Want an illustration of just how effective COVID-19 vaccines are in protecting against the spread of the disease? Let’s look at some numbers.

There’s been a bit of a spike in new cases since the end of summer, similar in a way to what we experienced in the fall of 2020. As the weather pushed more and more people indoors, COVID-19 made a comeback, and it appears to be doing so again.

The difference is that now a growing percentage of the population, including children as young as 5, are eligible to be vaccinated. So while the numbers of new cases have risen, they pale in comparison to last fall’s deadly second wave.

For the week ending on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 23, the three villages the Landmark covers — Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside — reported a total of 54 new cases of COVID-19.

In 2020, for the week ending on the morning of Nov. 24, the three village’s recorded 208 new cases.

During the three-week stretch between Nov. 3 and Nov. 24 of 2020, the three communities recorded 621 total new cases of COVID-19. Between Nov. 2 and Nov. 23, 2021 the three towns recorded a combined 130 new cases.

Last year we all — well, the vast majority of us anyway — celebrated Thanksgiving in very isolated family groups. This year, due to the vaccines more and more families will be celebrating together, a welcome change from a year ago.

We wish all of you a happy, safe Thanksgiving and encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so, not only for themselves but for the ones they love.

Making the grade

We reported today on some complaints coming from students and parents at Lyons Township High School regarding a change made a year ago in the way grades are calculated.

The change — which assesses mastery of material on regular tests — was done to even the playing field by subtracting subjective measures like class participation and doing away with things like extra credit and docking points for not doing homework.

It has resulted in some unintended consequences, like kids thinking not being graded on homework frees them from having to do it. While students are able to retake tests until they’re satisfied with their grades, some are finding themselves in a cycle of frantically trying to bolster grades on old material while falling behind on mastering the new.

So this is a work in progress and school administrators say they recognize that and may need to make some tweaks. We’d encourage parents and students to not simply reject this new policy, just because they are have some trouble adjusting to it.

Over time, study and work habits will change and the value of mastering material over gaming grades by coaxing points out of a raised hand and extra credit will show itself. We think this is a worthwhile change, but we understand it’s going to take some getting used to.

School leaders should respond appropriately but not reject the new policy simply to appease those who find change uncomfortable.