UPDATED: Wednesday, March 18 at 1:41 p.m.

Ascension’s Kathy Adams Run-a-Thon posptoned until future date
Ascension School announced that the Kathy Adams Run-a Thon will be postponed until a later date, but the school is still hoping to meet fund-raising goals. Every year, the run raises tens of thousands of dollars for the operating budget.
Oak Park River Forest Museum closed until at least April 1

Oak Park River Forest Museum has announced that it will be closed until at least April 1, with a decision on extending that further to be made by March 31.
 
This closure includes the cancellation of all programs, researcher visits, volunteer projects, and meetings.  
 
Staff members are planning to continue to work in the museum and/or remotely as the situation changes. Please call 708-848-6755 with questions or email oprfhistorymatters@sbcglobal.net  
 
More details are available at www.oprfmuseum.org

Maria Maxham

 __________________________________________________________________________________ 

UPDATED: Friday, March 13 at 5:03 p.m.

Open Door Theater postpones all future shows

Open Door Theater announced Friday that scheduled shows will be postponed to a later date in an effort to protect audience members and artists from COVID-19. More information is developing. 

Briana Higgins

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UPDATED: Friday, March 13 at 4:55 p.m.

Hephzibah cancels all visits, programs and events

Hephzibah Children’s Association announced Friday that all events, large gatherings and programs will be canceled during March and April. Additionally, all fundraising events are cancelled.

The organization will no longer accept donations, and in-person visits at both sites have been limited to therapists, social workers and essential deliveries. Pre-approval and a screening checklist will be required for each visit.

Briana Higgins

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UPDATED: Friday, March 13 at 4:30 p.m.

Trinity High School and others to close March 16

On Friday, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced all Catholic Schools in the area are closed, including Trinity High School. School-sponsored events have been suspeneded, performances, tests and exams are cancelled and will be rescheduled. 

The school will not permit anyone inside the building and students have been instructed to bring their school work home to prepare for e-learning days.

A letter to parents with closing information is posted online

Briana Higgins

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UPDATED: Friday, March 13 at 4:09 p.m.

River Forest Public Library announces closure

On Friday, the River Forest Public Library announced that it is closing the library and the exterior book drop returns from March 14 through at least March 29.

Patrons are instructed to keep library materials at home until the library reopens; no fines will be assessed, and due dates are extended through SWAN until May 1.

For additional updates, please visit riverforestlibrary.org.

Maria Maxham

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UPDATED: Friday, March 13 at 7:46 a.m.

Park District of Oak Park closing all facilities, canceling programs

The Park District of Oak Park announced Thursday night that they are canceling all recreation programs and closing all facilities through at least March 27. For more information visit their website at pdop.org or email diane.stanke@pdop.org.

Oak Park Public Library closes all three buildings

The Oak Park Public Library announced Thursday night that all three of its library buildings will be closed for all public services until further notice. David Seleb, executive director, said in the email that the decision was made “in unity with” decisions to close OPRF, District 90 and District 97.

Maria Maxham

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UPDATED: Friday, March 13 at 7:20 a.m.

River Forest’s District 90 cancels classes beginning Monday, March 16

In an email to parents, D90 Superintendent Ed Condon announced that classes will be canceled beginning March 16 “out of an abundance of caution and in response to the social distancing guidance recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).” He added that schools will remain closed at least through the end of spring break on March 30.

Schools will be in session on Friday, March 13, for othe purpose of issuing iPads to students, training them about expectations and procedures for continuity of learning, and ensuring that students have the books and necessary materials for online learning.

Oak Park’s District 97 cancels classes

District 97 officials announced on Thursday evening that they have decided to close schools on Friday, March 13, in light of the coronavirus outbreak. 

In a statement to students, families and community members, D97 Supt. Carol Kelley said that Friday will be a planning day for staff in order to prepare for remote learning, which will be implemented for all students starting Monday, March 16. Kelley said that the district plans to return to normal operations on March 30. Read more here. 

OPRF cancels classes

District 200 officials announced on Thursday evening that they are cancelling classes for students on Friday in light of the coronavirus outbreak. More available here.

Maria Maxham

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UPDATED: Thursday, March 12 at 6:31 p.m.

Dominican University cancels trustee benefit concert

On March 12, Dominican University announced the cancelation of the Trustee Benefit Concert and Gala on Saturday, March 14.

“We did not arrive at this decision lightly,” said Jean Brennan and M.E. Cleary, benefit co-chairs, in an online statement. “The Trustee Benefit Concert Gala is the single most important fundraising event of the year for Dominican University. The proceeds raised on this one evening provide scholarship support that has made the difference in the lives of hundreds of Dominican students.” They added that “out of the utmost concern for everyone’s well-being, we have decided it is most prudent to cancel.”

More information is available online at dom.edu/40th-annual-trustee-benefit.

Maria Maxham

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UPDATED: Thursday, March 12 at 6:15 p.m.

Village of River Forest cancels all non-critical meetings and events

Village President Cathy Adduci sent an email announcement to residents on March 12 regarding cancelation of village meetings. 

“Effective March 13, 2020 and until March 30, 2020, in an abundance of caution, the Village of River Forest is canceling all non-critical meetings and events. This includes our local boards and commissions. Please note, we could extend this date based on future information,” said Adduci in the email.

More updates are available on River Forest’s village website.

River Forest Public Library cancels events

The River Forest Public Library announced that although they do not plan to limit the hours of service, they are postponing all events through Monday, March 16. This includes Teen Tasters, Family Story Time, Middle School Gaming, Foreign Film Forum, and Irish Heritage Singers. Additional updates will be available online at riverforestlibrary.org.

Maria Maxham

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UPDATED: Thursday, March 12 at 5:21 p.m.

Oak Park Public Library cancels programs, meetings, events

The Oak Park Public Library announced that as of 5 p.m. today through 9 a.m. on March 17, all public programs, meetings and events at the library are cancelled. More information is available at oppl.org/covid19.

Oak Park and River Forest Township senior lunch program affected

Oak Park and River Forest Township Senior Services announced March 12 that they are modifying the senior lunch program to provide take out service only. Residents may pick up meals weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 130 S. Oak Park Ave.

Oak Park Township senior activities postponed

All Oak Park Township senior activities have been postponed until further notice. Updates will be posted on the website at oakparktownship.org/senior-services.

Unity Temple Restoration Foundation World Heritage Celebration postponed

The Unity Temple Restoration Foundation announced March 12 that they have canceled their April 3 World Heritage celebration until a future date. “We know this is an important and valuable gathering,” the foundation stated in an email. “We are disappointed it cannot proceed as planned but look forward to rescheduling later this year.”

Beyond Hunger still providing food

Beyond Hunger announced March 12 that it is still providing food but have some additional action steps in place. These include reminding clients they can send a proxy to pick up groceries if they are sick; reminding volunteers and clients to wash their hands as they arrive, during their shift, and as they leave; adding a health station with hand wipes and sanitizer; and disinfecting surfaces multiple times throughout the day. More information is available online at gobeyondhunger.org.

Maria Maxham

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UPDATED: Thursday, March 12 at 2:22 p.m.

First United Church of Oak Park cancels in-person services

First United Church of Oak Park announced on March 11 that it would be holding online Sunday worship instead of in-person services for the next three Sundays.

“To reiterate, the church will be closed on Sunday morning for the next three weeks,” said Rev. John Edgerton, lead pastor, in a letter to the congregation. He added that the change “comes out of an abundance of caution and out of a desire to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Online worship, he said in his letter, will be held at the normal time, Sunday at 11 a.m. Music, prayer, a sermon and a time for sharing will be part of the service. He will send instructions later in the week to parishioners with instructions on how to participate.

Oak Park Public Library not limiting hours

On March 11, the Oak Park Public Library announced that it would not be limiting hours or canceling programs or special events, although that could change with the situation. Updates will be posted on their website at oppl.org/news. Staff is cleaning library spaces every evening and has disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and tissues available to everyone in multiple places throughout the buildings. Additional cleaning of frequently touched surfaces is being done as well.

Park District of Oak Park taking precautions

In an email from the Park District of Oak Park on March 12, it was stated that the park district is staying up to date on the developing situation and has taken measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, including: hanging posters encouraging precautionary steps at the entrances to all buildings and restrooms; encouraging instructors to arrive early to wipe down equipment and surfaces; offering tissues and no-touch disposal receptables in all facilities; having soap and water and alcohol-based liquid available at all park district sites; and frequently disinfecting doors, surfaces, equipment and public spaces.

Oak Park Education Foundation reschedules event for May

The Oak Park Education Foundation announced on March 11 that it is rescheduling its Bingo Bash to Friday, May 29 instead of holding it in April.

“We cannot in good conscience ask even our most loyal supporters to attend an event with 250 other adults. It’s just not worth the risk,” said Tracy Dell’Angela Barber, executive director, in an email to supporters.

River Forest Public Library not canceling events, monitoring situation

Francisca Arnold, marketing and public relations specialist of the River Forest Public Library, said on March 11 that the library is currently not canceling any events but is constantly monitoring the situation.

“We are taking all the recommended precautions, such as wiping down surfaces, having hand sanitizer available, and have signage up about hand washing, etc.,” said Arnold in an email. “We are also planning on putting more space between the chairs starting with this Sunday’s event.” She added that any cancelations will be listed on the website immediately, and anyone who has signed up for events will get an email alerting them of changes or cancelations.

Maria Maxham

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The Oak Park Village Board will vote Friday morning in a special meeting to expand the powers of its public health department director to respond to worries about the growing coronavirus threat.

Under the plan, Mike Charley, the longtime health department director, will have expanded authority, ranging from decisions on closing facilities, limiting the size of public gatherings to more mundane virus-mitigation actions, such as ordering supplies or equipment that would typically require village board approval.

“These are extraordinary times. We want to cut the red tape and empower our staff to make decisions,” said Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb on Wednesday afternoon. “We want to assure the public that we will always be forthcoming with any information we have and that we are taking this seriously.”

Abu-Taleb said that as of March 11, there were no known cases of infection in Oak Park.

“We are taking proactive actions,” he said.

Cara Pavlicek, Oak Park village manager, said Tuesday that village government has been making internal policy changes since last week. Those range, she said, from following CDC protocol for cleaning voting machines in use during early voting at village hall, 123 Madison St., to placing quarantine restrictions on any employee who might be returning from a Level 3 country or any employee who might be returning from a cruise.

Additionally, village hall has suspended any employee travel through April 1. Village hall has also guaranteed that no employee will lose wages if they become sick with the virus and run out of sick leave.

Oak Park, said Abu-Taleb, is one of five municipalities in Cook County with its own public health department.

“This is a procedural step to allow Mike [Charley] to make decisions as he sees fit,” said Abu-Taleb.

Pavlicek said the village board has the authority to rescind decisions it might disagree with.

Abu-Taleb said the village is in frequent communication with all local taxing bodies and will confer on all major decisions. But, he said, “public safety issues tilt toward village hall.”

The expansion of health department authority had been expected to be approved at a village board meeting on Monday, March 16. The decision was made Wednesday to move more quickly and set a special meeting for Friday.

Dan Haley

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