Get tests / Get masks / Get teachers

Get tests. The U.S. website where you can order free at-home rapid COVID-19 tests is up and running.

Get masks. The Biden administration next week will begin distributing 400 million N95 masks for free through pharmacies and community health centers …
 … coinciding with growing consensus that “cloth masks are little more than facial decorations” against the omicron variant …
 … but that “any mask is better than no mask.”

Get vaxxed. Cook County’s reactivated a suburban facility capable of administering 1,300 free COVID vaccinations a day …
 … as a new Israeli study warns that even a fourth dose of the vaccine isn’t enough to block omicron.
Chicago’s cited another 22 bars, restaurants and fitness centers for failing to enforce proof-of-vaccination rules.
Men Yell at Me columnist Lyz Lenz updates a wrongful death lawsuit against Tyson Foods, which reopened its plants with virtually no protection for workers early in the pandemic: “They Died for Your Chicken Nuggets.”

Get teachers. A new report spotlights a pandemic-aggravated teacher and substitute teacher shortage at schools across Illinois.
Wanna be a sub? Here’s how.
As online learning booms through the pandemic, The Markup sounds an alarm about educational tech companies collecting massive amounts of data on students.

Lightfoot’s back. A week after testing positive for COVID-19, Chicago’s mayor returned to the limelight yesterday …
 … for a change, wearing a mask even when she stepped to the mic …
 … leaving behind controversy over her police superintendent, whose command staff reportedly has lost faith in him.

‘We’ll have to be @#$% vigilant.’ Health reporter and podcaster Dan Weissmann explores your rights under the new No Surprises Act, aimed at ending “surprise bills” from out-of-insurance-network medical specialists you often don’t get to choose in the first place.

Sun-Times + WBEZ … almost. In a move that media critic—and Sun-Times alumnus—Robert Feder says is “designed to assure survival of the money-losing newspaper,” the parent company of WBEZ-FM has approved acquisition of the Sun-Times
 … but the deal might not close until the end of the month …
 … at which point the newspaper’s new nonprofit status would dictate an end to editorial endorsements.
Politico’s Shia Kapos calls it “a marriage made in media heaven.”

‘We never expected this level of excitement.’ A new Barbie doll honoring pioneering Black journalist Ida B. Wells is selling out in Chicago …
 … but it was still available online at $35 a shot.

‘The most creative and versatile person ever in Chicago kids’ TV.’ Longtime host Bill “BJ” Jackson is dead at 86.
Jackson had donated his puppets to Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications, which has them on permanent display.

 … whose memory you can honor with a donation to one of his favorite causes …
 … and a vote or two for him in the Reader’s Best of Chicago poll.

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