March 4 Weekly Digest: KPS mask mandate, State of the Union Address and Russian sanctions


Credit: Gigi Fox

Senior Kevin Lucas goes up for a layup against multiple Tri-Unity players.

News Team

COVID-19 Update

According to The New York Times’ COVID-19 dashboard, there have been over 54 thousand new cases each day of COVID in the United States as of March 3rd. Around 1.8 thousand cases are concentrated in Michigan, and out of the new daily Michigan cases, roughly 116 are in Kalamazoo County, which has more than doubled countywide since last week’s average of 48.

Kalamazoo Public Schools announced on Wednesday, March 2, that they will be reassessing the current mask mandate at the next school board meeting on March 17. This follows the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services decision to ease the requirement of masks in government and privately owned buildings, which districts such as Portage, Mattawan, and Comstock have begun to employ.

Local News/KPS

Earlier this week on Monday, February 28, marked the end of Black History Month around the nation in which Loy Norrix celebrated with a presentation from Battle Creek author and historian Barbara Allen, who is the great granddaughter of legendary abolitionist Sojourner Truth. The turn of the month also brings about the celebration of Women’s History Month in March, which within Norrix kicks off with the school’s Female Empowerment Club hosting a door decorating contest that ended this friday, March 4. 

Loy Norrix entered Winter Fest this week which marks the last week of competition for both the Men’s and Women’s basketball season. To celebrate, Norrix held a spirit week competition between the classes with the respective themes for each day being the following:

  • Monday: Pajama Day (Sophomore class)
  • Tuesday: Jersey Day (Senior class)
  • Wednesday: Retro Day (Senior class)
  • Thursday: Twin Day (Senior class)
  • Friday: Blue and White Day (Senior class)

Last Saturday, February 26, the Loy Norrix Forensics team competed at the Spartan Invitational, a pre-season tournament held at Michigan State University. Senior Liam Braun took first place in Broadcasting and Senior Elias Nagel-Bennett took first place in Impromptu, both garnering Norrix a 1st place in the Sparty division. The team participates in their first Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association tournament of the 2022 season this Saturday, March 5, at Grand Rapids Christain High School. This is the first return to in-person MIPA competition in 2 years, for the 2020 season.

Earlier this week on Tuesday, March 1, the Loy Norrix Theatre department announced that the next production that hit’s Kasdorf Auditorium will be “And Then There Were None,” a stage play adaptation of a classic murder mystery from Agatha Christine. Norrix students can audition for the production on March 15 in room J12, with call backs taking place on March 17. 

The SAT is quickly approaching. Juniors are automatically registered for the exam, and anyone else interested in taking the exam can begin registering on May 7, 2022, with registration ending at midnight on April 26.  There will be another make-up testing day on June 4.

Michigan News

Joseph Morrison, Pete Musico and Paul Bellar have been accused of aiding terrorism against Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020.  They provided firearms and other materials and are being accused of trying to commit a felony.  The court ruled that they were entrapped by someone in the government and that it was that entrapment that led them to get involved in the attempted kidnapping of Whitmer.  Their trial is set for September 12th.  


On Tuesday, Mar 1, President Joe Biden delivered the 2022 State of the Union address in front of Congress. Biden addressed, most significantly, the Russia-Ukraine War, inflation, infrastructure, the coronavirus pandemic and national unity. 

During his speech, Biden announced a Department of Justice task force dedicated to going after “the crimes of the Russian oligarchs,” and in an announcement that received bipartisan applause, said that “we will join our allies in closing off American airspace to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia and adding additional squeeze on their economy.” 

Additionally, Biden acknowledged rising inflation rates, saying, “Too many families are struggling to keep up with their bills, inflation is robbing them of gains they thought otherwise, they would be able to feel. I get it, that’s why my top priority is getting prices under control.”  Biden suggested a solution of lowering costs rather than wages and looking more towards American supply chains and producers rather than foreign imports for innovation and infrastructure. 

When speaking on COVID-19, Biden recommended four steps to follow while staying on-guard against the virus and future variants. The president further encouraged vaccinations for people of all ages, acknowledged the antiviral pill that Pfizer has begun producing, and implored immunocompromised or vulnerable people to seek treatment and “free high-quality masks.”

Finally, Biden said in his concluding remarks, “The state of union is strong because you, the American people, are strong. We are stronger today than we were a year ago and we’ll be stronger a year from now then we are today.”

Further topics were covered by President Biden in his speech including crime prevention, Roe v. Wade, his recent nomination of  Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court, his “Unity Agenda” for the nation, among many others. The entirety of his address can be read or watched here

Preparations for the Texas Midterms have begun, with the race officially being the current governor, Gregg Abbott, versus the Democratic candidate, former congressman Beto O’Rourke. There have been several controversies surrounding Abbott these past two years, such as his handling of the pandemic. Due to Texas’ strict voting restrictions, specifically on mail-in ballots, there are heightened concerns regarding the openness of the election. Even in the primaries, officials have already rejected over a thousand mail-in ballots. 

Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis, announced that Colorado will begin to accept the crypto-currencies Bitcoin and Ethereum as a proper payment for income tax. Other states, such as New York, plan to follow Colorado and incorporate crypto-currency into mainstream society. 

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was officially nominated for the Supreme Court by President Joe Biden on February 25th. She will be filling Justice Stephen Breyer’s spot since he is retiring later this year. Jackson will be the first Black woman to hold a Supreme Court seat. She graduated from Harvard Law, cum laude, in 1996. Since June of 2021, she has been working as a United States Circuit Judge in the District of Columbia. 


Russia has not backed down on it’s invasion of Ukraine. Many Ukranians have fled to neighboring countries, but men of age are expected to stay behind and help Ukraine with the war effort. Casualties of both Russian troops and Ukrainian civilians are continuing to rise; however, it’s not possible to get an exact number. The US and other NATO allies are enforcing sanctions, specifically on Russian oil refineries. China, however, has refused to take part in the sanctions because they feel the sanctions won’t be successful for the problems at hand. More large cities are under siege, including Kherson, a major port city. The Biden Administration has requested an increase in its budget for military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but Ukraine is urging NATO to take more radical steps. On Thursday, there is expected to be another round of negotiations between Russian and Ukraine delegations, the first being on Monday and not being effective.