 pandemic and California stay-at-home orders forced them to postpone everything.

The 27 year old bride was crushed. “I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t cry a little bit,” Torres said.

With social distancing orders in place, churches closed and event venues shut down, saving the wedding date seemed unthinkable. “It really did not seem like it was going to be a possibility.” Torres said.
Continue reading