GovWin SLED Weekly Coronavirus Recon

Published: August 28, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicRecon

GovWin's SLED Coronavirus Recon, produced by Deltek's SLED Market Research team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by state, local, and educational (SLED) entities and the contractors that support them.

General

  • With improving virus data, California looks to reopen again
    • California is poised to take another halting step toward normalcy with Gov. Gavin Newsom expected to announce plans for reopening businesses that were shuttered in July amid soaring coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
  • Nevada joins states using Apple-Google API for contact tracing app
    • The state of Nevada this week became the latest state to release a mobile app for tracking COVID-19 using a platform developed jointly by Apple and Google.
  • New Hampshire Announces Second Round of Broadband Funding
    • Gov. Chris Sununu announced during a news conference that $14 million will be awarded to vendors who have proposed broadband infrastructure projects in underserved rural areas of the state.
  • (Utah) State eliminates income tax on COVID-19 funding
    • The Utah Legislature unanimously passed S.B. 6005, Income Tax Amendments, eliminating state income tax on PPP grants and CARES Act funding, easing burdens for Utah families and businesses, according to a statement from lawmakers.
  • Pandemic giving ransomware 'greater attack surface' as tactics shift, ex-FBI agent says
    • A former FBI cybercrime investigator told StateScoop this week that the coronavirus pandemic’s effect of forcing entire organizations to work remotely has given ransomware actors a bigger canvas than before, while hackers’ tactics continue to mature into new threats.
  • Coronavirus data errors reveal 'uncharted waters' for states
    • A newly revealed glitch in Iowa’s coronavirus data platform was blamed this week for artificially lowering the state’s reported numbers of new infections and positive diagnostic test results.
    • This resulted in potentially thousands of recent COVID-19 cases being counted as having occurred several months ago, creating what one nurse called a “horrifying” effect on the state’s ability to safely reopen schools and other facilities.
  • From AI to chatbots, tech shines in agencies’ COVID-19 response
    • Many agencies have seen a major uptick in citizens just wanting more information on how the virus is spread, its symptoms and how many people had contracted it.
    • With a huge need for communications, things like AI, things like chatbots, things where you have a dialogue flow going, will be critical.

Funding & Economic Impact

Higher Education

K-12 Education

  • Arizona Health Department deems it safe for school to resume partially in 4 counties
    • The four counties that have met the three benchmarks are Apache, Greenlee, La Paz and Yavapai. That means each of them has had fewer than 7% of their COVID-19 tests come back positive for two weeks, fewer than 10% of people showing up at hospitals with COVID-like symptoms, and two weeks with fewer than 100 cases for every 100,000 residents.
  • (Idaho) State Board approves funding change for schools during COVID uncertainty
    • The State Board of Education approved a temporary proposed rule that allows Idaho schools to use student enrollment rather than in-person attendance as a way to collect state funding.
  • Secretary DeVos Launches Grant Program to Promote Institutional Resiliency and Expand Educational Opportunity for Students
    • Secretary DeVos announced a new grant program designed to help institutions of education emerge from the coronavirus pandemic more resilient and better able to expand educational opportunities for students.
    • The grants can be utilized in a variety of ways, including resuming operations, supporting students, reducing disease transmission, and developing more agile instructional delivery models for students who cannot or choose not to attend classes in person. This grant program also recognizes the benefits to high school students of starting their college career early, while still in high school, and gives priority to applicants who plan to expand those opportunities to students who live or attend high school in an Opportunity Zone or rural community.
  • Texas Education Agency announces new COVID-19 tracking system for public schools
    • A new tracking system will monitor and report confirmed COVID-19 cases in public schools statewide starting in September, according to a joint press statement from the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
    • According to a press release, school systems will be required to report COVID-19 cases to the DSHS, and this data, including cases and outbreaks on campuses, will be posted publicly.
  • (Arizona) Breaking the COVID-19 slide in K-12 students
    • A new national study predicts a steeper learning loss that will widen achievement gaps. The Northwest Evaluation Association analyzed 5 million students in grades 3 to 8. The organization is projecting the reading loss will be about 30 percent beyond the normal summer slide and about 50 percent in math.
    • One district is trying to prevent a deeper slide by having teachers tackle learning declines in real time, meaning teachers are not waiting for weekly or monthly assessments that determine gaps in learning.
  • For students without home internet during pandemic, could FCC's E-Rate help?
    • The Federal Communications Commission has promoted several emergency measures to boost broadband connectivity during the coronavirus pandemic, which has required millions of people to rely on inadequate at-home internet connections for work and school. But without an immediate expansion of the agency’s E-Rate program — a K-12 school-based broadband subsidy created in 1996 — students around the country will continually be locked out of their virtual classrooms.

Health Care

Social Services 

Justice/Public Safety

  • Prisons Are Also Battling against the Coronavirus Pandemic
    • As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, many of us have the opportunity to social distance, avoid public gatherings, or change our daily lifestyle to reduce the risk of infection. However, prisoners are in a much more difficult position.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Prepares To Commute More Sentences Of Inmates Vulnerable To COVID-19
    • Oregon’s Department of Corrections has seen some of the state’s biggest outbreaks of COVID-19 with the governor having already commuted 57 people from their sentences in June. Now, the governor is considering another release of inmates who are within certain parameters of health vulnerability in addition to the type and length of sentence they are serving. This would include those within two months of release, not serving for a violent crime against another person, access to suitable housing upon release, and having had good behavior while in custody for at least a year.

Transportation

Public Utilities

Community Development/Housing

  • Application period opens for Illinois’ COVID-19 mortgage assistance program
    • The Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program will distribute funds directly to the financial institution through which a household’s mortgage is serviced. That money can go toward past-due payments as well as future ones. No repayment is required.
  • Months Later, Communities Still Await Federal Homeless Aid
    • Four months after Congress rushed $4 billion to help the nation’s homeless population cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, most of those funds still have not made their way to local communities, the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism found, and even those with access to the money have yet to receive federal guidelines on how it can be spent.
  • (Georgia) How an Atlanta park is connecting people to housing through place-based social service provision
    • Cities across the nation can learn lessons from the public spaces that have already infused social service provision and housing-first strategies into their everyday management. One such place is Atlanta’s Woodruff Park.
  • (Connecticut) State’s COVID rental assistance program is likely running out of funds
    • When state officials set aside $20 million to help people struggling to pay rent during the pandemic, that money was supposed to help at least 5,000 people by giving them up to $4,000 in assistance
    • 5,800 people have qualified for the help, and the state’s hotline continues to field about 200 calls a day. It’s unclear whether the state will be able to stretch the funds further because  some applicants need less than $4,000 in aid.