Today’s news focuses on further effects of COVID-19 across the United States. Current issues include loss of tax revenue across municipalities and the particulars of the fall semester, including ADA accommodations and internet access for remote learning. As always, these headlines are courtesy of Newseum.org.
Montgomery Advertiser, Published in Montgomery Alabama
$103 million dollars of the money received by Alabama from the federal CARES Act will now be delegated toward ensuring good internet access for students already receiving free or reduced price lunch. While the majority of the money will pay for internet connection for qualifying families, $5 million will be spent on expanding internet connectivity in more rural areas. Many of Alabama’s school districts will be going remote for the beginning of the fall semester and this funding will help ensure that no child falls behind in instruction for lack of internet.
Orange County Register, Published in Santa Ana, California
Cannabis has been legal for recreational use in California since 2016, but cities have the right to regulate it within their jurisdictions. Currently, only a quarter of cities allow the industry to operate and many only allow limited aspects. However, due to massive revenue loss due to the pandemic, many more cities are pushing to open or expand the marijuana industry within their borders for the significant tax revenue it generates.
The Augusta Chronicle, Published in Augusta, Georgia
In a hearing yesterday at Capitol Hill, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Admiral Brett Giroir, head of the Department of Health and Human Services spoke on the virus and the possibility of a vaccine. Dr. Fauci opined that a vaccine will be available next year, although there will be a priority list for who will be able to get it first, such as health care workers and those at highest risk. Currently, a quarter-million of Americans have volunteered to take part in the clinical trials for a potential vaccine.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Published in Honolulu, Hawaii
RIMPAC, or the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, is a biannual, international, maritime warfare exercise held in Hawaii. Last time it was held in 2018, 25 nations participated with more than 25,000 personnel and numerous ships, submarines, aircraft and land forces. This year, due to the virus, the drills and exercises have been trimmed from a month of activities to two weeks without the normal parties and festivities in between. In a typical year, RIMPAC brings $50 million to Hawaii’s economy.
Concord Monitor, Published in Concord, New Hampshire
Approximately 450 employees in the University of New Hampshire system applied for accommodations through the Americans with Disabilities Act for the fall semester and more than four in five were declined. Many of those were requests to work from home due to compromised immune systems and susceptibility to the coronavirus. Currently, vulnerability to COVID-19 is not classified as a disability under the ADA. Many professors and other employees say that so far they have been offered a vague “flexible work arrangement” instead and communication from the university has been poor.