GovWin SLED Weekly Coronavirus Recon

Published: September 18, 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

Funding & Economic Impact

Procurement

  • Utah’s Troubled COVID-19 Tech Contracts Could Spur Procurement Reform
    • Findings by Utah’s legislative auditors that state agencies sometimes failed to communicate effectively on developing contracts for coronavirus response efforts could lead to changes in statutes outlining emergency-spending requirements.
    • Auditors wrote that though they found nothing “out of alignment” with state statutes, the “limited review” of the no-bid contracts uncovered poor or nonexistent communication between participating state departments, necessitating further investigation into process “weaknesses.”

Higher Education

  • Louisiana house bill protects Tulane against student lawsuits
    • This summer, Louisiana State Rep. Buddy Mincey Jr. sponsored a new bill, Louisiana HB-59, that would provide limitations of liability for public and private school districts and postsecondary institutions during a declared state of emergency or a public health emergency. In other words, schools in Louisiana, including private universities, would receive immunity from claims of action related to COVID-19 and other declared states of emergency, including the injury or death of a student by COVID-19 resulting from a school’s decision to reopen. The bill passed on July 8.
  • As Campuses Become COVID-19 Hot Spots, Colleges Strain Under Financial Pressures
    • The Chronicle of Higher Education estimates that about 20% of American colleges or universities are offering primarily in-person classes, while 16% are offering a mix of in-person and online experiences. Many others are completely virtual. Another note is that in many cases, the decision to offer in-person classes was driven largely by financial concerns.
    • The New York Times reports there are more than 88,000 coronavirus cases at the nation's colleges and universities.
  • West Virginia University Demonstrates COVID-19 Hypocrisy In Higher Education
    • West Virginia University first canceled in-person classes on Sept. 8 citing rising concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Despite President E. Gordon Gee’s acknowledged that the school’s positivity rate was “considerably lower than the 5 to 7 percent they anticipated” and prepared for.
    • Over Labor Day weekend, 29 students who attended parties were recorded on social media, and reported by university police, and on an anonymous software provided by the school. The students in question are “banned from campus and cannot take classes, including those offered online” and will not be refunded their tuition per the student code of conduct.
  • White House coronavirus task force focuses on higher education in state reports
    • The White House coronavirus task force placed a sharper focus on colleges and universities in its recommendations to states this week, pushing states to take measures to prevent further outbreaks as the school year begins.
    • The reports are individually tailored to each state with information on cases and test positivity and county-specific data and broadly show concern about spread among institutes of higher education and mitigating cases in surrounding towns.
  • (Texas) Layoffs at TSTC blamed on COVID-19 and changes in higher education
    • Texas State Technical College announced the layoffs of 44 people at the Waco location and stated the layoffs are in response to changes in higher education along with the impacts the pandemic and recession are having on employers who hire graduates from the school.
    • The 44 employees let go represent about 5% of TSTC’s workforce and worked in a wide range of jobs, but were not teachers.

K-12 Education

  • (Ohio) DeWine unveils first school-based COVID-19 database
    • Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday unveiled the Ohio Department of Health’s first round of COVID-19 data showing how many cases are tied to each of the state’s individual school districts.
  • Minnesota Department of Education Releases New K-12 COVID-19 Data
    • In-person learning for all students is zero to less than ten new cases per 10,000. Elementary in-person, middle/high school hybrid is ten to less than 20 new cases per 10,000. Hybrid for both is 20 to less than 30 new cases per 10,000. Elementary hybrid, middle/high school distance is 30 to less than 50 new cases per 10,000. Distance learning for all is 50 or more new cases per 10,000.
  • Michigan news coalition urges Whitmer to release more on COVID-19 outbreaks
    • More than 30 Michigan news and government transparency organizations delivered a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urging more regular reporting of COVID outbreaks at schools.
    • The group, calling itself the Michigan School-Related COVID Outbreak Transparency Coalition, wants Whitmer to require school districts to notify communities within 24 hours of an outbreak; increase the frequency of statewide reporting data and require universities and colleges to release more information.
  • (Kentucky) Governor Beshear and Health Commissioner issue COVID-19 mode of instruction for K-12 for in-person and virtual classes
    • Gov. Beshear announced that if the state positivity is less than 6%, and if the hospitals or health care systems have the resources to care for COVID and non-COVID patients, then the model for schools the state has created as guidance is operative.
  • (South Carolina) DHEC: 296 COVID-19 cases associated with K-12 schools in SC
    • The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has announced 296 cases in schools across the state. In all, 195 cases reported were students and 101 cases reported were employees and these cases include both public and private schools.
  • Where schools are reopening in the US
    • CNN created a block map to track school reopening updates across the US through data compiled by Education Week. The data shows that most states are dealing with a wide array of approaches to kicking off the new school year.
  • ‘Blended model’ for NYC schools could cost cash-strapped city $32 million a week: IBO
    • Majority of increased school spending will be spent on hiring an additional 11,900 teachers and substitutes needed to meet the scheduling demands of hybrid learning.

Health Care

Social Services 

Justice/Public Safety

  • All Rise: Virtual Court Is Now in Session
    • Guided by an administrative judge with an engineering degree, a Texas county has led the way in making remote court proceedings a reality, including the nation’s first virtual jury trial.

Transportation

Public Utilities

Community Development/Housing

  • Southern Nevada faces $342M shortfall to fight homelessness
    • Southern Nevada faces a $342 million annual shortfall to effectively tackle a homelessness crisis that regional officials continue to fear will be worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report heard by county and city lawmakers this week.