Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:
- An extended COVID-19 emergency in Delaware
- A ruling prohibiting school mask requirements bans in Florida
- Vaccine distribution
- School mask requirements
- State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
- Federal responses
We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered Tuesday? Click here.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
Florida (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Florida Second Circuit Court Judge John Cooper ruled the state Department of Education cannot enforce Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) order prohibiting mask requirements in public schools. Cooper ruled against DeSantis’ order on Aug. 27, but the ruling did not go into effect because DeSantis appealed the decision. Following a Sept. 8 hearing on the status of the order pending appeal, Cooper said the government did not present a compelling case for blocking his order. The ban on enforcement will remain in effect until the First District Court of Appeals hears DeSantis’ appeal.
Maryland (divided government): On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that residents 65 and older who live in congregate care settings, like nursing homes and residential drug treatment centers, are eligible to get a third COVID-19 shot.
Vermont (divided government): On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Gov. Phil Scott (R) expanded a vaccine mandate to include all state employees. Previously, Scott’s vaccine mandate had applied only to state employees working in settings with vulnerable populations, such as the Vermont Department of Corrections. The expanded mandate takes effect Sept. 15. State employees who are not fully vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
We last looked at vaccine distribution in the Sept. 7 edition of the newsletter. As of Sept. 8, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:
- Vermont (Republican governor): 77%
- Massachusetts (Republican governor): 76%
- Hawaii (Democratic governor): 75%
- Connecticut (Democratic governor): 74%
- Rhode Island (Democratic governor): 73%
The states with the lowest rates were:
- Idaho (Republican governor): 45%
- Wyoming (Republican governor): 46%
- West Virginia (Republican governor): 47%
- Mississippi (Republican governor): 48%
- North Dakota (Republican governor): 49%
School mask requirements
We last looked at school mask requirements on Sept. 2. Since then, U. S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee Judge Sheryl H. Lipman temporarily suspended Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) executive order requiring schools to offer parents the option to opt-out of school mask requirements for their children.
State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
As COVID-19 vaccination rates have increased, state governments have enacted various rules around the use of proof-of-vaccination requirements. In some cases, states have banned state or local governments from requiring that people show proof-of-vaccination. Other states have assisted in the creation of digital applications—sometimes known as vaccine passports—that allow people to prove their vaccination status and, in some cases, bypass COVID-19 restrictions.
- Twenty states have passed legislation or issued orders prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements at some or all levels of government.
- Four states have assisted in the creation of digital vaccination status applications.
Since Sept. 2, no state has banned proof-of-vaccination requirements or rolled out a vaccine status application.
- On Sept. 3, the Biden administration released details on the $65.3 billion “American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming Our Capabilities” plan. The proposal lays the groundwork for future pandemic response, earmarking $24.2 billion to the development of new vaccines and $11.8 billion to antiviral therapeutics. The plan also calls for spending $15-20 billion on a hub housed within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would coordinate a federal pandemic response.