Christine Herman

On a recent Monday morning, a group of preschoolers filed into the gymnasium at Hillside School in the west Chicago suburbs. These 4- and 5-year-olds were the first of more than 200 students to get tested for the coronavirus that day — and every Monday — for the foreseeable future.

At the front of the line, a girl in a unicorn headband and sparkly pink skirt clutched a plastic zip-top bag with her name on it. She pulled out a plastic tube with a small funnel attached, and Hillside Superintendent Kevin Suchinski then led her to a spot marked off with red tape.

All IN: Unemployment / Rural Vaccinations / Art Fair

Sep 1, 2021
Richard Bell/Unsplash

Today we talk about efforts to get farmers to promote the COVID-19 vaccine in their communities.

We also learn about a new fine arts fair coming to Indianapolis featuring the work of Black artists across the country, and get the latest news around unemployment in the state.

Produced by Micah Yason.

Guests:

Justin Hicks
Workforce Development Reporter, Indiana Public Broadcasting

Christine Herman
Reporter, Side Effects Public Media and Illinois Public Media

When he first became eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in Illinois, Tom Arnold, 68, says he didn't need any convincing. He raises cattle, hogs and chickens in Elizabeth, a small rural town in the northwest corner of the state.

After all, who better to understand why herd immunity matters than a herdsman?

"Being a livestock producer, I'm well aware of vaccinations and vaccines," he says. "That's how we develop immunity in our animals. We're always vaccinating the breeding stock to pass on immunity to the little ones."

Updated June 11, 2021 at 11:30 PM ET

In 2019, the Rockville Centre school district in Long Island, N.Y., was shaken by a string of student deaths, including the suicides of a recent graduate and a current student.

"When you get these losses, one after the other, you almost can't get traction on normalcy," says Noreen Leahy, an assistant superintendent at the school district. "You can't get traction on kids functioning on a day-to-day basis in a school setting."

When a woman dies during pregnancy or within a year of childbirth in Illinois, that's considered a maternal death. Karen Tabb Dina reviews cases like this in the state of Illinois.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Kai Humphrey, 9, has been learning from home for more than a year. He badly misses his Washington, D.C., elementary school, along with his friends and the bustle of the classroom.

"I will be the first person ever to have every single person in the world as my friend," he said on a recent Zoom call, his sandy brown hair hanging down to his shoulder blades. From Kai, this kind of proclamation doesn't feel like bragging, more like exuberant kindness.

With more than 20 million acres of corn and soybeans, Illinois is among the top U.S. producers of both those crops. To make it all happen, the state relies on thousands of farmworkers — some who travel to the state for seasonal work and others, like 35-year-old Saraí, who call Illinois home.

A bag of Doritos, that's all Princess wanted.

Her mom calls her Princess, but her real name is Lindsey. She's 17 and lives with her mom, Sandra, a nurse, outside of Atlanta. On May 17, 2020, a Sunday, Lindsey decided she didn't want breakfast; she wanted Doritos. So she left home and walked to Family Dollar, taking her pants off on the way, while her mom followed on the phone with police.