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Reporting from in and around Illinois.Listen to Statewide on WNIJ Saturdays 6-7 a.m. and Sundays 6-7 p.m.

Statewide: Back to school

classroom
Carter Staley/NPR Illinois
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It's that time of the year when students return to the classroom. On this episode, we hear about the impact the pandemic has had on learning and the mental health of young people. We also find out how a school district in one community, still reeling from a tragedy, plans to assist the healing.

Those stories and more on Statewide.

* Jane Carlson reports on how the Illinois High School Association is facing a shortage of athletic officials.

* Peter Medlin talks with Robin Steans of Advance Illinois about their new report on the pandemic's effects on students.

* Susie An visits Highland Park as the new semester begins, just weeks after a mass shooting that killed seven people and wounded dozens.

* We hear from urban historian Shermann Dilla Thomas about Illinois native Nichelle Nichols, who passed away last month.

* Steph Whiteside with Side Effects Public Media reports chronic illness patients hope money going for long COVID studies will have a wider benefit.

* Elizabeth Rembert brings us details on a conservation effort called 30 By 30.

* Vani Subramony with WNIJ has the story of a pungent and unique dish.

* Peter Medlin has more on a group of Ukrainian students visiting their sister city in Illinois — Rockford.

Wind turbine
Brian Munoz/St. Louis Public Radio
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A deconstructed wind turbine blade sits on a tractor-trailer after it is weighed on Monday at Veolia Environmental Services in Louisiana, Missouri. The company has expanded the plant's services in order to recycle the blades from across the United States.

* Sarah Nardi has details on the American Academy of Pediatrics updating its breastfeeding recommendations.

* WBEZ's Kristen Schorsch explains why medical bills can vary for the uninsured.

* Shahla Farzan reports on a Missouri town finding a new use for old wind turbine blades.