CategoryNewsletters

Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 22, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Answer key questions about state school reopening plans.
  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On July 22, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that a statewide mask mandate will go into effect the evening of July 23. DeWine previously imposed mask requirements on counties with high numbers of COVID-19 cases. The mandate will require all individuals 10 years and older to wear a mask indoors and outdoors if social distancing isn’t possible.

Since our last edition

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

  • California (Democratic trifecta): EdSource reported that school districts could petition their local county health departments to reopen elementary schools to in-person instruction. The petition would waive Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) July 17 order closing all public schools in the counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list. The waiver provision appeared as a footnote in a document on reopening schools to in-person learning released by the Department of Public Health (DPH) on July 17 but was not included in the “Industry Guidance: Schools” document released by DPH or in a press release from Newsom’s office announcing the closure.
  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) ordered that bars and restaurants statewide make their last call for alcohol at 10 p.m. The order will last at least 30 days.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that anyone 8 or older would be required to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces, commercial businesses, transportation services, or in outdoor public spaces where social distancing is not possible. Students in third grade or higher, along with faculty and staff, must wear face masks in school. The requirement takes effect on July 27.
  • Kansas (divided government): The Kansas State Board of Education voted 5-5 on Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) executive order delaying the start of the public school year from August 10 until Sept. 9. The order required board approval before taking effect, so the tie vote effectively cancels the governor’s executive order.
  • Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced he will extend Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan through August 7.
  • Minnesota (divided government): On July 22, Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that he will issue a statewide mask mandate effective July 25. The order will require all people except small children and those with documented medical conditions to wear a mask in businesses open to the public.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, New York (Democratic trifectas): Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced on July 21 that 10 additional states had been added to their joint travel advisory. Travelers from Alaska, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia, and Washington will need to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. Minnesota was removed from the list, bringing the number of states on it to 31.

Tracking industries: Restaurants

All 50 states are reopening in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states may you dine in at a restaurant?

We last looked at restaurants in the July 15th edition of the newsletter. Since then, no states have opened or closed dine-in services at restaurants. California and New Jersey remain the only two states that do not allow indoor dining at restaurants.

This is an in-depth summary of two state plans to reopen public K-12 schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Tennessee’s reopening guidance

The Tennessee Department of Education released school reopening guidance on June 8. The guidance is presented as “a framing document and not an implementation document. It is intended to provide broad questions and considerations for local districts.” The guidance is split into an overview document and several toolkits focused on specific areas that require consideration in crafting a reopening plan.

On March 16, Gov. Bill Lee (R) ordered public schools to close by March 20 and remain closed until March 31. On March 24, the Department of Education extended the closure through April 24. Lee closed schools for the remainder of the academic year on April 15.

Tennessee does not have a statewide date for schools to reopen. According to EdWeek, public schools in Tennessee traditionally start the academic year from late July to early August, with the exact date varying by district.

Context

Tennessee public school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $10,402 42
Number of students (’18-’19) 1,006,309 16
Number of teachers (’16-17) 64,270 15
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 1,862 20
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 15.7 19
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 58.80% 10
Tennessee public school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $9,428,987 23
Percent from federal sources 12.0% 8
Percent from state sources 45.2% 30
Percent from local sources 42.9% 24

Details

District reopening plans

Both local districts and individual schools are tasked with developing their own reopening plans. The guidance does not say whether the plans need to be approved by the state or posted publicly.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

The guidance lays out four different scenarios that schools should prepare for, and recommended several options for how the school could function in each of those scenarios. The scenarios are:

  • Scenario One – All students physically in school buildings
    • Traditional return
    • Staggered return
    • Staggered schedules
  • Scenario Two – All students participating in virtual and distance education
    • Full-time distance education
    • Self-paced or semi-independent programs
  • Scenario Three – Some students in physical buildings and some students virtual
    • Split days
    • Alternating days
    • Physical attendance based on need
  • Scenario Four – Cyclical or intermittent physical and virtual education
    • Staff and family choice
    • Emergency or responsive situations only (i.e. – virus resurgence)

Mask requirements

The guidance refers to recommendations released by the Tennessee Department of Health on June 30 for managing COVID-19 in schools. The Department of Health recommended the following for face coverings:

  • All staff should wear a cloth face covering at all times while on campus unless medical conditions dictate they cannot.
  • All middle and high school students should wear a cloth face covering at all times while in the school building unless the student is unable to remove the covering without assistance.
  • All elementary school students should wear a cloth face covering at all times while in the school building unless the student is unable to remove the covering without assistance or is sleeping.
  • Preschool children under the age of two should not wear cloth face coverings.
  • Young children or elementary school students who continuously play with, suck on, or chew their face covering should be excused from wearing one.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The guidance offers the following recommendations when schools are operating with students physically in the building:

  • Limit the daily movement of students in non-classroom environments for meals or recess and implement one-way hallways.
  • Rotate teachers through classrooms and allow students to remain in cohorts together.
  • Use non-traditional classroom space to allow for 6-foot distancing.
  • Implement plans that allow for social distancing measures during extra-curricular activities (clubs, sports, band, etc.).

Transportation and busing requirements and restrictions

The guidance’s transportation toolkit published as part of the guidance does not include a recommendation or requirement on the use of face coverings on buses. Instead, it asks local districts to consider whether or not drivers and students should wear cloth face coverings and whether the district can provide these coverings.

The toolkit recommends that districts follow CDC guidelines on social distancing between the driver and students. It recommends taping off every other row and allowing only one student per seat. To support contact tracing efforts, the toolkit recommends that districts use assigned seats.

Texas’ SY 20-21 Public Health Planning Guidance

On July 7, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released a framework for returning students to classrooms in the 2020-2021 school year. The guidance, a mix of requirements and recommendations, covers health and safety procedures for students, teachers, and staff, and provides guidelines for the length of time schools can offer distance learning before reopening classrooms.

The Texas Education Agency released updated guidance on July 17 allowing schools to limit in-person instruction during the first four weeks of the school year. The guidance states that schools can continue to limit in-person instruction for an additional four weeks if the school board votes to do so. Under the original guidelines released on July 7, that transition period had been limited to three weeks. The guidelines state that schools can continue to limit in-person instruction for an additional four weeks if the school board votes to do so.

When the original guidelines were released, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said, “Both as Commissioner and as a public school parent, my number one priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff. That is why the guidance laid out today will provide flexibility to both parents and districts to make decisions based on the ever-changing conditions of this public health crisis. The state is and remains committed to providing a high-quality education to all Texas students, while ensuring the health and safety of students, teachers, staff, and families.”

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) first ordered schools to close on March 20. He extended the closure on March 31 and ordered schools to stay closed to in-person instruction for the remainder of the year on April 17.

Texas does not have a statewide date for public schools to reopen. According to EdWeek, the school year typically starts in August, with the exact date varying by district.

Context

Texas is a Republican trifecta. The governor is a Republican, and Republicans hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Texas public school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (16-17) $12,051 33
Number of students (18-19) 5,433,471 2
Number of teachers (Fall 2016) 352,809 1
Number of public schools (18-19) 9,423 2
Student:teacher ratio (18-19) 15.1 22
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (16-17) 59 9
Texas public school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue 56,127,791 3
Percent from federal revenue sources 10.8 15
Percent from state revenue sources 40.6 38
Percent from state revenue sources 48.6 16

Details

District reopening plans

Schools are required to develop and publicly post a plan for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 based on the guidance developed in the Texas Education Agency’s framework. The plans must be posted on the system website at least a week before the start of on-campus activities and instruction.

Schools are not required to submit the plans to the TEA or any other government agency.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

The latest guidance says that schools may limit in-person instruction at the beginning of the school year for up to four weeks. During that time, most students can engage in distance learning. Schools must provide in-person instruction to students who do not have access to the internet or computers.

Schools can delay returning most students to physical classrooms for an additional eight weeks with the permission of the local school board.

The guidance allows parents to decide if their children will learn remotely or on-campus and provides them with the option of transitioning between one form of instruction or the other at different points during the school year. The Texas Education Code requires that students attend 90% of the days a course is offered to earn credit, but this requirement can be satisfied through virtual instruction.

Mask requirements

Students, teachers, staff, and visitors, must follow Gov. Abbot’s July 2 executive order mandating face coverings in indoor and outdoor areas in counties with 20 or more coronavirus cases.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The guidance provides a list of recommendations for reducing the spread of the virus when students are on-campus. The list includes some of the following:

  • In classroom spaces that allow it, consider placing student desks a minimum of six feet apart when possible.
  • In classrooms where students are regularly within six feet of one another, schools should plan for more frequent hand washing and/or hand sanitizing and should consider whether increased airflow from the outdoors is possible.
  • When feasible and appropriate (for example, in physical education classes as weather permits), it is preferable for students to gather outside, rather than inside, because of likely reduced risk of virus spread outdoors.
  • Campuses must plan for entry, exit, and transition procedures that reduce large group gatherings (of students and/or adults) in close proximity. Consider staggering school start and end times, assigning students to entries to ensure even distribution of students entering/exiting at each door, providing guidance to students to enter one at a time and wait six feet apart outside the entrance, and, where appropriate, encouraging parents to remain outside during drop-off and pick-up.
  • Consider adding dividers between bathroom sinks, especially when students cannot be at least six feet apart while using the sinks.

Transportation and busing requirements and restrictions

The guidance includes the following transportation recommendations:

  • School systems should consider requiring students and staff to use hand sanitizer upon boarding the bus.
  • When possible, schools should open windows to allow outside air to circulate in the bus.
  • School systems should encourage families to drop students off, carpool, or walk with their student to school to reduce possible virus exposure on buses.
  • Buses should be thoroughly cleaned after each bus trip, focusing on high-touch surfaces such as bus seats, steering wheels, knobs, and door handles. During cleaning, open windows to allow for additional ventilation and air flow.

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, as well as influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • The Clark County School Board in Nevada unanimously voted to begin the 2020-2021 school year with full-time remote learning. The board will revisit the decision at least once every 30 days based on information from health officials.
  • On July 16, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) filed suit in Sangamon County Circuit Court against three schools that announced their refusal to comply with mandatory COVID-19 health and safety protocols for students and faculty returning to the classroom in the fall. At issue are Executive Order 2020-05, which closed schools across the state, and Executive Orders 2020-40 and 2020-44, which allow schools to resume in-person instruction subject to public health directives issued by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). IDPH and ISBE guidance says that public and nonpublic schools must implement certain health and safety measures before reopening. This includes a requirement that individuals in school facilities wear face coverings. The preemptive suit comes after the defendants, a public school district and two private schools, informed the state that they would not abide by the guidance, arguing that it “is unlawful, is arbitrary and unreasonable, and was issued without legal authority.” Pritzker countered in his complaint that the Illinois Constitution and the Emergency Management Act provide him emergency powers during disasters, and thus form a legal basis for his school guidance. Pritzker’s suit seeks a judicial declaration confirming the legality of his executive orders and the reopening guidance, as well as injunctive relief requiring that the three schools cease their refusal to comply with the orders and guidance.
  • Orangeburg County Circuit Court Judge Edgar Dickson temporarily blocked South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) from using federal coronavirus funds for private and religious school vouchers.


Trump raises $20 million during virtual fundraiser

July 22, 2020: Donald Trump raised $20 million during the campaign’s first virtual fundraiser. Joe Biden launched a $15 million advertising campaign across six battleground states.


Facebook Spending, July 13-19, 2020



Notable Quote of the Day

“Most concerning are the deep fakes that could occur around the 2020 presidential campaign and election, particularly as voting patterns shift due to COVID restrictions. Messages about polling places, voting methods (mail-in, etc.) and whom to vote for are already ripe for disinformation campaigns from our adversaries looking to sew chaos. But imagine a deep fake campaign in which the voices Americans trust – governors, state officials, prominent community leaders, faith leaders, veteran journalists – are hijacked and swapped out for alternative messages. A campaign to trick voters into casting their ballots incorrectly – or at the wrong place or time – could disenfranchise large numbers of Americans.”

– Jeremy Bash, managing director at Beacon Global Strategies, and Michael Steed, founder of Paladin Capital Group


Election Updates

  • Joe Biden said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was still in contention to be his running mate on Tuesday.
  • The Biden campaign launched a $15 million advertising campaign across digital, radio, and print in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The campaign, which includes English- and Spanish-language ads, will run for a week.
  • Biden hired new senior directors and 114 additional staff members in North Carolina, including Kate Hendrickson as state political director. Hendrickson previously worked as the North Carolina political director for Mike Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign.
  • Donald Trump raised $20 million from 300,000 donors during the campaign’s first virtual fundraiser. Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, the national chair of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, hosted the event.
  • The Trump campaign released a Spanish-language ad in the Miami media market focused on criticizing the Goya Foods boycott and comparing Biden to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
  • Newsweek interviewed Howie Hawkins and Jo Jorgensen in an article about Green and Libertarian inclusion in general election polls.
  • Kanye West filed to appear on the Illinois ballot as an independent presidential candidate on Monday.

What We’re Reading


Flashback: July 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton announced that she had chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate.

Click here to learn more.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 21, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Answer key questions about state school reopening plans.
  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

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. For our last edition, click here.

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced guidelines for hair salons, barbershops, and other personal care services. Those services are required to close indoor operations in counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list, but may continue operations outdoors with customers and staff wearing masks at all times.
  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): The Colorado Department of Education released guidance for reopening public schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The guidelines contain separate criteria for elementary schools and secondary schools. Decisions about school start dates and remote learning would be left to local districts.
  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): At a press conference, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey requested Georgia residents wear a mask in public or when social distancing inside is not possible. Georgia is one of 20 states with a Republican governor to not have a face mask mandate.
  • Kansas (divided government): Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed an executive order delaying the start of the public school year until Sept. 9 and requiring students, faculty, and visitors to wear face coverings in school buildings.
  • Kentucky (divided government): Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced he was limiting social gatherings to 10 people. The state had permitted social gatherings of up to 50 people since the end of June.
  • Maryland (Divided government): Health officers in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore City sent a letter to Maryland Deputy Secretary of Health Fran Phillips asking the state to roll back some of its reopenings. The letter focused on reducing gathering sizes, mandating face coverings for indoor and outdoor activities, and closing indoor service at restaurants and bars.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): The Loup Basin Public Health Department became the first public health district in the state to proceed to Phase Four of reopening. Phase Four removes the capacity limits on bars, restaurants, and childcare facilities. Outdoor venues can operate at 100% capacity, while indoor venues can operate at 75% capacity.

Tracking industries: Indoor gathering limits

All 50 states are reopening in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: what is the indoor gathering size limit in each state?

We last looked at indoor gathering size limits in the July 14th edition of the newsletter. Since then, the following changes took place:

  • Kentucky’s limit decreased from 50 people to 10.
  • Washington’s limit for counties in Phase Three decreased from 50 people to 10. The limit for counties in Phase Two did not change.
  • West Virginia’s limit decreased from 100 people to 25.

The following is an overview of gathering limits by state:

  • Fifteen states have no statewide indoor gathering size limit. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and three have Democratic governors.
    • On July 14, 15 states had no limit.
  • Thirteen states have a limit between 1 and 25. Nine of those states have Democratic governors and four of those states have Republican governors.
    • On July 14, 11 states had a limit between 1 and 25.
  • Fourteen states have a limit between 26 and 50. Nine of those states have Democratic governors and five of those states have Republican governors.
    • On July 14, 17 states had a limit between 26 and 50.
  • Two states (New Jersey and Vermont) have a limit between 51 and 100. New Jersey has a Democratic governor and Vermont has a Republican governor.
    • On July 14, one state had a limit between 51 and 100.
  • Six states have limits greater than 100. Four of those states have Republican governors and two of those states have Democratic governors.
    • On July 14, six states had limits greater than 100.
This is an in-depth summary of two state plans to reopen public K-12 schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Reopening Pre-K to 12 Schools in Pennsylvania

On June 3, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released preliminary guidance to assist schools in reopening for the 2020-2021 school year. The guidance applied to school districts, charter schools, regional charter schools, cyber charter schools, career and technical centers, and intermediate units. It was informed by Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) phased, color-coded reopening plan. On July 16, the Department of Education released updated guidance.

In a press release announcing the updated guidance, Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said, “The health and safety of students, teachers and staff must be paramount as schools prepare for the upcoming school year. The Department of Education has been focused on supporting schools with resources and best practices to help school leaders make informed decisions within their local contexts and in response to evolving conditions.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Education must approve district plans to reopen. Direct governing bodies (like school districts) must approve individual school plans to reopen.

On March 13, Wolf first ordered schools to close on March 16. He extended the closure on March 23 and again on March 30, before announcing on April 9 that students would not return to physical classrooms for the remainder of the academic year.

Pennsylvania does not have a statewide date for public schools to reopen. According to EdWeek, school districts in Pennsylvania traditionally select the start of the academic year, which can vary from late August to early September.

Context

Pennsylvania has a divided state government. Democrats hold the governorship, while Republicans have majorities in the House and Senate.

Pennsylvania public school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (16-17) $17,810 9
# of students (18-19) 1,710,571 7
# of teachers (Fall 2016) 122,552 6
# of public schools (18-19) 2,973 8
Student:teacher ratio (18-19) 14 36
% qualifying for free/reduced lunch (16-17) 47.5 26
Pennsylvania public school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue 28,983,071 4
Federal revenue % 6.9 40
State revenue % 37.1 44
Local revenue % 55.9 5

Details

District and school reopening plans

Before resuming in-person instruction, all local education agencies in Pennsylvania must submit a Health and Safety Plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. All plans must follow Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine’s July 1 order mandating universal face coverings.

Similarly, individual schools must also develop Health and Safety Plans before returning students to physical classrooms. A school’s governing body must approve the individual plan, and it must be made available to the public online. The plans should consider how schools can pivot to remote learning when necessary with minimal disruption to student learning.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

The Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan Template that schools and Local Education Agencies must fill out includes four options for reopening. Schools can determine which options to adopt based on local conditions and the county’s current designation under the state’s reopening plan:

  • Total reopen for all students and staff (but some students/families opt for distance learning out of safety/health concern).
  • Scaffolded reopening: Some students are engaged in in-person learning, while others use distance learning (i.e., some grade levels in-person, other grade levels remote learning).
  • Blended reopening that balances in-person learning and remote learning for all students (i.e., alternating days or weeks).
  • Total remote learning for all students. (Plan should reflect future action steps to be implemented and conditions that would prompt the decision as to when schools will re-open for in-person learning).

Mask requirements

On July 1, Health Secretary Rachel Levine issued an order requiring individuals to wear face coverings outside of the home, including on school property. The order applies to all individuals aged two and above.

All students, staff, and visitors are required to wear a face covering while on school property. Details include:

  • Individuals must wear a face covering (mask or face shield) unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school.
  • Teach and reinforce use of face coverings among all staff.
  • Face coverings may be removed to eat or drink during breaks and lunch periods; however, at those times, social distancing must be practiced.
  • Staff are not required to wear a face covering in situations where wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition to operate equipment or execute a task.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The guidance calls for all schools to implement social distancing strategies for adult and staff interactions, as well as for students in hallways and classrooms.

For adult and staff interactions, the guidance calls for some of the following:

  • Hold group meetings such as parent-teacher conferences, staff meetings, and curriculum planning virtually.
  • Implement strategies to increase adult-adult physical distance in time and space, such as staggered drop-offs and pickups, and outside drop-offs and pickups when weather allows. Discourage parents from entering the school building.
  • Use physical barriers, such as plexiglass, in reception areas and employee workspaces where the environment does not accommodate physical distancing.

When students are in classrooms, the guidance calls for students to be seated at least six feet apart and facing the same direction. Additionally, the guidance recommends holding classes in gyms, auditoriums, or outdoors, where physical distancing can be maintained, when possible.

The guidance recommends the following for hallways:

  • Create one-way traffic pattern in hallways.
  • Place physical guides, such as tape, on floors or sidewalks to create one-way routes.
  • Stagger class times to limit numbers of students in hallways at any time.
  • Assign lockers by cohort or eliminate lockers altogether.
  • When feasible, keep students in the classroom and rotate teachers instead.

The guidance recommends some of the following for meals and cafeterias:

  • The best option is to serve individual meals and have students eat in classrooms or other spaces as an alternative to the cafeteria.
  • If meals are served in a cafeteria setting, sit students at least 6 feet apart and have students wear face coverings when walking to and from the cafeteria as well as when getting their food.
  • Seat students in staggered arrangements to avoid “across-the-table” seating.
  • Have students eat in cohorts.
  • Utilize outdoor space, when possible.

For outdoor playground spaces, the guidance recommends students be grouped within a cohort, and that the size of groups should be limited at any one time. Students and staff should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after playground use.

Transportation and busing requirements and restrictions

The following guidance is included for transportation and busing. This is not a complete list.

  • Require students and parents/guardians/caregivers to perform a symptom screening prior to arriving at school or the bus stop each day.
  • Bus drivers and passengers must wear face coverings while on the bus, in accordance with the Secretary of Health’s Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings issued July 1, 2020.
  • Promote social distancing at bus stops. Consider adding more bus stops to minimize the number of students waiting together.
  • Load the bus by filling seats from back to front to limit students walking past students to find a seat.
  • Assign seats by cohort (same students sit together each day) or encourage students from the same family to sit together, or both.
  • Disinfect buses after each run. Thoroughly clean and disinfect buses daily.

Nevada’s Path Forward

The Nevada Department of Education released school reopening guidance on June 9. According to the plan’s introduction, “This document is designed to help districts and schools make community-based decisions regarding the re-opening of school buildings and builds on their unique strengths to address local challenges. We hope the Framework will serve as a starting point for conversations. It is not formal guidance or a directive. While we hope that the Framework will be a valuable resource, districts and schools may apply the concepts and guidelines of the Framework at their discretion and as relevant to local circumstances.”

On the day the Department of Education released the guidance, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) issued a directive requiring school districts, charter schools, and private schools to develop individualized reopening plans. The plans must be made public and approved by a district or school’s governing body at least 20 days before the 2020-2021 school year begins.

On March 15, Gov. Sisolak closed public schools through April 6. The state extended the closure on March 21 and again on April 1. Sisolak ended the public school year on April 22.

Nevada does not have a statewide date for schools to reopen, but they have been allowed to reopen since June 10. According to EdWeek, public schools in Nevada traditionally start the academic year between mid- and late August, with the exact start date varying by district.

The plan encourages decision-makers to refer to the CDC’s school reopening decision tree in assessing whether or not they should resume in-person operations.

Context

Nevada is a Democratic trifecta. The governor is a Democrat, and Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The state became a Democratic trifecta in 2019.

The following tables show public education statistics in Nevada, including a rank comparing it to the other 49 states. Rank one is the highest number of each figure, rank 50 is the lowest. All data comes from the Common Core of Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Nevada public school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $10,528 43
Number of students (’18-’19) 498,614 32
Number of teachers (’16-17) 23,705 35
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 745 39
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 21.5 13
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 60.8% 8
Nevada public school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $4,522,125,000 35
Percent from federal sources 9.2% 23
Percent from state sources 35.9% 45
Percent from local sources 54.9% 7

Details

District reopening plans

Districts, character schools, and private schools are required to develop their own specific reopening plans. The plans have to be publicly available and approved by the body governing the district or school at least 20 days before the school year begins.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

The plan recommends schools reopen using a hybrid schedule that incorporates online and in-person learning. However, the plan suggests local schools and boards work with local health authorities to develop an appropriate schedule using the online and in-person resources at their disposal.

Mask requirements

The guidance recommends that schools require students and faculty to wear masks whenever feasible. The document says mask-wearing is especially important when social distancing cannot be maintained.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The reopening plan recommends schools develop answers to the following questions to ensure general in-person operations resume safely:

  • Who will be responsible for overall maintenance during daily operations?
  • How will you determine if external entities will be allowed to use outdoor facilities, fields, playgrounds, etc. (e.g., teams, clubs, and other groups within the school community)?
  • Will all students and staff be brought back at one time or gradually starting with a small group before expanding?
  • What data will be used and who will be involved/consulted in the decision-making?
  • How do you ensure buildings and facilities are cleaned and ready to welcome students?
  • Who is responsible for adjustments to HVAC systems to maximize indoor air quality, and at what intervals will verifications be needed?
  • What steps will be taken to ensure that all water systems and features are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water?
  • Are there any parts of your campus that you need to close to students in the interest of health and safety (e.g., playgrounds)?
  • How will the following considerations be examined and resolved?
    • Not enough classroom space for social distancing (i.e. desks to be 6-feet apart)
    • Closing or limited use of cafeterias and playgrounds
    • Extended time for the use of facilities
    • Teachers rotate rather than students to reduce corridor/hallway traffic
    • Playgrounds and field usage – cleaning standards
    • Building systems and equipment cleaning standards

Transportation and busing requirements and restrictions

Nevada’s reopening plan suggested schools and boards answer the following questions regarding busing and transportation:

  • How will you determine the usage of bus transportation based on the district/school facility usage plan, school schedules, school calendar, and the number of buses and/or drivers that a school district has available? …
  • What process will you use to review the capacity of the bus fleet as capacity may be severely decreased with physical/social distancing? …
  • What type of training will school bus drivers need before transporting students? How will drivers be informed about new policies and procedures, including how to effectively and efficiently clean their buses? …
  • Who has the responsibility to ensure that buses have the markings and signage necessary to ensure physical distancing?
  • How will you ensure the safety of school bus drivers who cannot be 6 feet away from passengers as they board and disembark the bus? If funding is available, consider installing plastic barriers to provide extra protection for the driver from the students.
  • How will you determine and implement guidelines for the transportation of students who are at higher risk of exposure and/or transmission of an illness?
  • How will the district or school communicate screening concerns (i.e. a student was screened at school and exhibited symptoms) to drivers and transportation aides?
  • Consider providing PPE to be used by the drivers and transportation aides and promote student use of cloth face coverings.
  • Will you require students and staff to use hand sanitizer upon boarding the bus?

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, as well as influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) added Kansas to the list of states from which travelers must quarantine for two weeks. There are now 18 states on the city’s mandatory quarantine list.
  • On July 16, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and members of the Atlanta City Council, seeking to have the Superior Court of Fulton County invalidate and prohibit enforcement of local orders related to COVID-19. The local orders mandate that people wear face coverings inside all businesses and restrict the number of individuals who can congregate on city property, exceeding current state requirements. Kemp’s complaint argues Atlanta “may only exercise the powers delegated to it by the state, and Mayor Bottoms’ attempts to exercise an undelegated power against the state are” beyond her legal authority. Kemp also claims Georgia law provides him “the power to suspend municipal orders that are contradictory to any state law or to his executive orders.” Kemp has asked the court to invalidate the orders and prohibit Bottoms from making press statements indicating she has the authority to impose measures beyond those ordered by the governor. Bottoms responded to the suit on Twitter: “3104 Georgians have died and I and my family are amongst the 106k who have tested positive for COVID-19,” adding that “[a] better use of taxpayer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing.” The case was originally assigned to Judge Kelly Lee Ellerbe, who later recused herself and canceled a hearing scheduled for the morning of July 21.


Trump campaign spends $50 million in June, Biden $37 million

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
July 21, 2020: The Trump campaign spent $50 million in June, which was roughly twice its expenditures in May. Republican John Kasich is expected to speak at the Democratic National Convention.


Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (Gravis Marketing • South Carolina • July 17, 2020)


Presidential poll highlights, 2019-2020 (Monmouth University • Pennsylvania • July 9-13, 2020)

Notable Quote of the Day

“Joe Biden’s campaign is walking an environmental tightrope in Pennsylvania, aiming to balance his new, aggressive climate plan with reassurances that he won’t seek to gut the fracking industry that has turned the state’s natural gas riches into an economic engine.

Pennsylvania is among the handful of states that Biden needs to win to defeat President Donald Trump, and it has tilted toward the presumptive Democratic nominee as criticism of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has mounted. At the same time, Biden has adopted more of the environmental goals pushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and others in the party’s progressive wing, raising the risks that he could alienate the blue collar workers who operate the wells and pipelines that move the gas from the Marcellus Shale in the Keystone State.”

– Zack Colman, Politico

Election Updates

  • Joe Biden will introduce the third plank of his “Build Back Better” program during a speech in New Castle, Delaware, on Tuesday. The proposal, which focuses on what Biden calls the caregiving economy, would offer a $5,000 tax credit to unpaid caregivers of family members and up to $16,000 in tax credits for families with two or more children in households that make up to $125,000 per year.

  • In an interview on MSNBC, Biden said four Black women were still in contention to be the Democratic vice presidential nominee. He did not name them or commit to selecting a Black woman as his running mate.

  • Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is expected to speak at the Democratic National Convention, according to a report from the Associated Press.

  • The Donald Trump campaign announced three new senior hires on Monday: Justin Clark as deputy campaign manager, Nick Trainer as director of battleground strategy, and Matt Morgan as campaign counsel.

  • The Trump campaign spent $50 million in June, which was roughly twice its expenditures in May. The majority of that spending—$41 million—went to advertising. Biden spent $37 million in June. Both campaigns ended the month with approximately $110 million in cash on hand each.

  • Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said his department could not provide adequate security for the Republican National Convention given current plans and the potential for protests. He said, “Where we are today is we can’t support this plan. … There’s got to be some major re-working of what’s happening.”

  • Howie Hawkins and his running mate Angela Walker are holding a livestream on multiple digital platforms on Tuesday night.

Flashback: July 21, 2016

The Republican National Convention concluded with a speech from Donald Trump.blank

Click here to learn more.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 20, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Answer key questions about state school reopening plans.
  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened Thursday? 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. For our last edition, click here.

  • California (Democratic trifecta): On July 17, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list would begin the school year with online education only. As of July 20, 33 of the state’s 58 counties were on the watch list, which is based on new infections per capita, test positivity rate, and hospitalization rate.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On July 17, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) ordered that students spend at least half of their schooling time in-person. She said districts could seek waivers to the requirement from the state Department of Education. Des Moines, the state’s largest district, had previously announced one day of in-person instruction for students each week.
  • Michigan (divided government): On July 17, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued an executive order that adds to and clarifies an earlier order requiring face coverings in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces. The new order requires public safety officers to wear masks unless doing so would interfere with their responsibilities and says businesses may ask, but cannot assume, if unmasked customers cannot medically tolerate a face covering. Businesses can accept a verbal affirmation from customers, however.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves (R) extended the state’s Safe Return and mask requirement executive orders. Reeves added 10 additional counties to the original 13 with the mask requirement.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): New York City became the final region in the state to enter the fourth phase of reopening. In Phase IV, outdoor entertainment that the state classifies as low-risk can open at 33% capacity, outdoor sports can resume without spectators, and media production activities are permitted. New York City’s Phase IV does not allow increased indoor activity or allow malls and museums to reopen.
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced sports the state classified as high-risk can begin reopening if they take place at outdoor venues. Murphy also said the state’s public school reopening plan will permit parents to opt their children into a fully online learning schedule.
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Raymond Romero issued a 10-day injunction allowing restaurants and breweries to reopen for indoor dining at 50% capacity. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) previously issued an executive order rolling back indoor dining effective July 13 after it was initially allowed to reopen on June 1. The New Mexico Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit in response to the Governor’s re-closure. Another hearing is scheduled for July 30 to determine if restaurants will be permitted to stay open after the 10-day injunction expires.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): In an open letter to religious private schools dated July 17, Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) wrote that such entities are exempt from local orders closing or restricting school operations. According to Paxton, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has said that private schools are not bound by orders that apply to public schools. Additionally, on July 17, the Texas Education Agency extended the time local school districts can keep schools closed and teach students remotely without losing funding. According to the new rules, districts can teach students remotely for up to eight weeks from the start of the school year, so long as the local school board votes on the matter after four weeks.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): On July 17, the Utah Department of Health issued an order mandating the use of face coverings in all public and private K-12 schools. The order includes exemptions related to eating and drinking and medical conditions.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jay Inslee (D) reduced the limit on gatherings in counties in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan from 50 people to 10, effective July 20. Inslee also issued a statewide ban on live music, including drive-in concerts and music in restaurants.

Tracking industries: Face coverings

All 50 states are reopening in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states must you wear a face covering in public?

We last looked at face coverings in the July 13th edition of the newsletter. Since then, Alabama, Arkansas, and Colorado have instituted statewide face-covering requirements.

This is an in-depth summary of two state plans to reopen public K-12 schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

New Mexico’s Reentry Guidance

The New Mexico Public Education Department released phased school reopening guidance on June 23. According to the plan, “A phased entry approach will allow the state to collect and analyze data on the impact of a controlled start on the spread of the virus. This information will be essential to ensure that the state is able to move toward the goal of returning all children to a full school schedule as soon as it can be safely accomplished.”

The guidance permits schools to open on a hybrid schedule that allows public schools to comply with social distancing and other requirements as early as Aug. 3. School districts are allowed to set their own reopening dates. According to EdWeek, public schools in New Mexico traditionally start the academic year between early and mid-August, with the exact start date varying by district.

On March 12, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) closed public schools through April 5, effective March 16. Lujan Grisham ended the public school year on March 27.

Context

New Mexico is a Democratic trifecta. The governor is a Democrat, and Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The state became a Democratic trifecta in 2018.

The following tables show public education statistics in New Mexico, including a rank comparing it to the other 49 states. Rank one is the highest number of each figure, rank 50 is the lowest. All data comes from the Common Core of Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

New Mexico school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $11,602 35
Number of students (’18-’19) 333,536 36
Number of teachers (’16-17) 21,331 37
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 883 36
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 15.8 18
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 71.4% 2
New Mexico school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $3,986,781,000 37
Percent from federal sources 14.0% 4
Percent from state sources 69.5% 3
Percent from local sources 16.5% 48

Details

District reopening plans

School districts are not required to develop individualized reopening plans or submit plans to the state. Districts and schools must comply with the state’s eight minimum reopening requirements.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

New Mexico’s reopening plan contains a red phase, yellow phase, and green phase. State health officials are responsible for determining what phase is appropriate based on regional and statewide data.

In the red phase, most instruction would be conducted remotely, though schools may make exceptions for small groups of K-3 students. New Mexico public schools are starting the year in the yellow phase of reentry, which uses a hybrid schedule to limit classrooms to 50% capacity and ensure six-foot social distancing can be kept at all times. In the green phase, schools can reopen at full capacity, five days per week, with heightened sanitation and hygiene standards.

Mask requirements

Masks are required for students and faculty except when they are eating, drinking, or exercising.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

New Mexico’s reopening plan contains the following guidance for schools in the yellow phase of reopening to limit community spread:

  • Operate with at least six feet of social distancing at all times.
  • Establish and maintain communication with local and state DOH health officials.
  • Participate in contact tracing efforts and specimen collection efforts as directed by local health officials.
  • Post signage in classrooms, hallways, and entrances to communicate how to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Screen all students for COVID-19 symptoms to the greatest extent feasible. Consider temperature screenings or daily health check questionnaires for students and staff if feasible.
  • Educate parents to be on the alert for signs of illness in their children and to keep the children home when they are sick.
  • Establish a protocol for students/staff who feel ill/ experience symptoms when they come to school (see When a Child, Staff Member, or Visitor Becomes Sick at School).
  • Isolate and deep clean impacted classrooms and spaces.
  • Consider ways to accommodate needs of children, teachers/staff, and families at higher risk for severe illness.

In the green phase, the following guidance applies:

  • Practice social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • Establish and maintain communication with local and state DOH health officials.
  • Participate in contact tracing efforts and specimen collection efforts as directed by local health officials.
  • Post signage in classrooms, hallways, and entrances to communicate how to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Establish a protocol for students/staff who feel ill/experience symptoms when they come to school (see When a Child, Staff Member, or Visitor Becomes Sick at School).
  • Consider ways to accommodate needs of children, teachers/staff, and families at higher risk for severe illness.

Transportation and busing requirements and restrictions

New Mexico’s public school reopening plan contains the following guidance for transporting students to and from school and activities:

  • While transporting students to and from schools, require students to sit in spaced and assigned seating according to the following:
    • A maximum of two students may sit together on a bus seat.
    • Schools in the yellow category should take all reasonable steps to limit bus seats to one student to the best of their ability, including encouraging parents to drive their children if possible, staggering bus routes, and expanding the minimum radius of eligibility for bus services.
  • Assign bus attendants or other additional staff to support with safety and screening of students to the extent possible.
  • Provide hand sanitizer for students, bus drivers and bus attendants.
  • Provide face masks or face shields for bus drivers and bus attendants.
  • Require bus drivers, bus attendants, and students to wear face masks or face shields.
  • Screen students, bus drivers and bus attendants for symptoms of illness. Conducting temperature checks on students before they get on the bus is recommended but not required.
  • Eliminate field trips and non-essential travel except travel conducted under NMAA guidelines for sports and extra-curricular activities.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on the bus at least daily. It is suggested to install plastic wrap/membrane on high touch surfaces such as handrails that will be changed daily.
  • Establish protocols for bus stops and loading/unloading students to minimize congregation of children from different households.
  • Air out buses when not in use.
  • Restrict group transportation including carpooling.

Oregon’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners

The Oregon Department of Education released school reopening guidance on June 10. The document contains recommendations for schools, which are responsible for creating individual reopening plans. Each public and private school must submit an Operational Blueprint for Reentry to their local public health authority.

On March 12, Gov. Kate Brown (D) closed public schools from March 16 through March 31. On March 17, Brown extended the closure through April 28. Brown closed schools for the remainder of the academic year on April 8.

Oregon does not have a statewide date for schools to reopen. According to EdWeek, public schools in Oregon traditionally start the academic year from late August to early September, with the exact date varying by district.

Context

Oregon school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $13,355 24
Number of students (’18-’19) 573,584 29
Number of teachers (’16-17) 29,756 33
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 1,257 30
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 20.2 5
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 50.50% 19
Oregon school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $7,077,486,000 28
Percent from federal sources 8.0% 33
Percent from state sources 52.0% 21
Percent from local sources 40.0% 26

Details

District reopening plans

Each individual school is responsible for submitting an Operational Blueprint for Reentry to their local public health authority. The health authority must approve the plan before a school can reopen. Reopening plans must be made available online by Aug. 15.

On June 10, Department of Education Director Colt Gill said, “We understand and honor the importance of local voice, leadership and control. These individual plans will reflect the distinct strengths and needs of each district and community.”

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

Each individual school will decide whether to use in-person teaching, online learning, or a hybrid model. Schools choosing to only offer online learning must explain why they are not offering in-person teaching or hybrid learning.

Mask requirements

Face coverings are required for staff who are regularly within six feet of students or staff, bus drivers, staff preparing or serving meals, front office staff, and school nurses when providing direct contact care. All adult visitors are also required to wear face coverings.

Face coverings are recommended for all staff (based on local public health and CDC guidelines) and students in 6th-12th grade.

Conditions under which children should not wear a face covering are:

  • If they have a medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe through a face covering
  • If they have a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering
  • If they are unable to remove the face covering independently
  • If they are sleeping.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The plan suggests that schools develop plans that incorporate the following recommendations:

  • Limiting the number of classroom transitions throughout the day
  • Create hallway procedures to promote physical distancing and limit gatherings
  • Cancel, modify, or postpone field trips, assemblies, athletic events, and other large gatherings to meet physical distancing requirements
  • Modify after school programs to meet physical distancing requirements
  • Create staggered arrival and/or dismissal schedules
  • Assign students or cohorts to specific school entrances and exits
  • Only allow one cohort to use playgrounds at a time and disinfect the area between uses
  • Stagger meal times and determine alternate locations for eating meals.

Transportation and busing requirements and restrictions

The plan offers the following suggestions for transportation:

  • Bus drivers are required to wear face coverings. Only students displaying symptoms are required to wear a face covering. Students with symptoms are required to stay six feet away from others but should be transported to school and isolated.
  • There must be at least three feet of physical space between passengers. When possible, there should be at least six feet between the driver and passengers.
  • Make routing adjustments and adjust bell times to account for reduced capacity due to physical distancing guidelines.

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova announced the district would not have in-person classes to begin the school year, which will also be delayed from Aug. 17 to Aug. 24. Cordova said the district would consider a gradual return to in-person learning after Labor Day.
  • Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Aleesia Johnson announced the district would delay its start date two weeks from Aug. 3 to Aug. 17. Johnson said the delay would give the district two additional weeks of information to make sure that reopening is the right decision.
  • A mask mandate in Lincoln, Nebraska, took effect on July 20. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) said state lawyers would analyze the situation and determine whether Mayor Gaylor Baird has the authority to issue the mask mandate.
  • In an appearance on CNN, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said the city reopened too quickly and it may shut down again. Garcetti said the city’s increase in coronavirus metrics were due both to businesses reopening and also to individuals being less vigilant about following public health guidelines.
  • The Smithsonian Institution announced that the National Zoo will reopen on July 24. Animal houses, indoor exhibits, and shops are expected to remain closed, while outdoor souvenir sales kiosks and food and drink vendors will be open.
  • Somerville, Massachusetts, Mayor Joseph Curtatone announced the city would begin Phase 3 of reopening on Aug. 3. The city was scheduled to enter the phase on July 20—two weeks after the rest of the state entered Phase 3 on July 6.
  • On July 14, Chief Judge Thomas Rice of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington refused to prohibit enforcement of Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) emergency COVID-19 business restrictions. A waterpark, Slidewaters at Lake Chelan, which had been forced to shutter summer operations as a result of the restrictions, sought the injunction. In its initial motion for a temporary restraining order, the waterpark challenged the following:
    • Inslee’s Proclamation 20-05, which declared a state of emergency for all counties in Washington;
    • Proclamation 20-25.4, a four-phase plan for reopening the state; and
    • Department of Labor and Industries (LNI) emergency rule WAC 296-800-14035, which established mechanisms to enforce the mandatory business closures.
  • Though the temporary restraining order was denied on June 12, the plaintiff continued to seek a preliminary injunction, arguing, “(1) Governor Inslee does not have the authority to issue the emergency proclamations; (2) LNI does not have authority to issue an emergency rule based on the governor’s unlawful emergency proclamations; and (3) defendants’ actions have violated plaintiff’s substantive due process rights.”
  • Rice rejected these arguments, finding that Washington law allows a governor to proclaim a state of emergency during times of disorder. Rice also ruled that LNI acted within its power to issue emergency rules based on the governor’s proclamation. Lastly, Rice dismissed the plaintiff’s substantive due process claim: “It is not the court’s role to second-guess the reasoned public health decisions of other branches of government.” The plaintiff has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Rice is an appointee of Pres. Barack Obama (D).


Kanye West holds first campaign rally in South Carolina

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
July 20, 2020: Kanye West held his first campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina. Joe Biden issued a five-point plan to reopen schools.



Sabato’s Crystal Ball updated its race ratings on July 14, 2020:

  • Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Utah moved from Safe Republican to Likely Republican.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Put it all together, and Biden currently leads Trump by an average of 9.1 percentage points, according to the FiveThirtyEight national polling average, which isn’t all that different from Biden’s lead one week ago (9.6 points) or even one month ago (9.3 points). …

Simply put, since the protests against police violence appeared to erode Trump’s standing at the beginning of the summer, there hasn’t been a lot of action in the race. The campaign is not dominating the headlines, and Trump’s handling of the pandemic — which is dominating the headlines — hasn’t improved in Americans’ eyes. However, the party conventions start in one month, and we can probably expect the presidential campaign to command people’s attention between then and November, pandemic or no.

And, of course, developments in the coronavirus crisis — or some other breaking news story that we can’t predict yet, like a scandal — could cause voters to view the candidates in a different light. While Biden’s current lead is robust enough to withstand even a major polling error, there are still three and a half months left for the polling to change.”

– Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight

Election Updates

  • Joe Biden issued a five-point plan to reopen schools on Friday. He proposed the following policies: control the coronavirus by expanding contact tracing and increasing the supply of PPE, set national safety guidelines and empower local decision-making authority, authorize a $30 billion emergency education package, develop improved remote and hybrid learning models, and invite specialists from several education fields to identify solutions to the COVID-19 educational equity gap.

  • Biden spoke at the Florida Democrat’s Leadership Blue gala on Saturday through a virtual address from Delaware.

  • In an interview on Fox News SundayDonald Trump said he was prohibited from holding rallies in Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada. He said, “We’re not allowed to have rallies in these Democrat-run states. … I guarantee you, if everything was gone 100%, they still wouldn’t allow it.”

  • The Trump campaign began running ads on Facebook calling for TikTok to be banned and saying the app was spying on its users.

  • Trump held his first tele-rally on Friday, where he spoke to supporters through a telephone conference about the coronavirus pandemic, housing regulations, and Biden.

  • The Lincoln Project and Republican Voters Against Trump launched a joint campaign, called “Operation Grant,” to target conservative-leaning voters in Ohio. Both groups made six-figure ad buys for network and cable television spots across the Columbus, Akron, and Cincinnati markets.

  • Howie Hawkins spoke on public radio with WRVO on Saturday about his campaign’s appeal to progressives.

  • Jo Jorgensen campaigned in Washington over the weekend, including stops in Spokane and Seattle.

  • During his first campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday, Kanye West said expectant parents should receive up to $1 million in financial support. He also criticized Harriet Tubman, saying she “never actually freed the slaves. She just had the slaves go work for other white people.”

Flashback: July 20, 2016

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Click here to learn more.



Michigan Civil Service Commission approves union dues deduction rule change

Michigan Civil Service Commission approves rule change for deducting union dues from employee paychecks                 

On July 13, the Michigan Civil Service Commission voted 3-1 in favor of a rule change requiring unionized state employees to authorize union dues deductions from their paychecks on an annual basis. 

What is at issue?

Rule 6-7 of Michigan’s Civil Service Rules had allowed for the deduction of union dues from workers’ paychecks, subject to their consent. The rule did not establish an expiration date for dues deduction authorizations: 

“If agreed to in a collective bargaining agreement, the state may deduct the dues or service fee of a member of an exclusively represented bargaining unit through payroll deduction. An appointing authority cannot deduct membership dues or service fees unless the employee has made a voluntary authorization. The director shall establish the exclusive process for employees to authorize or deauthorize deduction of dues or fees.” 

Under the rule change which takes effect Sept. 1, workers must consent to dues deductions annually. If a worker does not authorize dues deductions between now and Sept. 1, dues deductions will be automatically cancelled. 

What is the Michigan Civil Service Commission, and how did the vote split? 

The Michigan Civil Service Commission is a state agency that regulates all conditions of employment for classified state employees. The governor appoints the commission’s four members to staggered eight-year terms. 

Gov. Rick Snyder (R) appointed all four current members of the commission. Three members – James Barrett, Jase Bolger, and Jeff Steffel – voted to approve the rule change. Commission chair Janet McClelland voted against it. Bolger and Barrett are registered with the Republican Party. Steffel and McClelland are registered independents.

What are the reactions? 

Support

  • Bolger said the rule change is a “protection of rights” for state employees: “I do not agree with claims that it impacts rights to collective bargaining. Instead, unions will be able to make their case, but I do believe it protects individual workers’ rights. Workers will remain free to make their choice.” 

Opposition

  • Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan affiliate of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), said, “This action has no other purpose than to impose arbitrary hardships on bargaining units, create turmoil in workplaces during a historic pandemic and a global recession, and disrupt the work that unions do on behalf of these state workers. It’s unconstitutional, it’s unsupported by any recent laws or court decisions, and it’s just plain wrong. They should be ashamed.

Relation to Janus v. AFSCME

  • Vincent Vernuccio, senior fellow for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, discussed the rule change in relation to the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. AFSCME: “In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the [Janus] decision that did two things, both of which are being updated for the rule change here. The first, it basically gave right to work for state employees throughout the country. The second, in what Justice [Samuel] Alito called ‘affirmative consent,’ it required an opt-in provision to protect the public employees’ First Amendment rights.”
  • Chuck Browning, director of the United Auto Workers Region 1A, disputed the application of Janus as a justification for the rule change: “As the court itself noted, ‘States can keep their labor relations systems exactly as they are.’ Only that they don’t have to force non-members to subsidize public sector unions. Janus, therefore, does not justify the proposed rule change.”

What we’ve been reading 

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 97 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s) 

Recent legislative actions

No legislative actions have been taken on relevant bills since our last issue.

 



Bill Stepien replaced Brad Parscale as Trump campaign manager

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
July 16, 2020: Donald Trump replaced Brad Parscale with Bill Stepien as campaign manager. Kanye West qualified to appear on the ballot in Oklahoma as an independent candidate.


Campaign Ad Comparison
Daily Presidential News Briefing campaign ad comparison feature, 2020 ("4 Hours" – Joe Biden)

Daily Presidential News Briefing campaign ad comparison feature, 2020 ("You Won't Be Safe" – Donald Trump)

Notable Quote of the Day

“Of course, the polls could be even further off this time than four years ago. But there are also many reasons to think they could be better this time around.

Perhaps most important, many pollsters now weight their sample to properly represent voters without a college degree. The failure of many state pollsters to do so in 2016 is widely considered one of the major reasons the polls underestimated Mr. Trump’s support. Voters without a four-year college degree are far less likely to respond to telephone surveys — and far likelier to support Mr. Trump. By our estimates, weighting by education might move the typical poll by as much as four points in Mr. Trump’s direction.”

– Nate Cohn, The New York Times

Election Updates

  • Joe Biden will join Virginia legislators and community leaders for a virtual roundtable discussion of his “Build Back Better” program on Friday.

  • NextGen America is launching four ads on digital platforms—including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vevo, and Hulu—to promote Biden to young voters. The group is spending $2 million on the campaign.

  • The National Association of Police Organizations, which backed Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, endorsed Donald Trump on Wednesday. The group did not make an endorsement in the 2016 presidential election.

  • Trump replaced former campaign manager Brad Parscale with Bill Stepien, who previously served as deputy campaign manager. Stepien was national director for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

  • Mike Pence is speaking at Ripon College and touring a dairy farm in Wisconsin on Friday. He last visited the state in June for an education roundtable in Waukesha County.

  • Jo Jorgensen wrote an op-ed in The Independent on Wednesday about libertarianism and neutrality in foreign policy.

  • Kanye West qualified to appear on the ballot in Oklahoma as an independent candidate, after a representative filed with the state and paid the $35,000 fee on Wednesday.

Flashback: July 16, 2016

Donald Trump announced Mike Pence as his running mate during a press conference in Manhattan.blank

Click here to learn more.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 16, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Answer key questions about state school reopening plans.
  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next three days

What is changing in the next three days?

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to announce updated guidance for reopening public schools on July 17.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced he will decide on July 17 if New York City will be able to enter Phase 4 of reopening starting July 20. Cuomo also announced requirements for bars and restaurants in New York City. Under the Three Strikes and You’re Closed initiative, the state will close restaurants and bars found to violate mask and social distancing requirements three times.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): School districts must submit draft reopening plans to the Department of Education by July 17.

Since our last edition

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

  • Alabama (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced a mandatory mask order effective at 5 p.m. on July 16. Face coverings are required in public when interacting within six feet with people of another household. The order has a penalty of $500 or jail time.
  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) issued a mask mandate effective at midnight on July 17. The order requires individuals older than 10 to wear a mask inside buildings that are open to the public.
  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued an order preventing local governments from issuing mask requirements. The action voided 15 previously implemented local orders in the state.
  • Arkansas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed an executive order requiring individuals to wear masks in public when social distancing is not possible. The order will take effect on July 20.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) released guidance for reopening public schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Districts will use the guidance to create reopening plans that account for in-person, hybrid, and distance learning models.
  • Kansas (divided government): Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced on July 16 that she will sign an executive order delaying the start of the public school year until Sept. 9 and requiring districts to use masks. The state board of education will need to approve Kelly’s decision to delay the start of school.
  • North Carolina (divided government): On July 14, the North Carolina Supreme Court granted Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) temporary request to suspend Senior Business Court Judge James Gale’s ruling that allowed bowling alleys across the state to reopen despite an executive order keeping them closed. Cooper closed bowling alleys, along with many other businesses and industries, in March. As part of the state’s reopening plan, some businesses have been allowed to reopen, including barbershops and restaurants. An association of bowling alleys filed the lawsuit against Cooper.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced new statewide restrictions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Effective June 16, bars and restaurants are no longer allowed to offer bar service, and alcoholic beverages are only available for take out or for sale with a dine-in meal at a table or booth. Occupancy limits in bars and restaurants are decreasing from 50% to 25%. The order also requires nightclubs to close, limits indoor gatherings to 25 people, and directs gyms to prioritize outdoor fitness activities (indoor operations are still allowed). The gathering limit restriction does not apply to religious institutions. Wolf’s administration also released a plan for reopening public schools. The guidance requires districts and charter schools to develop reopening plans for approval by the school’s governing body. Each plan must be posted on the school’s website before in-person operations resume.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced on Twitter that he was modifying the state’s color-coded reopening plan to allow school districts in parts of the state in the orange (moderate risk) phase to reopen. Currently, Salt Lake City is the only city in Utah in the orange phase. With the modification to the reopening, all school districts in Utah can reopen.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On July 15, Virginia became the first state to adopt mandatory workplace safety regulations related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry voted 9-2 to require employers to enforce social distancing and face coverings for public-facing employees.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): The Washington Legislature extended three proclamations at the behest of Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued in response to the coronavirus. The proclamations modified regulations related to shared work benefits, dental and pharmacy licensing, and in-person visits for foster care children. The proclamations were extended through Aug. 1.

Tracking industries: Nursing home visits

All 50 states are reopening in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states may you visit someone in a nursing home? This does not include end-of-life or other emergency-related visits. Visits limited to family members only, or that are only allowed outdoors, are counted as “visitors allowed” in the chart and map below.

We last looked at nursing home visitation in the July 8th edition of the newsletter. Since then, no new states have allowed or restricted visitation.

This is an in-depth summary of two state plans to reopen public K-12 schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Louisiana’s reopening plan

On July 14, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously approved Superintendent Cade Brumley’s proposed reopening guidelines. Brumley said that the guidelines were “minimum health and safety standards for every school in the state,” while allowing local districts to create their own specific plans.

On March 13, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) issued an executive order closing K-12 schools until April 13. On April 2, Edwards extended the closure through April 30. On April 13, Edwards made the closure effective for the remainder of the school year.

Louisiana does not have a statewide date for public schools to reopen. According to EdWeek, public schools in Louisiana traditionally start the school year in early August, with the exact start date varying by district.

Context

Louisiana has a divided government. The governor is a Democrat, and Republicans hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The state has had a divided government since 2016.

The following tables show public education statistics in Louisiana, including a rank comparing it to the other 49 states. Rank one is the highest number of each figure, rank 50 is the lowest. All data comes from the Common Core of Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Louisiana school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $12,542 31
Number of students (’18-’19) 711,235 25
Number of teachers (’16-17) 48,408 23
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 1,384 26
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 18.3 7
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 63.00% 5
Louisiana school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $8,927,289,000 24
Percent from federal sources 14.7% 3
Percent from state sources 43.4% 34
Percent from local sources 41.9% 25

Details

District reopening plans

Under the guidelines, school districts are responsible for creating their own reopening plans in accordance with the guidelines. Brumley said each district must submit its plan to the state for approval, but did not say whether the plans had to be posted publicly.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

Under the guidelines, school districts must decide whether students will learn face-to-face, remotely, or using a hybrid model. Individual students may be considered for remote or hybrid learning based on academic, social, emotional, familial, or medical needs.

Mask requirements

The guidelines state that adults and students in grades 3 through 12 must wear face coverings to the greatest extent possible.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The guidelines place a limit on the number of individuals who can gather in a single room or outdoors at one time depending on the state’s reopening phase. During Phase One, 10 individuals can meet at one time. That limit expands to 25 during Phase Two and 50 during Phase Three.

In a presentation on the guidelines, Brumley laid out how schools would respond to positive cases. If a school becomes aware of a presumptive case, the individual in question should not attend school until determined to be non-infectious by their doctor. School superintendents will be given authority, in consultation with the Office of Public Health, to determine whether a school must close if it becomes a coronavirus hotspot. Brumley said that one positive case did not mandate the closure of a classroom or school.

Transportation and bussing requirements and restrictions

As with meeting size limits, the guidelines determine bus capacity by the state’s reopening phase. During Phase One, buses may operate at 25% capacity. That capacity expands to 50% during Phase Two and 75% during Phase Three.

Considerations For Reopening Mississippi Schools

The Mississippi Department of Education released school reopening guidance on June 8. The document contains recommendations for schools, school districts, and school boards, which have the final say on reopening decisions. Department of Education representative Jean Cook said the plan is “intended to be used as a resource and starting point for districts to consider local needs in collaboration with stakeholders.”

On March 19, Gov. Tate Reeves (D) closed public schools until April 17. Reeves ended the public school year on April 21.

Mississippi does not have a statewide date for schools to reopen. According to EdWeek, public schools in Mississippi traditionally start the academic year in early August, with the exact date varying by district.

Context

Mississippi is a Republican trifecta. The governor is a Republican, and Republicans hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The state became a Republican trifecta in 2018.

The following tables show public education statistics in Mississippi, including a rank comparing it to the other 49 states. Rank one is the highest number of each figure, rank 50 is the lowest. All data comes from the Common Core of Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Mississippi school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $9,673 46
Number of students (’18-’19) 471,295 35
Number of teachers (’16-17) 31,924 32
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 1,055 34
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 14.8 29
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 75% 1
Mississippi school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $4,550,410,000 34
Percent from federal sources 14.8% 2
Percent from state sources 51.1% 23
Percent from local sources 34.1% 34

Details

District reopening plans

School districts are not required to develop individualized reopening plans or submit plans to the state. Districts and schools have full discretion in implementing the state’s recommendations.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

The school reopening plan allows districts to choose between an in-person, hybrid, and fully virtual learning schedule at their discretion. The state recommends districts consider the circumstances of their students, noting that schedules that integrate online work and attendance could cause problems for students in rural areas without consistent internet access.

Mask requirements

Mississippi’s plan does not require students or teachers to wear masks, but schools still must comply with state and local health orders. Schools are encouraged to contact the Department of Health before reopening to obtain mask-wearing guidance.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The plan suggests schools using an in-person schedule develop and implement the following general procedures:

  • Daily screening protocols
  • Transportation adjustments
  • Routine disinfectant protocols
  • Consider keeping students static and moving teachers to limit interactions and assist with contact tracing
  • Create plan for serving students and adjusting duties for staff who cannot return to the building due to health issues
  • Limit student movement and restrict gatherings in buildings to achieve social distancing guidelines

Transportation and bussing requirements and restrictions

The plan suggests considering the availability of bus capacity before committing to a specific schedule type (such as hybrid or fully in-person). For schools using buses for fully in-person and hybrid schedules, the plan recommends the following:

  • Develop a plan in the event a bus driver tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Develop a plan in the event a student bus rider tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Keep a list of students who ride each bus daily. If a student on the bus tests positive for COVID-19, notifications to the bus riders’ parents will be needed.
  • Develop a process and monitoring protocol for daily bus sanitation. If double routes are operated, buses will need to be cleaned in-between routes.
  • If you have a camera system on buses, keep it operating during the cleaning of the buses to document sanitization efforts.

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland announced it will remain fully remote through at least January. The district is the second-largest in Maryland and one of the 25 largest in the country.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 15, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Answer key questions about state school reopening plans.
  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

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. For our last edition, click here.

  • Tax Day, the deadline to submit 2019 tax returns and tax payments, is July 15. The federal government extended the traditional April 15 deadline in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced new criteria the state will use to determine if additional mitigation measures are necessary in a region. The indicators include a sustained increase in the 7-day rolling positivity rate average or an 8% or greater positivity rate sustained over three consecutive days.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced that the state would remain in Stage 4.5 of reopening for at least two more weeks. Stage 4.5 began on July 4 and the state was originally set to move to Stage 5 on July 17.
  • Kansas (divided government): The Kansas Board of Education voted 9-0 to approve guidelines for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Board members said that the guidelines were not mandates but were meant to help districts craft individual plans.
  • Louisiana (divided government): The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted unanimously to approve reopening guidelines proposed by Superintendent Cade Brumley. The guidelines include a requirement for all adults and students in grades 3 through 12 to wear face coverings.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): Casinos and museums reopened on July 13. The state requires face coverings and capacity limits in both.
  • Montana (divided government): Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced a statewide mask requirement, effective immediately. It requires individuals to wear masks inside certain businesses and at outdoor gatherings of greater than 50 people where social distancing is not possible.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): The state is expanding its face-covering mandate to require masks in outdoor public spaces when six-foot distancing cannot be maintained starting July 15.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): On July 14, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said that schools would be permitted to delay returning students to physical classrooms for longer than originally planned. Previously, state guidance said schools should offer three weeks of virtual instruction to start the year but could lose state funding if they did not return to in-person instruction after that period. Abbot said he would provide more information soon.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced on July 14 that no Washington counties would advance to the next phase of reopening until at least July 28. Inslee first paused reopening on June 29.

Tracking industries: Restaurants

All 50 states are reopening in some way. Here, we give the status of one industry or activity across the states. Today’s question: in which states may you dine in at a restaurant?

We last looked at restaurants in the June 10th edition of the newsletter. Since then, seven states (Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, and West Virginia) have allowed for indoor dining at restaurants. One state (New Jersey) moved from allowing no dine-in services to allowing outdoor dining. One state (California) moved from allowing indoor dining to allowing only outdoor dining.

This is an in-depth summary of two state plans to reopen public K-12 schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

Hawaii’s Return to Learn plan

The Hawaii Department of Education released school reopening guidance on July 2. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said, “We know that the delivery of instruction in Hawaiʻi, the nation and the world, is going to look very different. Our HIDOE ʻohana has been diligently working on plans for the new school year, growing from this experience and applying lessons learned toward our commitment to equity of access and quality education.”

On March 16, Gov. David Ige (D) extended spring break through March 27. On March 19, he closed schools through April 6. He extended the closure on March 24 through April 30. On April 17, the Department of Education closed schools for the rest of the school year.

Hawaii’s 2020-2021 school year is scheduled to start on August 4. According to EdWeek, traditional public schools in Hawaii typically start the academic year in early August.

The state’s school guidance is tied to the state’s general reopening plan. In-person instruction cannot fully reopen until the state enters the Recovery phase of reopening. The school plan contained the following graphic:

Context

Hawaii is a Democratic trifecta. The governor is a Democrat, and Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The state became a Democratic trifecta in 2011.

The following tables show public education statistics in Hawaii, including a rank comparing it to the other 49 states. Rank one is the highest number of each figure, rank 50 is the lowest. All data comes from the Common Core of Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Hawaii school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $15,305 17
Number of students (’18-’19) 181,278 40
Number of teachers (’16-17) 11,782 42
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 249 49
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 14.9 25
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 47.6% 24
Hawaii school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $2,699,827,000 14
Percent from federal sources 9.6% 20
Percent from state sources 88.2% 2
Percent from local sources 2.2% 50

Details

District reopening plans

Hawaii’s school reopening plan does not discuss a need for school districts to develop their own plans or submit such plans to the state. Schools must reopen in compliance with the state’s plan.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

The Department of Education said instruction will be delivered through in-person, blended, and online channels, depending on the threat presented by the coronavirus and the department’s resources. The Board of Education passed a resolution on June 18 asserting online and hybrid attendance is equivalent to in-person attendance for the purposes of fulfilling the state’s 180 instructional day requirement.

Parents of children from grades 6-12 will be able to select a virtual-only learning option. The state is still developing a virtual solution for grades K-5. Full details are not yet available.

Hawaii’s three multi-track schools (Mililani Middle, Kapolei Middle, and Holomua Elementary schools) will convert to a traditional, single-track schedule at least through the Fall semester.

Mask requirements

Students and faculty are required to wear masks when they are not in the classroom. Students and faculty generally are not required to wear masks in classrooms, but staff and other adults are required to wear masks when they are within three feet of each other or a child. For students, “Masks should be worn when keeping six feet apart is not possible, or when children face each other and interact in similar ways. However, if students are sitting three feet apart, and facing the same way, wearing a mask is not required.”

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The state outlined the following general guidelines for schools:

  • All individuals entering the school building must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Sanitizing/handwashing stations must be set up at school entrances and in every classroom and possible gathering area (library, cafeteria, etc.).
  • Desks and seats must be spaced at least three feet apart when students face the same direction, or six feet apart if students are facing each other.
  • Relevant faculty members must be trained in proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
  • Six-foot social distancing should be practiced to the extent possible.
  • Designated health rooms and separate quarantine spaces should be set up for suspected COVID-19 cases.
  • Schools should consider staggering student arrival and departure times.
  • Nonessential visits should be limited.

For comprehensive guidelines, click here.

Transportation and bussing requirements and restrictions

The Student Transportation Services Branch is working with school administrators and bus contractors to develop adjusted, school-specific arrival and departure schedules. All bus passengers will be required to wear masks. No more than two students will be able to sit in the same bench seat, and seating will be assigned. Heightened cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be implemented between bus trips.

Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools

On June 1, the Georgia Department of Education, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Health, released “Georgia’s K-12 Recovery Plan,” a set of guidelines to help schools reopen for the 2020-2021 school year.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods said, “We created these guidelines, in partnership with Dr. Kathleen Toomey and her team at the Georgia Department of Public Health, to give school districts a blueprint for a safe reopening that is realistic in the K-12 setting. We have a responsibility to keep our students, teachers, school staff, and families safe and to provide the best possible education for our children. I’m confident these guidelines will help schools accomplish both of those objectives.”

The guidance was revised and re-released on July 13 at the request of the Georgia Department of Health.

Governor Brian Kemp (R) first closed K-12 schools on March 18. He extended the closure through April 24 on March 26 and announced on April 1 that schools would remain closed to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year.

According to EdWeek, school districts in Georgia typically begin the year in early August, but the specific start date varies by district.

The recovery plan states that the guidance for schools is not mandatory. Local school districts in Georgia can decide when and whether to return students to physical classrooms.

Context

Georgia is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

The following tables show public education statistics in Georgia, including a rank comparing it to the other 49 states. Rank one is the highest number of each figure, rank 50 is the lowest. All data comes from the Common Core of Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Georgia school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (16-17) $11,531 36
Number of students (18-19) 1,767,202 6
Number of teachers (Fall 2016) 114,763 8
Number of public schools (18-19) 2,309 15
Student:teacher ratio (18-19) 15.1 23
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (16-17) 62% 7
Georgia school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue 18,772,155 10
Percent from federal sources 10.1 18
Percent from state sources 45.2 30
Percent from local sources 44.7 21

Details

District reopening plans

The plan does not require school districts to submit reopening plans to state authorities. The guidance in the document states that “Local school districts have the authority and flexibility to meet their individual needs and be responsive to their communities. School leaders should engage and communicate with their students, staff, and communities in the development and implementation of their plans.” The guidance is “designed to help districts prioritize the health and safety of students and teachers as they open school buildings and deliver instruction for the 2020-2021 school year.”

The guidance includes a District Decision Tree that provides districts with different options under scenarios that range from the temporary closure of school buildings to a traditional arrangement of students in classrooms. The original version of the document released on June 1 called the three scenarios “Substantial spread,” “Minimal/Moderate Spread,” and “Low/No Spread.” In the revised document released on July 13, the three scenarios were changed to “Temporary Closure(s),” “Enhanced Mitigation Measure,” and “Preventative Practices.”

In-person, hybrid, and online learning

The guidance lays out the instructional model districts should adopt under the three different scenarios.

  • Temporary closure(s) scenario: local school districts are encouraged to adopt a fully distance/remote learning model.
  • Enhanced mitigation measures scenario: local school districts are encouraged to consider the following three options:
    • Traditional model: students return to classrooms.
    • Hybrid model: students learn both remotely and in physical classrooms. Under this model, school districts are encouraged to implement staggered schedules.
    • Distance/remote learning model: Students learn remotely and use of school buildings is minimal.
  • Preventative practices scenario: Students return to classrooms under this scenario, but with enhanced preventative practices and protocols.

Mask requirements

The plan states that face coverings are not mandatory but are strongly recommended where social distancing is difficult to accomplish. The plan recommends that school districts provide information to staff, students, and families on the proper use of cloth face coverings.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The plan recommends that school districts conduct regular screening for symptoms of COVID-19 throughout the day and participate in contact tracing efforts as directed by local health officials.

Under all three scenarios, school districts should communicate regularly with local and state Department of Health Officials. Districts should also post signage around schools designed to communicate how students and staff can prevent the spread of the virus.

In-person recommendations under the Enhanced Mitigation Measures scenario include:

  • Establish a protocol for students/staff who feel ill/experience symptoms when they come to school.
  • Screen students and staff (to the extent practicable):
    • Take temperatures ideally before entering buildings
    • Isolate and send home if internal temperature over 100.4°F (38°C)
  • Limit physical interaction through partner or group work
  • Establish distance between the teacher’s desk/board and students’ desks
  • Identify and utilize large spaces (i.e. gymnasiums, auditoriums, outside spaces – as weather permits) for social distancing
  • A/B schedules
    • Alternating Days
    • Alternating Weeks
    • Half Days: AM/PM Schedule

In-person recommendations under the Preventative Practices scenario include:

  • Implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures such as:
    • Use of face coverings/masks is not mandated but is strongly recommended, particularly in settings where social distancing is difficult (i.e. class transitioning)
    • Cleaning hallways and high-touch surfaces throughout the school day
  • Establish an academic baseline:
    • Administer formative assessments toward the start of the school year
    • Conduct meetings with teachers to identify where students are academically
  • Prepare for potential future distance/remote learning by increasing current blended learning:
    • Develop a digital learning plan
    • Integrate virtual learning practices.

Transportation and bussing requirements and restrictions

Under the Temporary Closure scenario, the plan recommends that buses be used to deliver up to a week’s worth of meals to students and families on a designated day of the week.

Under the Enhanced Mitigation Measures scenario, districts should consider the following:

  • Provide hand sanitizer for students and bus drivers
  • Provide face masks for bus drivers; allow students to wear face masks/coverings
  • Screen students and bus drivers for symptoms of illness and utilize spaced seating (to the extent practicable)
  • Eliminate field trips
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on the bus at least daily
  • Establish protocols for bus stops, loading/unloading students to minimize congregation of children from different households

Under the Preventative Practices scenario, districts should consider the following related to transporting students:

  • Implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures, such as:
    • Providing hand sanitizer for students and bus drivers
    • Allowing bus drivers and students to wear face masks/coverings
    • Limiting field trips
    • Inspecting buses prior to students returning and as part of a regular rotation
    • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces on the bus at least daily
    • Airing out buses when not in use
    • Lowering windows and allowing fresh air in during routes as weather permits

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • Chicago added Iowa and Oklahoma to the list of states from which travelers must self-quarantine for two weeks. That brings the total number of states on the city’s quarantine list to 17.
  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said that the city would halt applying for any other reopening variance requests to the state. The city had planned to apply for variances requesting increased capacity at restaurants and the Denver Zoo.
  • Philadelphia canceled all large events in the city through February 2021. Impacted events include the Thanksgiving Day parade, the Mummers Parade, the Rock and Roll half marathon, and the Broad Street Run.
  • Walmart announced that customers nationwide would be required to wear face coverings effective July 20.
  • The Orange County Board of Education in California approved a recommendation to reopen schools in the fall by a 4-1 vote on July 13. The recommendation includes discouraging the use of face coverings and social distancing.