School officials struggle to maintain schools as COVID-19-related cases rise among teachers.
This week, school districts from Indiana, Michigan and North Carolina announced that they will temporarily close their schools or move to remote learning in response to worsening teacher shortages.
At least four Marion County Schools districts including Indianapolis Public Schools have switched to remote learning in Indiana this week. IPS stated Wednesday that it was based on “the number of staff absents,” including quarantines and COVID-19 isolating at middle and high schools, and the absence of any students.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that state employees can use the allotted days of volunteer time to substitute for paid teachers. Roy Cooper declared Wednesday. Due to an increase in COVID-infected staff, all Carson City Schools District schools were closed for part of the week.
Other school employees are also being affected by the surge in cases caused by the omicron variation. ABC News reported that Maryland’s largest district school has requested the National Guard to take over for its bus drivers, following staffing shortages that resulted from the cancellations of 40-80 bus routes.
Samantha Farrow (16 years old) is a student activist at Stuyvesant high school and organized a walkout. She said that many New York City schools were left “pretty desolate”, with empty classrooms and countless teachers missing.
Farrow claimed that many of her teachers were absent this week because they had been exposed to or infected with COVID. Due to staffing shortages, most days have been “non-instructional days” spent reading on her own or scrolling through her phone.
She said, “It doesn’t seem like an efficient use of our time.”
Eric Adams, New York City mayor said Thursday that he has been considering returning to remote learning in light of declining student attendance and rising COVID cases.
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►President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the government will double to 1 billion the rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests to be distributed free to Americans.
►Cruise lines will no longer be obliged to follow COVID-19 guidance on ships as the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, which was extended and modified in October, will expire Saturday.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 63.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 846,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 319 million cases and nearly 5.5 million deaths. More than 208 million Americans – 62.8% – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘This is what we are readingThe Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday was it correct? Biden’s COVID vaccine campaign is a ‘danger in the heart’ Some say the president still has other options.
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Center for COVID Control national testing sites to “pause”
A nationwide coronavirus testing company under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice and which has drawn criticism from customers in several states announced on Thursday a “one-week pause on all operations.”
The pause was expected to take effect Friday through Jan. 21 at all Center for COVID Control testing sites. According to the website of the Illinois-based company, it boasts more than 300 sites in several U.S. states. Washington and Massachusetts were the other two that took immediate action to shutter several testing centres in their areas.
USA TODAY obtained an internal memo from the Center for COVID Control addressed to all location managers and owners. It stated that there had been “increased media scrutiny” of the operation at our collection sites over the last week. It processes approximately 80,000 tests per day, according to the company.
The notice stated that “This was combined with numerous customer complaints resulted in several state health departments and even the Department of Justice taking an keen interest in our business.”
— Grace Hauck, USA TODAY
Supreme Court defers to COVID testing mandate in workplaces
The Supreme Court on Thursday halted enforcement of one of President Joe Biden’s signature efforts to combat COVID-19, ruling that his administration doesn’t have the authority to impose vaccine-or-testing requirements on employers that would have covered tens of millions of Americans.
The unsigned opinion, which came days after the justices heard arguments in the emergency appeal, marked the second time the nation’s highest court unwound a pandemic policy of the Biden administration, again concluding that federal officials exceeded the power given to them by Congress. The court blocked Biden’s eviction moratorium in August, ruling that it also was an overreach.
At issue in the workplace case was whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had the power to impose the requirements under a 1970 law.
It was not immediately clear what, if any, options the Biden administration has to respond to the ruling. The president stated that he is “disappointed” and said it was up to the states and employers to decide whether their workplaces are as safe for workers as possible.
— John Fritze, USA TODAY
Celina Tebor (USA TODAY, The Associated Press) Contributing