Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: October 6, 2020 Edition #111

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states. Today we look at Maine’s next phase of reopening, new coronavirus restrictions in Michiganschool reopenings, and more. Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • Kansas (divided government): The Kansas Department of Education announced 10 more counties moved into the red zone (remote instruction only) for school reopenings.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced the state will enter Stage 4 of reopening starting Oct. 13. Stage 4 will allow indoor activities and businesses like restaurants, movie theaters, and religious gatherings to expand operations to 50% capacity or up to 100 people (whichever is less). The order also requires masks in municipal buildings and private schools and expands enforcement of the face-covering mandate. Mills said the state was targeting Nov. 2 for bars and tasting rooms to resume indoor service.
  • Maryland (divided government): On Tuesday, Oct. 6, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) extended Maryland’s state of emergency. Hogan first declared the state of emergency on March 5.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Monday, Oct. 5, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an emergency public health order replacing many of the coronavirus restrictions the Michigan Supreme Court struck down on Oct. 2, including limits on gatherings and a mask requirement. The court ruled that day that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) emergency orders were based on an unconstitutional 1945 law called the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. The MDHHS order expires Oct. 30.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced gatherings of up to 7,500 people in large outdoor venues or 3,750 in indoor venues will be permitted starting Oct. 9.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Oct. 5, Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an executive order allowing live outdoor music performances to resume so long as crowds are restricted to 25% capacity or 250 individuals, whichever is less. Indoor live music performances which are streamed across the internet without crowds are permitted to resume.

Daily feature: Schools

All 50 states closed schools to in-person instruction at some point during the 2019-2020 academic year. Beginning in May 2020, schools in certain states began to reopen. In which states are schools allowed to open? In which states are they ordered to remain closed?

The current status of school reopenings is as follows:

  • Washington, D.C., has a district-ordered school closure
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 85,850 students (0.17% of students nationwide)
  • Seven states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, N.C., N.M., Ore., W.V.) have state-ordered regional school closures, require closures for certain grade levels, or allow hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,366,079 students (18.51% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ark., Fla.*, Iowa, Texas) have state-ordered in-person instruction
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,180,918 students (18.15% of students nationwide)
    • *Note: Three counties in South Florida are not at the same phase of reopening as the rest of the state and the emergency order to reopen schools does not affect them.
  • Thirty-nine states have reopenings that vary by school or district
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 31,955,012 students (63.17% of students nationwide)