GovWin SLED Weekly Coronavirus Recon - March 5, 2021

Published: March 05, 2021

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

Funding & Economic Impact

Procurement

  • (Missouri) St. Louis County CARES Act dollars used for out of state consultants
    • Millions intended for COVID-19 relief in St. Louis County wound up in the pockets of out of state consultants. Two lucrative contracts tapped the expertise of two separate firms.
    • The Boston Consulting Group received $1.9 million from St. Louis County CARES fund, while Community Catalyst received just over $500,000. St. Louis County's Director of Transformation defends the contract with the Boston Consulting Group.

Higher Education

  • Education Department Amplifies USDA Expansion of SNAP Benefits to Help Students Pursuing Postsecondary Education During Pandemic
    • As part of its ongoing efforts to ease the economic burden on millions of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education—in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—issued guidance to postsecondary institutions to inform them about temporarily expanded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility for students in need.
  • At least two Southeast Texas colleges will still require masks on campus
    • Gov. Greg Abbott announced earlier in the week that businesses will be able to fully reopen and the statewide mask mandate will end on Wednesday, March 10.
    • The TEA released a statement in response to the governor’s recent order and updated its Public Health Guidance. Under the updated guidance, a public school system’s current practices on masks may continue unchanged. Local school boards have full authority to determine their local mask policy. 
  • State University of New York system surpasses 3,000 COVID-19 cases one month into semester
    • The State University of New York (SUNY) system has reached a concerning milestone one month into the new semester of in-person classes. Since January 30 all SUNY schools have reported 3,000 cases of COVID-19. More than 2,000 of these have come from on-campus residents, with the other 1,000 occurring among students living off campus.

K-12 Education

  • (Washington) Inslee signs bill allowing COVID-19-related waivers of some graduation requirements
    • Struggling Washington state high school seniors are getting a hand in fulfilling their graduation requirements, as Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law on Tuesday a measure to aid students whose education has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • California Legislature approves school reopening plan
    • The California Legislature this afternoon approved a plan to encourage school districts to bring back more students for in-person instruction.
    • According to EdSource, the plan sets aside $2 billion as an incentive for schools that haven’t yet opened to start offering in-person instruction by April 1, while allocating $4.6 billing for all district to help districts meet measures in Gov. Gavin. Newsom’s “Safe Schools for All” plan.
  • Federal COVID relief plan includes $130 billion to help schools reopen
    • President Joe Biden's $130 billion school reopening plan focuses on making schools safer for teachers and students, although returning to school remains a contentious and difficult issue.
  • (Oregon) Schools spent most of federal aid on virtual learning
    • About $121 million that has arrived in Oregon so far has helped schools across the state purchase laptops, internet hotspots and program licenses to set up the virtual learning programs that have dominated the Oregon classroom experience over the last year.
  • Texas schools won't lose state funding this academic year for coronavirus attendance declines
    • School districts must keep or increase the rate of students learning in person in order to avoid losing funds, Gov. Greg Abbott and education officials announced.
  • Dr. Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Education
    • On March 1, by a bipartisan vote, the Senate approved Miguel Cardona as the 12th U.S. Secretary of Education. He was officially sworn in a day later.
    • Cardona penned an op-ed in USA Today found here focused on his plan to get students back in schools full-time in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • (North Carolina) State expands access to COVID-19 rapid testing in K-12 schools
    • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will be expanding access to COVID-19 rapid testing in K-12 public schools. Tests will be available at no cost to all Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and charter schools to test students and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms and to screen staff.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends diagnostic and screening testing as an additional prevention measure to the essential mitigation strategies of mask use and physical distancing, among others, which aligns with DHHS’s StrongSchoolNC guidance.
  • (Nevada) Plan would use pandemic stimulus funds for enhanced summer school
    • Democratic state lawmakers said they will propose using funds from the next round of federal pandemic stimulus, as much as $1 billion, to bolster summer school programs across the state to help students recover from a year of learning lost to pandemic restrictions.
    • The so-called “Back on Track Act” would fund enhanced summer programs, with districts focusing particularly on at-risk students, such as those with financial need, high school juniors and seniors behind on class credits, pre-K and kindergarten students, elementary students struggling with math and reading, students with special needs, and students with chronic absenteeism.
  • (North Carolina) New COVID relief bill promises $600 million more for colleges, K-12 schools
    • The N.C. General Assembly is considering a new COVID relief bill that would spend more than $600 million, primarily on North Carolina’s colleges and universities, and K-12 schools.

Health Care

Social Services 

Justice/Public Safety

Transportation

Public Utilities

  • Increased Energy Use During COVID
    • In a newly-released HomeLight data quantifying how heightened energy use during COVID has created a domino effect on homebuyer preferences across the United States.

Community Development/Housing

  • COVID-19 relief funding offers local cities a chance to get creative in addressing homelessness
    • While the coronavirus and resulting economic downturn have led to concerns about a spike in homelessness, it also generated a surge in federal and state dollars aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 among houseless populations.
    • Much of the funding is one-time and many of the resulting projects are temporary, but homeless advocates say coronavirus relief funding has offered opportunities to experiment with ideas that wouldn't otherwise be attainable.
  • States Fail to Prioritize Homeless People for Vaccines
    • At least 20 states don’t include people living in homeless shelters in their vaccine distribution plans, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy, a nonpartisan research organization. Few state plans even mention homeless people not in shelters.
  • (California) San Francisco paying $16.1 million for homeless tent camps
    • San Francisco is paying $16.1 million to feed and house people in tent villages as the city struggles with a swelling homeless population.