As COVID-19 cases skyrocket among teachers, school officials in Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and Nevada announced this week that they will temporarily close or switch to learning remotely in a context of worsening teacher shortage.
In Indiana, at least four school districts in Marion County made the switch to distance learning this week, including Indianapolis public schools, said Wednesday that the decision “was made on the basis of the number of staff absences, including COVID-19 isolation and mid and high school quarantines. “
North Carolina has moved to allow state employees to use their volunteer days to replace paid substitute teachers, Governor Roy Cooper said on Wednesday. In Nevada, all schools in the Carson City School District were also closed for part of this week due to an increase in the number of staff infected with COVID-19.
Maryland’s largest school district has asked the National Guard to replace bus drivers after staff increases resulted in the cancellation of 40 to 80 bus lines, ABC News reported.
Meanwhile, students across the country are holding walkouts this week to demand a voice in the ongoing battles over in-person and distance learning.
Samantha Farrow, a 16-year-old activist student at Stuyvesant High School and organizer of a walkout this week, said many schools in New York City remained “pretty desolate” with classrooms half empty and empty. countless missing teachers.
Farrow said most of his teachers this week were absent due to exposure or infection. Due to understaffing, most days were “non-teaching days” spent reading alone or scrolling through her phone.
“It doesn’t seem like a good use of our time,” she said.
In a reversal of his pledge to keep students in schools, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday he is also considering a return to distance learning as student attendance is also weakening amid the peaks of COVID-19 cases.
Also in the news:
►As some experts say the current wave of COVID-19 could peak, new coronavirus cases have declined slightly for the second time this week. The United States reported some 5.51 million cases in the week ending Thursday, up from 5.53 million revised in the week ending Wednesday, according to USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University .
►President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the government will double rapid home COVID-19 tests to 1 billion that will be distributed free to Americans.
► Cruise lines will no longer be required to follow COVID-19 guidelines on ships, as the CDC’s framework for the conditional navigation order, which was extended and changed in October, will expire on Saturday.
??The numbers of the day: The United States has recorded more than 63.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 846,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 319 million cases and nearly 5.5 million deaths. More than 208 million Americans – 62.8% – are fully immunized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
??What we read: When will this wave of COVID end? Scientists are looking for clues in your wastewater.
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Novak Djokovic at risk of deportation again after Australian government revokes visa for second time
Tennis star Novak Djokovic is at risk of deportation again after the Australian government revoked his visa for the second time.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said on Friday he had used his discretion to revoke the 34-year-old Serbian’s visa on public policy grounds three days before the start of the Australian Open. Djokovic’s lawyers are expected to appeal the annulment to the Federal Circuit and Family Court, as they successfully did after the first annulment.
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne last week to defend his Australian Open title. His exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement to compete has been approved by the state government of Victoria and Tennis Australia, the tournament organizer. This apparently enabled him to receive a visa to travel.
But the Australian Border Force rejected the exemption and canceled his visa upon arrival in Melbourne. Djokovic spent four nights in a migrant detention hotel before a judge overturned the ruling on Monday.
– The Associated Press
Center for COVID Control to ‘Suspend’ Testing Sites Nationwide
A coronavirus testing company under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice and which has drawn criticism from customers in several states on Thursday announced a “week-long hiatus from all operations.”
The break was scheduled to take effect from Friday to January 21 at all Center for COVID Control test sites. The Illinois-based company’s website says it has more than 300 U.S. locations in multiple states. Two of them, Massachusetts and Washington, took action this week to shut down several of the company’s testing centers in their communities.
In an internal company memo to “all site owners and managers” obtained by USA TODAY, the Center for COVID Control cited “extensive media review of our collection site operations” during last week. The company claims to process 80,000 test requests per day.
“This, coupled with various customer complaints, has caused various state health departments and even the Department of Justice to take a close interest in our business,” the notice reads.
– Grace Hauck, USA TODAY
Supreme Court blocks mandate for COVID-19 vaccine or test for workplaces
The Supreme Court on Thursday suspended the application of one of President Joe Biden’s signature efforts to fight COVID-19, ruling that his administration did not have the power to impose vaccine or testing requirements on employers who would have covered tens of millions of Americans.
The unsigned opinion, which came days after judges heard arguments in the emergency appeal, marked the second time that the country’s highest court has unraveled a pandemic policy of the Biden administration, concluding in again that federal officials had overstepped the power vested in them by Congress. The court blocked the moratorium on Biden’s evictions in August, ruling it was also an overrun.
The issue in the workplace case was whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had the power to impose the requirements under a 1970 statute.
It was not immediately clear what options, if any, the Biden administration has to respond to the decision. In a statement, the president said he was “disappointed” and that it was now “up to states and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees.” Learn more here about what could be Biden’s next vaccination campaign.
– John Fritze, USA TODAY
Contributor: Celina Tebor, USA TODAY; The Associated Press