COVID-19 Update 10 June, 2020

COVID-19 Update 10 June, 2020

Federal 

Pace of Layoffs Eased in April After Initial Coronavirus Shutdowns

  • According to the Labor Department, the pace of job losses due to COVID-19 shutdowns began to ease in April. 
  • Layoffs declined from 11.5 million in March to 7.7 million in April, and the data shows that the economy has begun to restore some jobs initially lost during the first few months of the pandemic. 

New Estimate to Reopen Schools After Coronavirus: $116.5 Billion

  • The American Federation of Teachers has estimated that the average school will need an additional $1.2 million, or close to $2,300 per student, to safely reopen in the fall. 
  • To ensure schools open with the proper academic and emotional supports in place for 55 million children, the AFT estimates that the total financial cost of reopening nears $116.5 billion. 
  • AFT’s full analysis included an estimated “$36 billion for additional academic support for students coming off a year of ineffective remote learning, $35 billion for additional instructional staff and nearly $10 billion for transportation”.
  • In order to adhere to the CDC’s guidelines for reopening, school districts are projecting needing to spend near $2 million per district – and this is causing some districts to consider scrapping in-person classes altogether for the fall. 

20 States See Increases in Coronavirus Cases Amid Reopening, Protests

  • While cases in previous hotspots, like New York City, are declining, more are popping up in smaller populated places around the country. 
  • According to data from The New York Times, 20 states and Puerto Rico have seen an increase in their reported number of cases in the past two weeks: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington.
  • The World Health Organization fears that the pandemic is worsening: “More than 100,000 cases have been reported on nine of the past 10 days. Yesterday, more than 136,000 cases were reported, the most in a single day so far,” WHO’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday. 

State

Here’s everything we know about police reform in Harrisburg and what may happen next

  • Democrats reached a deal to advance reforms in police hiring, training, and wellness practices in the Republican-controlled state House next week.
  • One of the bills sponsored by Democratic Reps. Chris Rabb, of Philadelphia, and Rep. Harry Readshaw, of Allegheny County, would allow police departments to review the personnel files of job applicants. The proposal also has the backing of the police unions and chiefs.
  • The Democratic Black Caucus is proposing 19 bills that address police and their use of force. An additional bill that will be voted on will include Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, a bill on child abuse detection. 

Levine orders nursing homes to complete universal testing by July 24

  • All of Pennsylvania’s roughly 2,000 personal care homes will need to complete COVID-19 testing on residents and staff no later than July 24.
  • The order from Pennsylvania’s Department of Health is being issued, Levine said, to “rapidly detect asymptomatic residents and staff.”
  • Last week, Levine said that changes would be coming to regulations governing the state’s personal care homes, following criticism and recommendations from the state Auditor General’s office. 

Top Republican Mike Turzai will resign from the Pa. House on June 15

  • Rep. Mike Turazi has announced that he will be stepping down on June 15th. 

Reopening of Pennsylvania state universities will vary by campus

  • The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors approved a general framework for reopening the 96,000 student system, giving individual president’s authority to work on details for their campuses, which are spread throughout the state, from cities to rural areas.
  • Many of the universities and colleges expressed concern about liability, availability of testing, and costs associated with enhanced cleaning and safety measures. 
  • Each college will have contingency plans if COVID-19 reemerges in the fall.

City 

Kenney administration approved police use of tear gas amid Philly protests

  • Mayor Jim Kenney and other top officials in his administration approved the use of tear gas last week on protesters. 
  • Philadelphia police faced criticism last week for the use of tear gas on protesters who marched onto Interstate 676. In response to questions about that situation during a City Council budget hearing for the police department Wednesday, Brian Abernathy said there was an “overarching decision” to allow the use of tear gas and other “less than lethal munitions.”

Mayor Kenney walks back police budget boost and vows reforms — but not enough, critics say

  • Mayor Kenney is rescinding his proposed $19 million increase to the Philadelphia Police Department’s budget.
  • Under the proposal, the police will formally update the use of force policies and employ new technology to upgrade an “early warning system” designed to flag problem officers. The city will also create new internal positions to monitor brutality and diversity issues within the department.
  • The city also proposed renegotiating the city’s Fraternal Order of Police union contract to win disciplinary reforms and reestablish residency requirements. Kennedy’s plan also includes the creation of the Police Oversight Commission. 

Philly may cut police overtime to cover new initiatives after mayor drops funding increase

  • Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Wednesday she plans to cut overtime to help offset Mayor Jim Kenney’s abrupt decision to drop his proposal to add $19 million to the force’s budget. 
  • The Commissioner said the savings would be used to outfit more officers with body-worn cameras, more criminal intelligence analysts, and conduct implicit-bias training, among other initiatives.

Good News of the Day

Grads Receive Diplomas Aboard Jet Skis After High School Refuses to Cancel Commencement Ceremony

Via the Good News Network –

Despite how the novel coronavirus shutdowns have canceled thousands of commencement ceremonies around the world, this Florida school found a creative way of celebrating their senior students while still respecting social distancing.

Back in May, the Somerset Island Prep charter high school in Key West handed out diplomas to all their graduating students—but rather than having the teens walk across a stage, the ceremony was held on the open sea.

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