Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 executive order issued Monday suspends state Open Meetings Act requirements that members of a public body must generally be physically present at meetings and restricts their remote participation in such meetings.

Mayor Steve Hagerty says Evanston aldermen will be sitting at least six feet apart from each other at tonight’s 6 p.m. special City Council meeting and that spectators will be limited to the anteroom that’s separated by a glass wall from the main Council Chamber.

He didn’t mention in a phone interview Monday whether any of the aldermen plan to call in for tonight’s meeting.

Hagerty says the meeting will be live streamed online and on the city cable channel and people who show up for public comment will be able to speak.

Update 3:45 p.m.: In a news release this afternoon, the city said residents will not be able to provide public comment in person at the City Council meeting but could register online “to participate virtually.”

The District 65 School Board is planning to go all-in on the remote meeting idea. Board Secretary Adeela Qureshi says tonight’s 5:30 p.m. special meeting will be conducted entirely by conference call. Qureshi says people who go to the district’s administration building for public comment “will be accomodated.”

She says a recording of the meeting will be available on the district’s YouTube channel.

The Evanston Township High School board is holding a regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. tonight. No word yet on whether they’ll be altering the format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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