TagCoronavirus

Ballotpedia stories covering coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.

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).


Coronavirus weekly updates: July 16, 2020

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics: Coronavirus Weekly Updates
The Coronavirus Weekly Update summarizes major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on July 9:

  • Stay-at-home orders
  • Federal responses
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Election changes
  • Ballot measure changes
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • State legislation
  • State legislative sessions
  • State courts
  • Prison policies
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

For daily news on state reopening plans and which industries and activities are permitted across the country, subscribe to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of July 9, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

California and New Mexico, both of which have a Democratic governor, are the only remaining states with an active stay-at-home order. 

Details:

  • New Mexico – On July 13, Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel extended the state’s stay-at-home order through July 30. The order first took effect on March 24.

School closures and reopenings

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • In March and April, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the nation’s 50.6 million public school students. Montana and Wyoming did not require in-person instruction for the year. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Seven states (Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming) have allowed schools to reopen for students and staff.
    • No new states have reopened campuses since July 9.
  • Thirteen states have released reopening guidance and also announced a scheduled reopening.
    • Two new states have done so since July 9.
  • One state has announced schools will reopen in the fall but has not released reopening guidance.
    • No new states have made reopening announcements since July 9.
  • Officials in 17 other states have released guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.
    • Four new states have released guidance for reopening schools since July 9.

Details:

  • Arkansas – On July 9, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced that the reopening of public schools would be delayed until Aug. 24. Schools in the state were previously set to open on Aug. 13.
  • Delaware – 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.
  • Idaho – Gov. Brad Little (R) announced a reopening plan for public schools. Guidelines include encouraging face coverings for students and faculty, teaching hygiene, and complying with regular cleaning and disinfecting protocols. It also recommends schools be prepared to teach students in-person, with a hybrid schedule, and completely online.
  • Kansas – The Kansas Board of Education voted 9-0 to approve guidelines for reopening public schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Board members said that the guidelines were not mandates but were meant to help districts craft their own individual plans.
  • Louisiana – 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.
  • Missouri – The Department of Education released guidance for reopening public schools. Recommendations include screening students and faculty for symptoms, limiting students and faculty to the same group of people every day (cohorting), and requesting students and faculty wear masks.
  • New Hampshire – Gov. Chris Sununu (R) released guidance for reopening public schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Sununu said the plan is meant to give school districts local control over how they reopen. Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said he expected students back in schools in September.
  • New York – The State Department of Education released a framework for public school reopening plans. Each school district will be required to submit a district-specific reopening plan based on the template between July 17 and July 31.

1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Nov. 6, 1918, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on how the 1918 influenza pandemic dampened election night energy.

“Darkest night, pierced only by lame street lights and far-scattered horns. A quiet stream of pedestrians and automobiles, moving east and west or stopping on side streets to wait for news.

Such was election night. Someone dared recall the nights of torchlight parades, when red flares and drums aided shouts and blows in expressing partisan fervor. Though torchlights fell from favor, horns were still ‘aces high’ when election night last came around. Memories of hilarious hands of young men, older men and old men–even girls and women joining them–parading the streets with banners and blatant horns, prompted a search for such troops last night.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On July 16, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced on Twitter that the Department would extend its prohibition on nonessential travel to Canada and Mexico through Aug. 20.
  • On July 14, retired General Joseph Dunford, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, withdrew his candidacy to lead a congressional commission established to oversee the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus relief fund. The five-member commission has been without a chair since its creation for the last four months.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 433 lawsuits in 46 states dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 175 of those lawsuits.
    • Since July 9, we have added 52 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 25 court orders and/or settlements.
  • Ballotpedia has separately followed another 132 lawsuits, in 38 states, dealing with election issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 68 of those lawsuits.

Here are two lawsuits that have either garnered significant national media attention or involve major advocacy groups.

  • Page v. Cuomo: On July 1, an Arizona resident filed a lawsuit challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) executive order requiring travelers entering New York from states with high COVID-19 infection rates to self-quarantine. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. The plaintiff, Cynthia Page, said she was forced to cancel a planned trip to Brooklyn as Arizona’s current rate of infection would require her to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The plaintiff alleges Cuomo’s order violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. The suit also alleges Cuomo’s order violates the Privileges and Immunities Clause, which guarantees legal protections related to distinctively national citizenship, such as the right to interstate travel. The plaintiff alleges the quarantine is “the equivalent of a house arrest.” The plaintiff further alleges Cuomo’s order “lacks any rational basis, is arbitrary, capricious, and vague, has no real or substantial relation” to the aim of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, “and is beyond all question, a plain, palpable invasion of rights secured by fundamental law.” Cuomo has yet to release any statement related to the complaint. The case is assigned to Judge David N. Hurd, an appointee of President Bill Clinton (D).
  • Power v. Leon County: On July 10, Judge John Cooper, of Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit Court, denied a motion to prohibit Leon County’s mask ordinance. The lawsuit, one of nine filed by attorney and state Representative Anthony Sabatini (R) on behalf of plaintiffs across the state, challenges the constitutionality of Leon County’s Emergency Ordinance 20-15, enacted on June 23 as a response to COVID-19. The ordinance requires individuals to wear face coverings while inside public businesses to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The plaintiff, a Leon County resident and business owner, alleges the ordinance violates guarantees of privacy, due process, religious freedom, and equal protection under the Florida Constitution. Cooper dismissed arguments that the ordinance was impermissibly vague and found the science justifying the ordinance convincing, stating, “If people are going to go into businesses and spread it all over the place, then about the only thing available is a face mask.” Sabatini, who has filed similar lawsuits against Martin, Miami-Dade, Seminole, Orange, and Hillsborough counties, as well as the cities of St. Augustine, DeLand, and Jacksonville, has indicated he will file an appeal in the First District Court of Appeal.

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections.
    • No states have postponed elections since July 9.
  • Eighteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
    • No states have made candidate filing modifications since July 9.
  • Thirty-seven states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
    • One state has made voting procedure modifications since July 9.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made modifications to party events on a statewide basis.
    • One state party has made modifications to party events since July 9.

Details:

  • Texas – On July 9, Judge Larry Weiman, of the Texas 80th District Court, rejected requests from both the Republican Party of Texas and Steve Hotze, a Houston Republican, to bar Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner from canceling the state Republican Party convention, originally scheduled for July 16-18. The GOP petitioned the Texas Supreme Court to intervene and direct the city to allow the convention to proceed as planned. On July 13, the state supreme court dismissed the petition, and the party’s executive committee voted to hold the convention online.
  • Vermont – Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) announced that the state would send mail-in ballot request forms to all eligible voters in the Aug. 11 primary election.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • At least 18 lawsuits were filed in 13 states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines.
  • Rulings or settlements have been issued in all of the pending cases, although some are still pending appeal.
    • At least one ruling has been issued since July 9.
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 26 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures through executive orders or legislative action.
    • No new changes have been enacted since July 9.
  • At least four initiative campaigns initially targeting 2020 reported they would shift their focus to 2022.

Details:

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 24 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 13 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since July 9, five states have modified their travel restrictions.

Details:

  • Connecticut, New Jersey, New York –  Governors Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced on July 14 that New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota had been added to the joint travel advisory originally announced June 24. Travelers from those states will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the tristate area. The governors removed Delaware, which was added July 7, from the list. The list now includes 22 states. Gov. Cuomo also announced that visitors to New York from those 22 states will need to fill out a form with contact information or face a $10,000 fine. Gov. Lamont said Connecticut would join New York in requiring visitors to fill out a contact form.
  • Hawaii – Gov. David Ige (D) announced on July 14 that he was extending the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers through Sept. 1. Previously, Ige said a new program would take effect Aug. 1 that would allow visitors to avoid the quarantine requirement by presenting a negative coronavirus test. The program will not start before Sept. 1.
  • Pennsylvania – On July 12, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma to its quarantine list. Visitors from those states are recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering Pennsylvania. On July 15, the Department of Health removed Delaware from the list.

State legislation

Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • To date, 2,564 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 95 additional bills since July 9.
  • Of these, 349 significant bills have been enacted into law, about 14 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
    • We have tracked 41 additional significant bills since July 9 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.)

State legislative session changes

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Six state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Five of those have since reconvened.
    • One state legislature that had suspended and then resumed its session has adjourned since July 9.
  • Thirty-seven legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session.
  • Two state legislatures are in special session.
    • Two state legislatures have convened special sessions since July 9.

Details:

  • Hawaii – The Hawaii Legislature adjourned on July 10.
  • Minnesota – The Minnesota Legislature convened a special session on July 13.
  • Nevada – The Nevada Legislature convened a special session on July 8.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings at the local level
    • Since July 9, two local courts and one state have extended restrictions on in-person proceedings and the suspension of jury trials.

Details:

  • Massachusetts – Effective July 13, visitors can enter Massachusetts courthouses subject to restrictions put in place by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
  • Georgia – Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton issued an order extending the state’s judicial emergency, which had been set to expire on July 12, through Aug. 11. Jury trials and most grand jury proceedings remain prohibited.
  • Chicago – On July 13, Rebecca Pallmeyer, the Chief judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, announced that all criminal and civil jury trials set to begin before Aug. 3 in Chicago’s federal courts will be rescheduled.
  • Los Angeles – On July 13, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California announced that jury trials would not resume until August.
  • Iowa – On July 13, courtrooms reopened to in-person proceedings with restrictions. Social distancing of at least six feet is required, and anyone who talks must be behind a transparent face shield while doing so. Jury trials will not resume until Sept. 14.
  • New York – Janet DiFiore, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals in New York, announced that grand jury proceedings could resume in all judicial districts except New York City. Grand jury proceedings are set to resume on Aug. 10 in New York City.
  • North Carolina – Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced on July 16 that she was maintaining the pause on jury trials through the end of September. She also announced that masks will now be required in courthouses.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-one states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • Since July 9, one state has ended a moratorium on evictions.
  • Twenty-one states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.

Details:

  • Michigan – The state’s moratorium on evictions expired on July 16.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Six members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-three federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Fifty-seven state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Seventy-four state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 19 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since July 9, one governor, one congressman, one city councilmember, and one state senator tested positive for coronavirus.

Details:

  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on July 15 that he tested positive for the coronavirus. Stitt, who assumed office in 2019, is the first governor known to have tested positive for the virus.
  • Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), who represents Virginia’s 9th Congressional District, announced on July 14 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Chicago City Councilmember Carrie Austin, who represents Ward 34, announced on July 13 that she tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Pennsylvania state Sen. Anthony Williams (D), who represents District 8, announced on July 14 that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

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.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 14, 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?

  • Kansas (divided government): On July 15 at 3:00 p.m., Gov. Laura Kelly (D) is expected to hold a press conference at which she’ll discuss the state’s plan for reopening schools in the coming academic year.
  • Louisiana (divided government): The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is expected to meet in the afternoon on July 14 to approve emergency health safety rules for the reopening of schools in the fall. We will have more on these developments in tomorrow’s edition.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced the state’s face covering mandate will expand to require masks in outdoor public spaces when six-foot distancing cannot be maintained starting July 15. Brown also said the state will prohibit indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people.

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.

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Gov. David Ige (D) announced he was extending the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers through Sept. 1. Previously, Ige had said a new program would take effect Aug. 1 that would allow visitors to avoid the quarantine requirement by presenting a negative coronavirus test. The program will not start before Sept. 1.
  • Michigan (divided government): On July 13, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed Executive Orders 2020-148 and 2020-149. The first of these orders extends infection control procedures for nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The second order requires that grocery stores and pharmacies continue to allocate at least two hours per week of shopping time for vulnerable populations. Both orders extend through Aug. 10.
  • New Hampshire (divided government): Gov. Chris Sununu (R) released guidance for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Sununu said the plan is meant to give school districts local control over how they reopen. Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said he expected students back in schools in September.
  • North Carolina (divided government): Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced on July 14 that the state would remain in Phase Two of reopening until Aug. 7. Previously, the state had been scheduled to enter Phase Three on July 17. Cooper also released the state’s school reopening plan, which emphasizes a combination of in-person instruction and distance learning.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): Effective July 14, the statewide limit on gatherings decreased from 100 people to 25. Bars in Monongalia County will also be closed for 10 days.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, New York (Democratic trifectas): Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota had been added to the joint travel advisory originally announced June 24. Travelers from those states will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the tristate area. Delaware, which was added to the list on July 7, has been removed. The list now includes 22 states. Gov. Cuomo also announced that visitors to New York from those 22 states will need to fill out a form with contact information or face a $10,000 fine. Gov. Lamont said Connecticut would join New York in requiring visitors to fill out a similar form.

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 9th edition of the newsletter.

  • Fifteen states have no statewide indoor gathering size limit. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and three have Democratic governors.
    • On July 9, 16 states had no limit. Louisiana was the one state with a Democratic governor to enact a limit.
  • Eleven states have a limit between 1 and 25. Seven of those states have Democratic governors and four of those states have Republican governors.
    • On July 9, 11 states had a limit between 1 and 25.
  • Seventeen states have a limit between 26 and 50. Eleven of those states have Democratic governors and six of those states have Republican governors.
    • On July 9, 14 states had a limit between 26 and 50.
  • One state (New Jersey) has a limit between 51 and 100. New Jersey has a Democratic governor.
    • On July 9, three states 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 9, 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.

Colorado’s Reopening Guidelines

The Colorado Department of Education released school reopening guidance on May 26. Department of Education Commissioner Katy Anthes said she hoped the plan would bridge “the gap between having a complete patchwork but also providing some consistency. There’s a diversity of communities across our state and those things really do need to be taken into consideration rather than having a one-size-fits-all approach.”

On March 18, Gov. Jared Polis (D) closed public schools through April 17. The state extended the closure on April 1. Polis ended the public school year on April 21.

Colorado does not have a statewide date for schools to reopen. School district reopening dates in the state range from early to late August, though many school districts have not yet announced when classes will start. According to EdWeek, public schools in Colorado traditionally start the academic year between early and mid-August, with the exact start date varying by district.

The state reopening plan recommends public schools follow the CDC reopening decision tree guidelines. The plan also requires schools to avoid reopening if the answer to any of the following questions is negative:

  • Will reopening be consistent with applicable state and local orders?
  • Is the school ready to protect children and employees at higher risk for severe illness?
  • Are you able to screen students and employees upon arrival for symptoms and history of exposure?

Context

Colorado 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 Colorado, 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.

Colorado school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $11,749 34
Number of students (’18-’19) 911,341 18
Number of teachers (’16-17) 52,014 21
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 1,915 19
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 17.15 13
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 42.2% 37
Colorado school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $9,764,525,000 22
Percent from federal sources 7.4% 37
Percent from state sources 45.6% 28
Percent from local sources 47% 18

Details

District reopening plans

In most cases, districts have the final say on reopening decisions, as long as schools comply with state and local public health orders. The Department of Education’s guidance did not contain additional or specific requirements for districts.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning 

According to Colorado’s plan, a three-phase rubric guide is currently being developed to encourage schools and districts to flexibly move between in-person, hybrid, and remote learning schedules as necessary during the year.

Mask requirements

Under current health orders, teachers are required to wear masks in classrooms. The plan encourages students and other visitors to wear masks.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The state outlined the following general requirements for schools:

  • Daily temperature checks, tracking, and symptom screening for faculty, students, and visitors entering the building.
  • Colorado currently prohibits gatherings of more than 10 individuals indoors unless there is a specific exception. The state has not issued an exception for schools.

The state outlined the following general recommendations for schools:

  • Use tools like the Health and Safety Considerations Checklist and the General Readiness Assessment for schools to ensure preparedness.
  • Identify district and school coordinators tasked with addressing COVID-19 Health and Safety Needs.
  • Encourage staff or students who are sick to stay at home.
  • If a student or faculty member tests positive for the virus, close the school for 2-5 days to disinfect and conduct contact tracing.
  • Increase hygiene and cleaning protocols.
  • Prepare other mitigation strategies (like mask requirements) when social distancing is not possible.
  • Designate an isolated health room for students and faculty exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

Transportation and bussing requirements and restrictions

Drivers are required to wear masks on school busses. The state plan also recommends:

  • Taping marks where students should sit in keeping with proper social distancing.
  • Implementing assigned seating.
  • Asking students to sit at least six feet away from the bus driver.
  • Load busses from back to front.
  • Increased hygiene and disinfecting practices.

Florida’s reopening guidelines

On June 11, the Florida Department of Education released reopening guidance for public schools. That same day, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said that he expected schools to reopen to in-person instruction at full capacity in August.

On March 13, the state Department of Education closed public schools for two weeks effective March 16. The state extended the closure twice, on March 17 and March 30, before DeSantis ended the public school year on April 18.

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

Context

Florida 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 2011.

The following tables show public education statistics in Florida, 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.

Florida school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $10,606 42
Number of students (’18-’19) 2,846,429 3
Number of teachers (’16-17) 186,339 4
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 4,234 5
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 17.3 11
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 58.10% 12
Florida school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $26,789,374,000 7
Percent from federal sources 11.9% 9
Percent from state sources 39.8% 41
Percent from local sources 40.2% 17

Details

District reopening plans

The guidance does not provide any specific rules for schools to follow and instead defers to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Florida Department of Health, and local health authorities.

On July 6, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said that each school district, charter school governing board, and private school that accepts state scholarship money must develop and submit a reopening plan to the state that meets the requirements laid out in the guidance.

In-person, hybrid, and online learning 

The guidance itself does not dictate whether public schools must use a fully in-person schedule, a hybrid model, or online-only learning. On July 6, Corcoran said that all schools must be open for in-person instruction five days per week.

Mask requirements

The guidance encourages schools to follow CDC guidelines on cloth face coverings. It does not mandate the use of face coverings but says that schools should, at a minimum, be supportive of students and staff who voluntarily wear face coverings.

In-person health recommendations and requirements

The guidance provides several recommendations for districts to follow social distancing recommendations from the CDC, including modifying the school day and altering drop-off and pick-up procedures.

On modifying the school day:

  • Keep groups of students together throughout the day to minimize the number of people in close contact with each person
  • Convert cafeterias, libraries, and other large spaces into classroom space
  • Allow students in eat meals in traditional classrooms or outdoors
  • Limit nonessential mass gatherings or reschedule as virtual meetings

On drop-off and pickup:

  • Set up hand hygiene stations at or near entrance and exit points
  • Create distinct entrance and exit points to avoid congestion
  • Stagger arrival and drop-off times to reduce potential congestion
  • Have the same individual drop off and pick up a child every day
  • Avoid having elderly or vulnerable family members pick up children

Transportation and bussing requirements and restrictions

The guidance recommends that districts and schools explore the use of cloth face coverings on school buses. It also recommends that bus and class schedules be aligned with seating arrangements when possible to create clusters of students who will spend the majority of their days together.

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.

  • On July 10, Judge John Cooper, of Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit Court, denied a motion to prohibit Leon County’s mask ordinance. The lawsuit, one of nine filed by attorney and state Representative Anthony Sabatini (R) on behalf of plaintiffs across the state, challenges the constitutionality of Leon County’s Emergency Ordinance 20-15, enacted on June 23 as a response to COVID-19. The ordinance requires individuals to wear face coverings while inside public businesses to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The plaintiff, a Leon County resident and business owner, alleges the ordinance violates guarantees of privacy, due process, religious freedom, and equal protection under the Florida Constitution. Cooper dismissed arguments that the ordinance was impermissibly vague and found the science justifying the ordinance convincing, stating, “If people are going to go into businesses and spread it all over the place, then about the only thing available is a face mask.” Sabatini, who has filed similar lawsuits against Martin, Miami-Dade, Seminole, Orange, and Hillsborough counties, as well as the cities of St. Augustine, DeLand, and Jacksonville, has indicated an appeal will be filed in the First District Court of Appeal.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 13, 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 Friday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that effective Tuesday, July 14, the statewide limit on gatherings would decrease from 100 people to 25. Justice also announced he is closing bars in Monongalia County for 10 days.

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) ordered the following industries and activities to close statewide: indoor operations at all restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, cardrooms, and all operations at bars. He also ordered 30 counties to close indoor operations for fitness centers, places of worship, non-essential offices, personal care services, hair salons and barbershops, and malls. All affected counties are on the state’s COVID-19 watchlist.
  • Louisiana (divided government): On July 11, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) issued an executive proclamation establishing a statewide face-covering requirement. Effective July 13, individuals in Louisiana are required to wear face coverings when in any indoor or outdoor public space. The order exempts children under the age of eight, as well as individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing face coverings. The order allows parishes to opt-out if they have maintained a COVID-19 incidence rate of fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people for the past two weeks. Edwards also ordered the closure of bars statewide to on-premises consumption (carry-out and curbside service remain available) and limited gatherings to 50 people or fewer. The order will last through at least July 24, at which point it could be extended.
  • Michigan (divided government): Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) Executive Order 2020-147 takes effect on July 13. It reiterates that individuals are required to wear face coverings in most indoor public settings. It also expands that requirement to include crowded outdoor spaces and requires businesses to refuse entry or service to individuals not wearing face coverings. A willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine. The order exempts children under the age of five and individuals who cannot medically tolerate face coverings, among others.
  • Missouri (Republican trifecta): The Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools. Recommendations include screening students and faculty for symptoms, limiting students and faculty to the same group of people every day (cohorting), and requesting students and faculty wear masks.
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): The state is rolling back its reopening due to increasing coronavirus cases, effective July 13. Indoor dining, which had been permitted since June 1, is now prohibited at restaurants and bars. State parks are closed to out-of-state visitors and visitors who cannot prove their residency. The state’s mask requirement is expanding to include anyone exercising in a public space.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): The State Department of Education released a framework for school reopening plans. Each school district will be required to submit a district-specific reopening plan based on the template between July 17 and July 31. Formal guidance for reopening is expected later this week.
  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) Economic Recovery Group released new guidelines for media production. The guidelines apply to the film, TV, and music industries.

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 June 30th edition of the newsletter. Since then, eight additional states have enacted face-covering requirements: Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.

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

Indiana’s Considerations for Learning and Safe Schools

On June 5, the state released its guidance for reopening schools, titled Indiana’s Considerations for Learning and Safe Schools. It contains recommendations for local districts to consider in consultation with local health departments to create individual reopening plans.

On June 5, Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said, “We have not specified this as a mandatory thing that a school has to do. We have given some very good recommendations and guidance and really feel that our superintendents, our principals, our teachers, in conjunction with their local health departments, are the individuals that really need to make this decision about this community and for their community.”

Schools were allowed to reopen beginning July 1. At a press conference announcing the reopening on June 30, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said, “We believe where we are right now schools can, and should open for instruction. We wouldn’t have made that decision or endorsed the proposal to go forward if we thought otherwise.” According to EdWeek, schools in Indiana traditionally start the school year between late July and mid-August, with the exact start date varying by district.

Holcomb announced that all schools would be granted a 20-day waiver for required school days on March 12. The waiver allowed schools to close for a given day without needing to make the day up to complete the school year. On March 19, Holcomb issued an executive order closing all schools to in-person instruction until May 1. On April 2, he extended that order for the remainder of the school year.

Context

Indiana 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 2011.

The following tables show public education statistics in Indiana, 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.

Indiana school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (’16-’17) $11,306 40
Number of students (’18-’19) 1,055,351 15
Number of teachers (’16-17) 60,162 16
Number of public schools (’18-’19) 1,919 18
Student:teacher ratio (’18-’19) 17.3 12
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (’16-’17) 47.90% 23
Indiana school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $12,103,344,000 17
Percent from federal sources 8.2% 30
Percent from state sources 56.1% 16
Percent from local sources 35.8% 33

Plan details

The sections below analyze recommendations from the guidance on health protocols, social distancing, and transportation.

Health protocols

The plan says that requirements for wearing masks should follow federal, state, and local guidelines. As of July 13, Indiana does not require face masks in public.

The plan states that if an individual exhibits one or more symptoms of COVID-19, schools should ask the individual to stay home.

For untested and symptomatic positive cases, individuals may return if they are fever-free for 72 hours, have had other symptoms improved, and are at least 10 calendar days past when symptoms first appeared. Symptomatic individuals with positive tests must also have received two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Asymptomatic individuals with positive tests may return if released by a healthcare provider after 10 days of exhibiting no symptoms. The 10-day requirement can be waived with written approval by a healthcare provider.

Social distancing recommendations

The plan provides several ways for districts to follow social distancing recommendations from the CDC, including school calendar modifications, changes to class structure and size, and decreasing the possibility for large gatherings of students.

The plan provides several suggestions for altering school calendars:

  • Schedule specified groups of students to attend in-person school on alternate days or half days to minimize the number of students in the building.
  • Year-round schooling with alternating breaks.
  • In-person instruction for elementary students and distance learning for older students.
  • Offer both in-person and remote instruction based on student need and parent concerns.

The plan provides several suggestions for changing class size and structure:

  • Organize students into cohorts so they stay with the same staff as much as possible.
  • Close communal use spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds if possible. Otherwise, stagger use and disinfect in between use.
  • Reorganize P.E., choir, band, and other large classes to allow for smaller classes.
  • Eliminate or reorganize assemblies, field trips, and other large gatherings.
  • Alternate recess to minimize the number of students on the playground, encourage social distancing, and allow time to disinfect equipment between uses.

The plan provides several suggestions for eliminating large gatherings of students:

  • Assign students to use different entrances or create directional paths.
  • Stagger drop-off, pick-up, and class release times.
  • Require students to stay in an assigned section of the schoolyard or playground as opposed to mingling with other classes.
  • Schedule restroom breaks to avoid overcrowding.

Transportation

The plan requires all employees to wear masks while on a bus or other transportation and instructs districts to thoroughly clean and disinfect buses before and after routes. If a driver or passenger tested positive or exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, districts must wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting the vehicle.

Arizona’s Roadmap for Reopening Schools 

On June 1, the Arizona Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools, titled “Roadmap for Reopening Schools.” It’s based on input from health experts and education leaders across Arizona and includes suggestions for how local school districts can reopen for the 2020-2021 school year under different scenarios.

Kathy Hoffman, the Superintendent in Public Instruction, said about the plan, “This is not a one-size-fits all. This is meant to be flexible and adaptable to help our school leaders think through all different types of scenarios and work within their own communities to create plans that are best for their unique needs.”

On June 29, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed an executive order delaying the start of school until Aug. 17. However, schools are permitted to offer distance learning before Aug. 17 if they submit a distance learning plan to the Arizona Department of Education.

Ducey first ordered all schools closed on March 15. He announced that schools would remain closed to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year on March 30.

Context

Arizona 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 Arizona, 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.

Arizona school metrics
Category Figure Rank
Per pupil spending (16-17) $19,456 6
Number of students (18-19) 130,963 47
Number of teachers (Fall 2016) 7,825 49
Number of public schools (18-19) 510 44
Student:teacher ratio (18-19) 17.1 14
Percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch (16-17) 45.30% 32
Arizona school revenue
Category Figure Rank
Total revenue $9,860,167,000 21
Federal revenue % 13 5
State revenue % 44.1 32
Local revenue % 43 23

Plan details

The sections below analyze recommendations from the guidance on school finance, health protocols, different scenarios, and technology.

School finance

The plan says that the potential for shifts in student enrollment and attendance has led to growing concerns about school budget stability. According to the plan, funding calculations for public schools are based in part on student enrollment counts after the first 100 days of instructions. The plan calls for state leaders to consider the following:

  • A budget floor to cover core costs.
  • A flexible and adaptable way to provide distance learning that is tied to a brick and mortar school.
  • Transportation route miles adjustment that allows for an increase in bus routes needed to accommodate fewer students on a bus at one time.

Additionally, the plan calls for the following considerations:

  • Limiting budgets from decreasing more than two percent (2%).
  • Allowing students who participate in person or remotely within the first 10 days of school to count as enrolled for the first day of the school calendar.
  • The ability to mark a student’s absence as excused when related to issues of COVID concerns.
  • Accommodate the ability of districts or schools to offer flexible and adaptable instructional models by linking funding calculations to those models in a similar manner as regular instruction.

Health protocols

The plan includes a decision tree, written by the CDC, that schools can use to determine if they should reopen to in-person instruction. Considerations include some of the following:

  • Will reopening be consistent with applicable state and local orders?
  • Are you able to screen students and employees, upon arrival, for symptoms and history of exposure?
  • Are recommended health and safety actions in place?
  • Is ongoing monitoring in place?

The plan recommends that schools wait to reopen physical buildings until all questions in the decision tree can be answered with a “yes.”

The plan recommends that schools put into place screening and physical distancing protocols. Recommendations include assigned seating on buses and the possibility of needing more buses or alternatives schedules, modified layouts in classrooms, smaller class sizes when possible, staggered scheduling, and the closure of communal spaces such as dining halls and playgrounds. The plan also recommends serving kids food in classrooms instead of dining areas.

According to the plan, schools should consider requiring face coverings when social distancing isn’t feasible.

The plan includes recommendations for promoting behaviors that reduce the spread of the virus, including hand hygiene and educating staff and families on when they should stay home. The plan also includes several suggestions for maintaining a healthy environment that include cleaning and disinfection protocols.

Scenarios

The plan includes four scenarios for reopening developed by the National Institute for Excellence in Training that range from requiring remote learning for all students to returning all students to physical buildings. The scenarios are not comprehensive but include factors schools should consider before adopting one of the scenarios.

  • Scenario One: All Students in Physical Buildings from the Start of the School Year
    • The school meets the CDC school decision tree guidelines
    • There are none to minimal local/community cases of COVID-19
    • They have a governing board approved contingency plan
    • They have a comprehensive communication plan
    • They have clearly communicated screening expectations to staff and families
    • They have a plan for medically fragile staff and students
  • Scenario Two: Some Students in Physical Buildings and Some Students Distance Learning from the Start of the School Year
    • The school meets the CDC school decision tree guidelines
    • There are minimal to moderate local/community cases of COVID-19
    • The school has a governing board approved contingency plan
    • The school has a comprehensive communication plan
    • The school has clearly communicated screening expectations to staff and families
    • The school has a plan for medically fragile staff and students to not segregate students with disabilities from their non-disabled peers. Distance learning should be thoughtful and take into account considerations of disability-related learning needs.
    • The school has considered the digital divide for students on Tribal Nations and others who lack connectivity or devices.
  • Scenario Three: All Students Distance Learning from the Start of the School Year, with the Option of Returning to Physical Buildings when Appropriate
    • The school is not able to meet the CDC school decision tree guidelines
    • There are substantial local/community cases of COVID-19
    • The school has a governing board approved Emergency Distance Learning Plan
    • The school has a comprehensive communication plan
    • The school has clearly communicated educational expectations to staff and families
    • The school  has considered the digital divide for students on Tribal Nations and others who lack connectivity or devices
    • The school has determined the criteria for returning to physical buildings
  • Scenario Four: Intermittent Distance Learning throughout the School Year Based on Emergency Closures as Defined by Local and State Health Departments
    • All considerations from Scenario Three
    • The school has a plan for determining criteria and data necessary to return to physical school buildings.

Technology

The plan calls for schools to focus on connectivity, computing devices, and management and instructional platforms when thinking about technology. The plan asks schools to take into account some of the following considerations:

  • Schools should consider that some students are in a home with multiple children who need access to a single computing device to complete schoolwork.
  • To the extent possible, schools should provide students with individual computers or tablets with accessories sufficient to participate in video classrooms and each household with the hardware and WiFi access (such as hotspots) necessary to provide consistent internet with adequate speeds.

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.

  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a stay-at-home order on July 10. Bottoms ordered the city to return to Phase 1 of the reopening plan, which says residents can only make essential trips and that restaurants and retail businesses may only provide curbside services. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said in a statement the local order was unenforceable because it was more restrictive than the statewide order.
  • Boston, Massachusetts, entered Phase Three of the state’s reopening plan on July 13. The rest of the state entered Phase Three on July 6. Phase Three allows for the reopening of indoor fitness centers, museums, outdoor events, and guided tours.
  • The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Monday that campuses will not reopen to in-person instruction on Aug. 18 as previously scheduled. Superintendent Austin Beutner said that the decision was made because of an increase in cases in Los Angeles County and that the district did not feel confident in protecting the health and safety of its students and employees.
  • On July 1, an Arizona resident filed a lawsuit challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) executive order requiring travelers entering New York from states with high COVID-19 infection rates to self-quarantine. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. The plaintiff, Cynthia page, said she was forced to cancel a planned trip to Brooklyn as Arizona’s current rate of infection would require her to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The plaintiff alleges Cuomo’s order violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process, as well as the Privileges and Immunities Clause, which guarantees legal protections related to distinctively national citizenship, such as the right to interstate travel. The plaintiff alleges the quarantine is “the equivalent of a house arrest.” The plaintiff further alleges Cuomo’s order “lacks any rational basis, is arbitrary, capricious, and vague, has no real or substantial relation” to the aim of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, “and is beyond all question, a plain, palpable invasion of rights secured by fundamental law.” Cuomo has yet to release any statement related to the complaint. The case is assigned to Judge David N. Hurd, an appointee of President Bill Clinton (D).
  • The Empire State Building’s observatory is scheduled to reopen on July 20 at reduced capacity. Visitors will be screened for symptoms before entering.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 10, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Provide in-depth summaries of the latest 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?

July 11

  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued an order effective June 11 that will prohibit restaurants and bars from selling alcohol after 11:00 p.m. to slow the spread of coronavirus.

July 13

  • Michigan (divided government): On July 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued Executive Order 2020-147, reiterating that individuals are required to wear face coverings in most indoor public settings. The order expands that requirement to include crowded outdoor spaces and requires businesses to refuse entry or service to individuals not wearing a face covering. The order takes effect on July 13. A willful violation of the order constitutes a misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine. The order exempts children under the age of five and individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, among others.
  • New Mexico  (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the state was rolling back its reopening due to increasing coronavirus cases. Indoor dining, which had been permitted since June 1, will be prohibited at restaurants and bars. State parks will be closed to out-of-state visitors and visitors who cannot prove their residency. The state’s mask requirement will expand to include anyone exercising in a public space. The changes take effect on July 13.

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.

  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced that restaurants would be limited to 50% capacity for indoor dining, effective at 10 p.m. on July 11. Restaurants had previously been allowed to reopen at full capacity.
  • Arkansas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced that the reopening of schools would be delayed until Aug. 24. Schools were previously set to open Aug. 13.
  • Kentucky (divided government): On July 9, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued an executive order requiring individuals to wear face coverings in most public settings. Effective July 10, individuals must wear face coverings while inside or waiting in line to enter, any of the following: retail establishments; grocery stores; pharmacies; hair salons/barber shops; nail salons; tattoo parlors; child care facilities; restaurants and bars; health care settings; and any other indoor public spaces. Individuals must also wear face coverings while riding in public transit vehicles or other transportation service vehicles (e.g., taxis, ride-sharing vehicles, etc.). The order exempts children under the age of five and individuals with disabilities.
  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brad Little (R) announced a reopening plan for schools. Guidelines include encouraging face coverings for students and faculty, teaching hygiene, and complying with regular cleaning and disinfecting protocols. It also recommends schools be prepared to teach students in-person, with a hybrid schedule, and completely online. Little also announced Idaho would remain in Phase 4 of reopening for at least two more weeks.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued an executive order increasing coronavirus restrictions in 13 counties. The order requires individuals to wear face masks in public and limits gatherings to 10 people indoors and 20 outdoors.
  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered bars in several counties, including Washoe and Clark, to close effective 11:59 p.m. on July 10. Under the order, restaurants will not be allowed to seat parties larger than six and must close their bar areas.
  • Vermont (divided government): The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development issued new requirements for large outdoor venues. Effective July 10, event venues, such as football stadiums, fairgrounds, and outdoor concert venues, can exceed the 150-person cap on outdoor gatherings if they create additional areas spaced 25 feet apart with physical barriers. People in the distinct areas cannot interact with those in other distinct areas and must be provided with separate parking, concessions and vendors, bathrooms, and entrances and exits. Event venues must maintain guest lists for each distinct area for 30 days.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of July 10, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

California and New Mexico, both of which have a Democratic governor, are the only remaining states with an active stay-at-home order.

Tracking school reopenings

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 announcements have states made for reopening schools?

  • Seven states (Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming) have reopened their campuses for students and staff.
  • Eleven states have issued reopening guidance and also announced a scheduled reopening.
  • Two states have announced schools will reopen in the fall but have not released reopening guidance.
  • Officials in 13 other states have issued guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.

Reopening plans: a recap

Between April 27 and July 9, we provided a daily summary of all 50 states’ reopening plans. Below, we’ve compiled a brief recap of when states introduced restrictions on businesses and individuals through stay-at-home orders or other means, and when states began easing those restrictions. Each state recap ends with a link to our analysis of the reopening plan.

The date of initial reopening shows when each state permitted at least three industries the state had closed to initially reopen.

Beginning Monday, July 13, this newsletter will shift gears to focus on K-12 school reopening plans. Each day, we’ll feature plans in two states to address reopening public schools for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Alabama

  • Stay-at-home order issued: April 4
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: April 30
  • Date of initial reopening: April 30
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Alabama’s reopening plan

Alaska

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 27
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: April 24
  • Date of initial reopening: April 24
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Alaska’s reopening plan, “Reopen Alaska Responsibly.”

Arizona

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 31
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 15
  • Date of initial reopening: May 4
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Arizona’s reopening plan, “Arizona Together.”

Arkansas

  • Stay-at-home order issued: Arkansas did not issue a stay-at-home order. On April 4, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) issued an executive order closing some businesses statewide.
  • Date of initial reopening: May 6
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Arkansas’ reopening plan.

California

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 19
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: California’s stay-at-home order is still in effect, and does not have a fixed end date.
  • Date of initial reopening: May 8
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of California’s reopening plan, “Resilience Roadmap.”

Colorado

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 25
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: April 26
  • Date of initial reopening: April 27
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Colorado’s reopening plan.

Connecticut

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 20
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 20
  • Date of initial reopening: May 20
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Connecticut’s reopening plan.

Delaware

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 22
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 31
  • Date of initial reopening: June 1
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Delaware’s reopening plan.

Florida

  • Stay-at-home order issued: April 1
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 4
  • Date of initial reopening: May 4
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Florida’s reopening plan.

Georgia

  • Stay-at-home order issued: April 3
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: April 30
  • Date of initial reopening: April 24
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Georgia’s reopening plan, “Reviving a Healthy Georgia.”

Hawaii

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 23
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 31
  • Date of initial reopening: May 7
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Hawaii’s reopening plan, “Beyond Recovery: Reopening Hawai’i.”

Idaho

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 25
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: April 30
  • Date of initial reopening: May 1
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Idaho’s reopening plan, “Idaho Rebounds: Our Path to Prosperity.”

Illinois 

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 20
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 29
  • Date of initial reopening: May 29
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Illinois’ reopening plan, “Restore Illinois.”

Indiana 

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 23
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 3
  • Date of initial reopening: May 4
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Indiana’s reopening plan, “Back on Track Indiana.”

Iowa 

  • Stay-at-home order issued: Iowa did not issue a stay-at-home order. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a proclamation closing restaurants, bars, fitness centers, casinos, theaters, and other businesses March 17.
  • Date of initial reopening: May 1
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Iowa’s reopening plan.

Kansas 

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 28
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 3
  • Date of initial reopening: May 4
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Kansas’ reopening plan, ”Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas.”

Kentucky

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 25
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: June 29
  • Date of initial reopening: May 11
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Kentucky’s reopening plan, ”Healthy at Work.”

Louisiana

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 22
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 15
  • Date of initial reopening: May 15
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Louisiana’s reopening plan, ”Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana.”

Maine

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 31
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 31
  • Date of initial reopening: May 1
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Maine’s reopening plan, ”Restarting Maine’s Economy.”

Maryland

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 30
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 15
  • Date of initial reopening: May 15
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Maryland’s reopening plan, ”Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.”

Massachusetts

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 24
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 18
  • Date of initial reopening: May 18
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Massachusetts’ reopening plan, ”Reopening Massachusetts.”

Michigan

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 23
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: June 1
  • Date of initial reopening: April 24
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Michigan’s reopening plan, ”MI Safe Start.”

Minnesota

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 25
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 17
  • Date of initial reopening: April 27
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Minnesota’s reopening plan, ”Stay Safe.”

Mississippi

  • Stay-at-home order issued: April 1
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: April 27
  • Date of initial reopening: April 27
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Mississippi’s reopening plan, ”Safe Return Mississippi.”

Missouri

  • Stay-at-home order issued: April 6
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 3
  • Date of initial reopening: May 4
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Missouri’s reopening plan, ”Show Me Strong”

Nebraska

  • Stay-at-home order issued: Nebraska did not issue a stay-at-home order. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) closed some businesses and limited gatherings on a regional basis beginning March 18.
  • Date of initial reopening: May 4
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Nebraska’s reopening plan.

Nevada

  • Stay-at-home order issued: April 1
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 15
  • Date of initial reopening: May 9
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Nevada’s reopening plan, “Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery.”

New Hampshire

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 26
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: June 15
  • Date of initial reopening: May 11
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of New Hampshire’s reopening plan.

New Jersey

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 21
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: June 9
  • Date of initial reopening: May 18
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of New Jersey’s reopening plan, “New Jersey: The Road Back.”

New Mexico

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 23
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: New Mexico’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire on July 15.
  • Date of initial reopening: May 1
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of New Mexico’s reopening plan.

New York

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 20
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: June 27
  • Date of initial reopening: May 15
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of New York’s reopening plan, “NY Forward.”

North Carolina

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 27
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 22
  • Date of initial reopening: May 8
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of North Carolina’s reopening plan, “Staying Ahead of the Curve.”

North Dakota

  • Stay-at-home order issued: North Dakota did not issue a stay-at-home order. Gov. Doug Burgum (R) issued an executive order closing nonessential businesses in some industries, including recreational facilities, movie theaters, tanning and tattoo parlors, and barbershops, on March 27.
  • Date of initial reopening: May 1
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of North Dakota’s reopening plan, “Smart Restart.”

Ohio

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 22
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 19
  • Date of initial reopening: May 4
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Ohio’s reopening plan, “Responsible Restart.”

Oklahoma

  • Stay-at-home order issued: April 1
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 6
  • Date of initial reopening: April 24
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Oklahoma’s reopening plan, “Open Up and Recover Safely.”

Oregon

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 23
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: June 19
  • Date of initial reopening: May 15
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Oregon’s reopening plan, “Building a Safe and Strong Oregon.”

Pennsylvania

  • Stay-at-home order issued: April 1
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: June 4
  • Date of initial reopening: May 8
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan.

Rhode Island

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 28
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 8
  • Date of initial reopening: May 9
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Rhode Island’s reopening plan, “Reopening RI: Charting the Course.”

South Carolina

  • Stay-at-home order issued: April 6
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 4
  • Date of initial reopening: April 20
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of South Carolina’s reopening plan, “Accelerate SC.”

South Dakota

  • Stay-at-home order issued: South Dakota did not issue a stay-at-home order.
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of South Dakota’s reopening plan, “Back to Normal.”

Tennessee

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 30
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: April 30
  • Date of initial reopening: April 27
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Tennessee’s reopening plan, “Tennessee Pledge.”

Texas

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 31
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: April 30
  • Date of initial reopening: April 24
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Texas’ reopening plan, “Texans Helping Texans.”

Utah

  • Stay-at-home order issued: Utah did not issue a stay-at-home order. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) closed some businesses and limited gatherings beginning March 26.
  • Date of initial reopening: May 1
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Utah’s reopening plan, “Utah leads together.”

Vermont

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 24.
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 15
  • Date of initial reopening: April 20
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Vermont’s reopening plan, “Be Smart, Stay Safe.”

Virginia

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 30.
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: June 10
  • Date of initial reopening: May 15
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Virginia’s reopening plan, “Forward Virginia.”

Washington

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 23
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 31
  • Date of initial reopening: May 5
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Washington’s reopening plan, “Safe Start Washington.”

West Virginia

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 24
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 4
  • Date of initial reopening: April 30
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of West Virginia’s reopening plan, “The Comeback.”

Wisconsin

  • Stay-at-home order issued: March 24
  • Stay-at-home order lifted: May 13
  • Date of initial reopening: April 24
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Wisconsin’s reopening plan, “Badger Bounce Back.”

Wyoming

  • Stay-at-home order issued: Wyoming did not issue a stay-at-home order. Governor Mark Gordon (R) closed some businesses beginning March 20.
  • Date of initial reopening: May 1
  • Reopening plan: Click here for a summary of Wyoming’s reopening plan, “A Transition Plan for a Healthy Wyoming.”

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.

  • One of Maine’s two casinos, Bangor’s Hollywood Casino, reopens July 10. The reopening comes after state officials and casino executives reached an agreement on capacity limits and other mitigation measures. Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said the overall capacity limit casinos will be 200 people, with no more than 50 people allowed in each of four zones into which the casinos will be divided. Face coverings will be required.
  • Walt Disney World will begin a phased reopening of its parks on July 11. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will open to guests on July 11, while Hollywood Studios and Epcot will open to guests on July 15.
  • Metro Nashville Public Schools, in Nashville, Tennessee, announced on July 9 that students would not have the option of returning to classrooms this fall as originally planned. Instead, students will start the year learning remotely.


Coronavirus weekly update: July 3 – July 9, 2020

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics: Coronavirus Weekly Updates
From March 18 to June 10, Coronavirus Daily Update provided a daily summary of major changes due to the coronavirus pandemic in politics, government, and elections. Now, we cover those same stories in a weekly format sent out on Thursday afternoons.

Today, you will find updates on the following topics, with comparisons to our previous edition released on July 2:

  • Stay-at-home orders
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Federal responses
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies
  • Election changes
  • Ballot measure changes
  • Travel restrictions
  • State legislation
  • State legislative sessions
  • State courts
  • Eviction and foreclosure policies
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials

We're tracking states' reopenings — subscribe to Documenting America's Path to Recovery to learn more

For daily news on state reopening plans and which industries and activities are permitted across the country, subscribe to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

As of July 9, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

California and New Mexico, both of which have a Democratic governor, are the only remaining states with an active stay-at-home order.

School closures and reopenings

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • In March and April, 48 states closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Those states accounted for 99.4% of the nation’s 50.6 million public school students. Montana and Wyoming did not require in-person instruction to close for the year. Montana schools were allowed to reopen on May 7 and Wyoming schools were allowed to reopen on May 15.
  • Seven states (Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wyoming) have reopened their campuses for students and staff.
    • No new states have reopened campuses since July 2.
  • Eleven states have issued reopening guidance and also announced a scheduled reopening.
    • One new state has done so since July 2.
  • Two states have announced schools will reopen in the fall but have not released reopening guidance.
    • No new states have made reopening announcements since July 2.
  • Officials in 13 other states have issued guidance for reopening schools to in-person instruction, but have not indicated when or whether they plan to do so.
    • No new states have released guidance for reopening schools since July 2.

Details:

  • Florida – On July 6, the Florida Department of Education ordered that all school boards and charter school governing boards must physically open schools for at least five days per week for all students beginning in August.
  • Kentucky – On July 6, the Kentucky Department of Education released guidelines on reopening schools in the fall. The document, a complement to interim guidance the Kentucky Department of Public Health issued in June, does not mandate a uniform course of action for reopening schools. Instead, “it is intended to be a guide for local school districts when developing and adapting their return-to-school plans.”
  • Montana – Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced guidelines for reopening schools. The plan encourages schools to consider several precautions, including limiting occupancy, adjusting transportation schedules, and adopting special cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Texas – On July 7, Education Commissioner Mike Morath released guidance for reopening schools in the fall. Parents will be able to choose between on-campus and distance learning options. Masks will be required in school buildings.

1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The United States held midterm elections as scheduled during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. Each week, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On Nov. 6, 1918, the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune published “Health Before Politics.” Covington, Ohio’s Health Department issued an order that prohibited crowds from gathering to hear election results.

“Covington’s Health Department issued an order Tuesday prohibiting the congregation of crowds in the County Clerk’s office Tuesday night to hear the election returns. It is usual for several hundred eager voters to crowd the office on election nights.” 

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On July 7, the federal government awarded $1.6 billion to Novavax Inc. for clinical studies of a coronavirus vaccine, and $450 million to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to manufacture doses of an experimental treatment for COVID-19.

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 381 lawsuits, in 45 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 150 of those lawsuits.
    • Since July 2, we have added 61 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 29 court orders and/or settlements.
  • Ballotpedia has separately tracked another 127 lawsuits, in 37 states, dealing with election issues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 62 of those lawsuits.

Here are three recent lawsuits that have either garnered significant national media attention or involve major advocacy groups.

  • Michigan v. DeVos: On July 7, Michigan, California, the District of Columbia, Maine, New Mexico, and Wisconsin sued U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging the U.S. Department of Education has unlawfully and erroneously interpreted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Plaintiffs claim the CARES Act “directs states to distribute CARES Act funds to local educational agencies” in proportion to “the number of children who are economically disadvantaged,” in accordance with Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The plaintiffs say, counter to congressional intent, the Department’s allocation of the $30.75 billion earmarked for schools has been based on the total number of all students—public and private—regardless of economic disadvantage. Plaintiffs say this “deprives low-income and at-risk students, their teachers, and the public schools that serve them of critical resources to meet students’ educational and social-emotional needs during and after pandemic-related school closures.”
  • When asked about the lawsuit, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said, “This isn’t how it should work. This is a virus that has had a disproportionate impact on low-income students and communities of color. Schools in these areas deserve a government that will support them throughout this crisis.” U.S. Department of Education Press Secretary Angela Morabito said, “The secretary has said many times, this pandemic affected all students, and the CARES Act requires that funding should be used to help all students.” The case is currently assigned to Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim.
  • Forest v. Cooper: On July 1, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) filed suit against Gov. Roy Cooper (D) in Wake County’s Tenth Judicial District Court, alleging procedural violations in Cooper’s implementation of COVID-19 restrictions. Forest seeks an injunction against enforcement of Cooper’s executive orders 118, 121, 135, 138, 141, and 147 (collectively referred to as the “shutdown orders”). These orders have limited food and beverage service at restaurants, mandated social distancing, limited mass gatherings, restricted travel, closed certain businesses, and provided for business reopening plans. Forest alleges Cooper failed “to receive the concurrence of the council of state prior to the shutdown being issued, “violating the North Carolina Emergency Management Act. The council of state is the collective name for North Carolina’s elected senior executive offices, including the lieutenant governor. Forest also alleges Cooper’s orders violate provisions of North Carolina’s quarantine and isolation statutes. In a press release, Forest said his intention was not to challenge the substance of the orders, but the nature of their issuance. Cooper has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
  • Sehmel v. Weisman: On July 1, a group of seven Washington residents sued Secretary of Health John Weisman in Lewis County Superior Court, seeking to prevent enforcement of Health Order 20-03, which mandates face coverings in public. Plaintiffs allege the mask requirement is arbitrary, capricious, and outside the statutory authority of the health secretary. Plaintiffs also say masks have become so politicized they amount to symbolic speech. Compelling people to wear masks “prohibits plaintiffs from expressing dissent” in violation of their right to free speech. Plaintiffs also claim that because they “have a fundamental right to wear the clothing of their choice and protect their own health as they see fit,” the mask requirement invades their personal autonomy in violation of their right to substantive due process. Shella Sadovnik, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “[The] Secretary of Health does not have sweeping power to pass rules and regulations imposing criminal penalties for refusing to kneel in submission.” Weisman has not yet commented, and the case does not yet appear on the court’s docket.

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty states have postponed state-level primary or special elections.
    • No new states have postponed elections since July 2.
  • Eighteen states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
    • No new states have made candidate filing modifications since July 2.
  • Thirty-six states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
    • Five states have made voting procedure modifications since July 2.
  • Political parties in 19 states have made modifications to party events on a statewide basis.
    • One state has made modifications to party events since July 2.

Details:

  • Alabama – On July 2, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily suspended a district court order barring Alabama election officials from enforcing witness and photo ID requirements for select voters casting absentee ballots in the July 14 runoff. This action allows the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to hear a pending appeal of the district court’s decision.
  • Arkansas – On July 2, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and Secretary of State John Thurston (R) announced that voters in the Nov. 3 general election would be allowed to cite concerns over COVID-19 as a valid excuse for voting absentee.
  • Maryland – On July 8, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered the state board of elections to automatically send all qualified voters absentee/mail-in ballot request forms automatically to all qualified voters in the Nov. 3 general election.
  • Massachusetts – On July 6, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed into law legislation extending vote-by-mail eligibility in the fall primary and general elections to all qualified voters.
  • Texas – On July 8, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the cancellation of the state convention of the Republican Party of Texas. The convention had been scheduled for July 16 through July 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
  • Vermont – On July 2, Vermont S348 became law without the signature of Gov. Phil Scott (R). The legislation authorizes the secretary of state to implement modifications to election procedures without the approval of the governor.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • At least 18 lawsuits were filed in 13 states seeking court orders suspending or changing signature requirements and deadlines.
    • Ballotpedia has tracked two new lawsuits since July 2.
  • Rulings or settlements have been issued in 17 cases, with appeals pending in some.
    • Ballotpedia has tracked two new rulings since July 2
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 26 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
    • Ballotpedia tracked one new petition drive suspension since July 2.
  • Seven states and D.C. changed ballot measure procedures through executive orders or legislative action.
    • No new changes have been enacted since July 2, although an executive order in Colorado allowing remote signature gathering was overturned.
  • At least four initiative campaigns initially targeting 2020 reported they would shift their focus to 2022.

Details:

  • California – On July 2, Judge James P. Arguelles ordered the deadline for the 2022 Packaging Waste Reduction Regulations Initiative be extended to September 28, 2020, to account for the shelter-in-place order and coronavirus-related government restrictions. Michael J. Sangiacomo, the CEO of Recology and one of the three individuals who filed the initiative, sued Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) on June 23, 2020. The lawsuit sought to extend the deadline to file signatures for the initiative beyond July 6. The lawsuit asked the court to extend the deadline until all California counties have moved into the third reopening stage following the coronavirus stay-at-home order or by at least 90 days. In California, campaigns have 180 days to collect signatures for their ballot initiative. Arguelles also previously ordered a deadline extension for a 2022 sports betting initiative.

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Governors or state agencies in 24 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 13 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since July 2, four states have modified their travel restrictions.

Details:

  • Connecticut, New Jersey, New York – Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced on July 7 that visitors entering their states from Delaware, Kansas, and Oklahoma will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. The three governors announced the joint travel advisory on June 24. The initial list included eight states. It now applies to 19 states.
  • Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that residents who travel to 15 states with rising COVID-19 cases quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Pennsylvania. The states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

State legislation

Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • To date, 2,469 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 71 additional bills since July 2.
  • Of these, 308 significant bills have been enacted into law, approximately 12.5 percent of the total number introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
    • We have tracked 68 additional significant bills since July 2 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.)

State legislative session changes

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Seven state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Six of those have since reconvened.
    • No legislatures that had suspended their sessions have adjourned since July 2.
  • Thirty-eight legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
    • One legislature has adjourned a regular or special session since July 2.
  • Five state legislatures are in regular session.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings at the local level

Details:

  • Delaware –  Supreme Court Chief Justice Collins Seitz, Jr. extended the statewide judicial emergency through Aug. 6, keeping courts in phase two of reopening. Phase two prohibits jury trials.

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty-two states have current moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
    • Since July 2, one state has extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Twenty states have ended moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • California has current local moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.
  • Seven states did not issue a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures on the state or local level.

Details:

  • Pennsylvania – Gov. Tom Wolf (D) extended the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through Aug. 31. The order had been scheduled to expire on June 10.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Seven members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-four federal officials quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Forty-eight state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Seventy-four state-level incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least two local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 18 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since July 2, five state politicians, one local politician, and one influencer have tested positive for coronavirus.

Details:

  • Keisha Bottoms, the Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, announced on July 6 that she had tested positive for coronavirus but did not have symptoms.
  • New York State Senator Julia Salazar (D), who represents District 18, tested positive for coronavirus, according to a July 2 press release from Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D).
  • Mississippi State Rep. Philip Gunn (R), who represents District 56, announced he tested positive for coronavirus on July 5.
  • Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann (R) tested positive for coronavirus on July 7, according to a statement released by his spokesperson.
  • Mississippi State Rep. William Brown (D), who represents District 70, tested positive for coronavirus on July 4.
  • California State Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D), who represents District 62, tested positive for coronavirus on July 6.
  • Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain (R) announced on July 2 that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Learn more



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 9, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Provide in-depth summaries of the latest reopening plans.
  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days?

July 10

  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced malls will be able to reopen in Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan starting July 10. Before they reopen, malls will be required to implement ventilation protocols with HVAC systems capable of filtering the coronavirus.

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.

  • Kentucky (divided government): On July 8, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said he would announce a new series of requirements in response to rising COVID-19 case numbers in Kentucky. Beshear said, “The rising case numbers are cause for concern, so tomorrow we’re going to announce some new requirements that are going to be mandatory. Given what we are seeing across the country with exploding numbers in certain places, my commitment is to make sure that doesn’t happen here, but I can’t do it alone.” Beshear is expected to make the announcement at 4:00 p.m. on July 9. We will have full details in our July 10 issue.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): On July 8, Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued an executive order establishing expanded enforcement provisions for the state’s existing face-covering requirement. The order mandates that businesses require face coverings in retail stores with more than 50,000 square feet of shopping space, restaurants, outdoor bars and tasting rooms, and lodging establishments. The order applies to businesses in the counties of Hancock, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Cumberland, and York, and in the cities of Bangor, Brewer, Lewiston, Auburn, and Augusta. The requirement can be enforced by any governmental agency or official “that regulates licenses, permits, or otherwise authorizes the operation or occupancy of eating establishments, bars or tasting rooms, lodging operations and accommodations, businesses, buildings, parks and campgrounds.”
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced the release of minimum guidelines for colleges and universities reopening in the fall.
  • North Carolina (divided government): Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said on July 9 that he would announce new details on the state’s reopening plan next week. North Carolina is in Phase 2 of reopening. Cooper also said he would make an announcement about reopening schools in the fall.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): On July 9, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries in hospitals in 11 of the state’s trauma service areas. Texas is divided into 22 trauma service areas. The proclamation was aimed at expanding hospital capacity to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): On July 9, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced that when K-12 schools reopen, all students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be required to wear masks in buildings and on buses.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an order requiring state employees to wear masks at all times in state buildings beginning on July 13. State buildings will also be closed to the public indefinitely.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of July 9, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

California and New Mexico, both of which have a Democratic governor, are the only remaining states with an active stay-at-home order. 

Tracking industries: Indoor gathering size 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 June 4th edition of the newsletter.

  • Sixteen states have no statewide indoor gathering size limit. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and four have Democratic governors.
    • On June 4, ten states had no limit.
  • Eleven states have a limit between 1 and 25. Eight of those states have Democratic governors and three of those states have Republican governors.
    • On June 4, 28 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 June 4, nine states had a limit between 26 and 50.
  • Three states have a limit between 51 and 100. Two of those states have Republican governors and the other state has a Democratic governor.
    • On June 4, 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 June 4, two states had limits greater than 100.

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know. Click a state below to read a previous Featured Plan.

Alabama Georgia Maine Nevada Oregon Virginia
Alaska Hawaii Maryland New Hampshire Pennsylvania Washington
Arizona Idaho Massachusetts New Jersey Rhode Island West Virginia
Arkansas Illinois Michigan New Mexico South Carolina Wisconsin
California Indiana Minnesota New York South Dakota
Colorado Iowa Mississippi North Carolina Tennessee
Connecticut Kansas Missouri North Dakota Texas
Delaware Kentucky Montana Ohio Utah
Florida Louisiana Nebraska Oklahoma Vermont

On April 23, Gov. Mark Gordon announced the state could start reopening by April 30 and released A Transition Plan for a Healthy Wyoming. In a press release, Gordon said, “Our transition must be health data-driven, not date-driven. If the people of Wyoming continue to do the right thing and we see the improvements we need to see, we will continue our transition.”

The transition plan described general parameters for reopening: “The transition will be gradual and phased. In the weeks and months ahead, Wyoming residents should know there may be future actions, orders and recommendations put into place to continue to protect lives.” The plan also said the state might reopen along regional or local lines, depending on health data.

Unlike many other states, Wyoming’s plan did not include a comprehensive list of planned phases.

According to the document, the state’s reopening decisions are based on the following metrics:

  • Number of new cases over time
  • Number of cases attributed to community spread over time
  • Positivity rate
  • Number of COVID-19 hospital admissions
  • Stability of hospital bed availability
  • Stability of ICU bed availability

Context

  • Wyoming did not issue a statewide stay-at-home order. Gordon issued an order closing what the state classified as non-essential businesses on March 20.
  • As of July 8, there had been 1,404 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Wyoming and 21 confirmed deaths. A total of 38,577 residents had been tested, amounting to a positive test rate of 3.6 percent. As of July 2019, Wyoming’s estimated population was 578,759. Per 100,000 residents, there have been 242.6 confirmed positives, 3.6 confirmed deaths, and 6,665.5 total tests.
  • Wyoming is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

Wyoming’s transition plan did not contain guidance or requirements for businesses or individuals. Below is a timeline of executive orders issued by the governor and other state officials, starting with the March 20 business closure.

March 20

Gordon ordered the following businesses and services to close:

  • Schools (K-12 and colleges)
  • Theaters
  • Dine-in services at restaurants and bars
  • Employee cafeterias
  • Nightclubs
  • Gyms
  • Museums

March 21

State health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist issued a supplemental order for individuals prohibiting gatherings of over 10 people.

May 1

Gordon authorized the following businesses and services to reopen:

  • Gyms
  • Personal care services (including barbershops and salons)

May 13

State health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist issued a supplemental order for individuals raising the gathering limit to 25 people.

May 15

Gordon authorized the following businesses and services to reopen:

  • Gyms (classes up to 20 people)
  • Indoor and outdoor dining service at bars and restaurants
  • Movie theaters and performance venues
  • Nightclubs
  • Childcare centers

May 27

Gordon raised limits for outdoor gathering to 250 people.

June 10

Gordon authorized the following businesses and services to reopen:

  • Schools (K-12 and colleges)

June 15

Gordon raised limits for indoor gatherings to 250 people with social distancing or 50 people when social distancing is not possible.

June 17

The state updated guidance to allow for outdoor visitation at long term care facilities.

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.

  • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the cancellation of the state convention of the Republican Party of Texas. The convention had been scheduled for July 16 through July 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Turner cited the COVID-19 epidemic in Houston as the reason for the cancellation. State Republicans criticized the move, saying they intended to pursue legal action against the city.
  • Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) ordered the state board of elections to automatically send all qualified voters absentee/mail-in ballot request forms for the Nov. 3 general election. Hogan also ordered that all early voting centers and all Election Day polling locations be open on Nov. 3 for voters who choose to cast their ballots in person.
  • On July 7, Michigan, California, the District of Columbia, Maine, New Mexico, and Wisconsin sued U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging the U.S. Department of Education has unlawfully and erroneously interpreted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Plaintiffs claim the CARES Act “directs states to distribute CARES Act funds to local educational agencies” in proportion to “the number of children who are economically disadvantaged,” in accordance with Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The plaintiffs say, counter to congressional intent, the Department’s allocation of the $30.75 billion earmarked for schools has been based on the total number of all students—public and private—regardless of economic disadvantage. Plaintiffs say this “deprives low-income and at-risk students, their teachers, and the public schools that serve them of critical resources to meet students’ educational and social-emotional needs during and after pandemic-related school closures.”
  • Disneyland began its first phase of reopening on July 9, opening its Downtown Disney shopping and dining district. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has issued orders affecting Orange County that restricts restaurants to outside service only.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: July 8, 2020

Each day, we:

  • Track the status of reopening in all 50 states.
  • Compare the status of one industry or activity across the country.
  • Provide in-depth summaries of the latest reopening plans.
  • Give you the latest stories on other reopening plans and ideas.

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days?

July 9

  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): One of Maine’s two casinos, Bangor’s Hollywood Casino, will reopen on July 9. The expected reopening comes after state officials and casino executives reached an agreement on capacity limits and other mitigation measures. Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said the overall capacity limit for each casino will be 200 people, with no more than 50 people allowed in each of four zones into which the casinos will be divided. Face coverings will be required.

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.

  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is signing an executive order on July 8 requiring individuals to wear face masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): The Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced on July 7 that in-person visitations will resume at some prisons. To resume in-person visitations, facilities will need to develop a written plan and require staff, incarcerated adults, and visitors to wear masks at all times.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): The state is beginning to allow limited visits to long-term care and assisted living facilities on July 8. Before opening to visitors, facilities must develop visitation plans which must be approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath released guidance for reopening schools in the fall on July 7. Parents will be able to choose between on-campus and distance learning options. Masks will be required in school buildings.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On July 7, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced that businesses are prohibited from serving customers in public settings who do not wear face coverings. Customers are likewise prohibited from entering businesses without a face covering. Inslee also modified Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the reopening plan to prohibit bars and taverns from offering bar-style seating and live music.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of July 8, stay-at-home orders have ended in 41 states. Nineteen of those states have Republican governors and 22 have Democratic governors (including Wisconsin, where the state supreme court invalidated the stay-at-home order).

California and New Mexico, both of which have a Democratic governor, are the only remaining states with an active stay-at-home order. 

Tracking activities: 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 June 23rd edition of the newsletter. Since then, the following seven states have allowed visits to nursing homes: Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Click a state below to read a previous Featured Plan.

Alabama Florida Kentucky Missouri North Carolina Tennessee
Alaska Georgia Louisiana Montana Ohio Utah
Arizona Hawaii Maine Nebraska Oklahoma Vermont
Arkansas Idaho Maryland Nevada Oregon Virginia
California Illinois Massachusetts New Hampshire Pennsylvania Washington
Colorado Indiana Michigan New Jersey Rhode Island West Virginia
Connecticut Iowa Minnesota New Mexico South Carolina Wisconsin
Delaware Kansas Mississippi New York South Dakota

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced protocols for the Smart Restart reopening plan on April 28. The plan has five stages: Critical Risk (red), High Risk (orange), Moderate Risk (yellow), Low Risk (green), and New Normal (blue). The state never operated under the Critical Risk phase, but the plan says reopenings can be reversed if the state does not contain the virus.

The plan took effect on May 1, allowing most businesses to reopen in the Moderate Risk phase. This included gyms, restaurants and bars for dine-in service, barbershops and salons, and bowling alleys. Gatherings in facilities were capped at 50% occupancy or 250 people—whichever was fewer.

The state is currently in the Low Risk phase of reopening, which allows gaming and blackjack tables to reopen with social distancing measures. Gatherings in facilities are limited to 75% occupancy up to 500 people.

In a note introducing the plan, Burgum said, “Working together – as North Dakotans do better than anyone during a crisis – we can continue to reduce the risk to the general public and especially our most vulnerable populations. And in doing so, we can thoughtfully restart those limited sectors of our economy that were restricted as we fought to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure hospital capacity to handle any surge in cases.”

The state’s reopening is contingent on the following criteria:

Context

  • North Dakota did not issue a statewide stay-at-home order. Burgum issued an order closing what the state classified as non-essential businesses on March 27.
  • As of July 8, there had been 3,971 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in North Dakota and 85 confirmed deaths. A total of 115,839 residents had been tested, amounting to a positive test rate of 3.4 percent. As of July 2019, North Dakota’s estimated population was 762,062. Per 100,000 residents, there have been 51.3 confirmed positives, 11.2 confirmed deaths, and 15,200.7 total tests.
  • North Dakota is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

General guidelines

Individuals

Although North Dakota did not issue legal restrictions for individuals (such as a stay-at-home order, mask requirement, or required gathering limit), the Smart Restart plan included the following recommendations:

  1. Common Sense and Personal Accountability – Public health guidance cannot anticipate every unique situation. Residents and businesses must take personal accountability to be informed and take actions based on common sense and wise judgment that will protect health and support economic reactivation.
  2. Protective Hygiene and Cleaning – North Dakotans must continue to practice good hygiene and cleaning regimens to minimize the risk of the virus. These include but are not limited to the following:
    • Stay home when sick
    • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as feasible
    • Use hand sanitizer after interactions with people or objects
    • Cough or sneeze into the sleeve or elbow, not hands
    • Clean high-touch surfaces (buttons, door handles, counters, etc.) regularly
    • Avoid touching your face
    • Use cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing cannot be maintained
    • Refrain from hand shaking
  3. Follow Guidance – Public health and economic opportunity are intrinsically linked. North Dakotans must strictly follow the health guidance of each color or risk backtracking and causing greater harm.
  4. High-risk / Vulnerable Populations – High-risk populations and those around them must follow a specific set of instructions issued by the Governor and the North Dakota Department of Health.

Detailed guidance for high-risk individuals is available on page 13 of the plan.

Businesses

North Dakota’s Standards for all Industries direct businesses to do the following in all stages of the reopening plan:

  • Mark six-foot increments where lines form.
  • Post signage (state provided) at all entrances of the facility informing all employees and customers that they should:
    • Avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever.
    • Maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another.
    • Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Limit unnecessary contact such as hugging and shaking hands.
  • Encourage use of cloth face coverings to employees and contracted workers whose duties require close contact (within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more) with other employees and/or the public.
  • Provide contactless payment systems or, if not feasible, disinfect all payment portals, pens and styluses after each use.
  • Provide hand sanitizer, soap and water or effective disinfectant at or near the entrance of the facility and in other appropriate areas for use by the public and employees, and in locations where there is high frequency employee interaction with members of the public (e.g. cashiers). Keep chemicals out of reach of small children. Restrooms normally open to the public shall remain open to the public with heightened hygiene and cleaning standards.
  • Regularly disinfect other high-touch surfaces according to industry standard operating procedures in conjunction with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use for staff.
  • Develop policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick staff and customers.
  • Encourage customers to download the Care19 Diary and Care19 Exposure Apps to increase success levels with contact tracing.

Phase guidance

North Dakota’s reopening plan contains the following on what is permitted and recommended for businesses in each phase by industry.

Critical Risk (red)

North Dakota has not operated under the Critical Risk phase. In this phase, if implemented, businesses would be closed except those necessary for critical infrastructure. Since the state has never entered this phase, specific guidance is not available. The plan notes the following general guidelines for businesses that remain open:

  • Employees work remotely, when possible
  • Essential employers should follow industry-specific best practices
  • Monitor workforce for coronavirus symptoms
  • Cancel non-essential gatherings like staff meetings and after-work functions

High Risk (orange)

North Dakota operated under the High Risk phase from March 27 to May 1. The following businesses and services the state classified as non-essential were closed:

  • Dine-in at bars and restaurants
  • Entertainment facilities (including theaters and music performance venues)
  • Gyms and health clubs
  • All licensed cosmetologist (including barbershops and salons)
  • Elective personal care services (including tattoo, tanning, and massage facilities)

General guidelines:

  • Employees work remotely, when possible
  • Essential employers should follow industry-specific best practices
  • Monitor workforce for coronavirus symptoms
  • Cancel non-essential gatherings like staff meetings and after-work functions

Moderate Risk (yellow)

North Dakota operated under the Moderate Risk phase from May 1 to May 29. The following non-essential businesses and services could reopen at 50% capacity (with no more than 250 people in any facility) in compliance with industry-specific requirements:

  • Dine-in at bars and restaurants
  • Entertainment facilities (including theaters, music performance venues, and sports venues)
  • Gyms and health clubs
  • All licensed cosmetologist (including barbershops and salons)
  • Elective personal care services (including tattoo, tanning, and massage facilities)

General guidelines:

  • Employees work remotely, when possible
  • Monitor workforce for coronavirus symptoms

Low Risk (green)

North Dakota is currently in the Low Risk phase of reopening. The following non-essential businesses and services can open at 75% capacity (with no more than 500 people in any facility) in compliance with industry-specific requirements:

  • Dine-in at bars and restaurants
  • Entertainment facilities (including theaters, music performance venues, and sports venues)
  • Gyms and health clubs
  • All licensed cosmetologist (including barbershops and salons)
  • Elective personal care services (including tattoo, tanning, and massage facilities)

General guidelines:

  • Employers should coordinate flexible schedules
  • Clean high-touch surfaces
  • Practice social distancing
  • Monitor workforce for coronavirus symptoms

New Normal (blue)

The state may enter the New Normal phase after experiencing downward trends in new positive coronavirus cases, COVID-like illnesses, and influenza-like illness after entering the Low Risk phase. The state must also hit testing, treatment, and positivity benchmarks. During the blue phase, the following non-essential businesses and services will be able to open at full capacity and large gatherings and events will be permitted in compliance with industry-specific requirements:

  • Dine-in at bars and restaurants
  • Entertainment facilities (including theaters, music performance venues, and sports venues)
  • Gyms and health clubs
  • All licensed cosmetologist (including barbershops and salons)
  • Elective personal care services (including tattoo, tanning, and massage facilities)

General guidelines:

  • Operate under a new normal with heightened cleaning and hygiene practices
  • Monitor workforce for coronavirus symptoms

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.

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said that schools would reopen in the fall using a hybrid learning approach. Students will attend school between two or three days per week, and join classes remotely on the others.
  • The state of California approved Santa Clara County’s request to reopen personal care services and gyms on July 13. The state had denied the county’s request on July 6.
  • The State Fair of Texas announced it would not open in 2020 due to the coronavirus. The fair, canceled eight times in its 134-year history, is the largest and longest-running fair in the United States.
  • On July 1, a group of seven Washington residents sued Secretary of Health John Weisman in Lewis County Superior Court, seeking to enjoin enforcement of Health Order 20-03, which mandates face coverings in public. Plaintiffs argue the mask requirement is arbitrary, capricious, and outside the statutory authority of the health secretary. Plaintiffs further argue masks have become so politicized that they amount to symbolic speech; therefore, compelling the wearing of a mask “prohibits plaintiffs from expressing dissent” in violation of their right to free speech. Plaintiffs also claim that, because they “have a fundamental right to wear the clothing of their choice and protect their own health as they see fit,” the mask requirement invades their personal autonomy in violation of their right to substantive due process. Shella Sadovnik, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “[The] Secretary of Health does not have sweeping power to pass rules and regulations imposing criminal penalties for refusing to kneel in submission.” Weisman has not yet commented, and the case does not yet appear on the court’s docket.


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