GovWin SLED Weekly Coronavirus Recon

Published: January 15, 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

  • South Carolina governor praises COVID-19 response in State of the State
    • Republican Gov. Henry McMaster is praising South Carolina's efforts to fight COVID-19 and defending his decisions to shut down the fewest possible activities and businesses during the pandemic.
    • He also announced his newest governing priorities in his annual State of the State address on Wednesday evening. The governor said the pandemic slowed South Carolina down, but not by much in 2020.
  • Washington State’s New Re-Opening Plan
    • As of January 11, Washington State is operating under a new COVID-19 reopening plan called the Healthy Washington ?—? Roadmap to Recovery, made effective through Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 20-25.12. This blog will provide an overview of the plan and how it may impact local governments, including their ability to conduct in-person public meetings.
  • Midwest governors share ideas, frustrations in battle with COVID-19
    • As the corona­virus has ravaged the nation, a bipartisan group of Midwest governors has provided a sounding board for one another's policies and has shared how regulations, testing or vaccination strategies are playing out. Leaders in the midst of a case spike offer insights to others bracing for the next wave. They even created a video, asking people to wear masks and social distance this winter.
  • How a rapid move to remote work refined cyber in local government
    • For cybersecurity leaders in local governments across the U.S., the rapid move to remote work marked a big shift in information security operations, especially in smaller departments with limited resources.
  • (North Carolina) State lawmakers gear up for busy 2021-22 session; COVID-19 fallout in bright focus
    • COVID-19 and the ongoing fallout from the pandemic will likely dominate the 2021-22 session of the General Assembly. On tap for lawmakers is crafting a new budget for the biennium plus drawing new legislative and congressional maps for the next decade based on fresh census data.
  • (Wisconsin) Pandemic, budget key issues in Evers' State of the State
    • Despite months without any legislation to combat COVID-19, Governor Tony Evers is optimistic work will get done, soon. He talked about that and more in his third State of the State address Tuesday night from the state Capitol.
  • (Missouri) Pandemic was 'stress test' for data office, says Kansas City official
    • The value of data was made clear last year as cities fought to slow the spread of the coronavirus, forcing offices like Kansas City, Missouri’s, DataKC to endure a 10-month “stress test” of its ability to analyze and visualize data for residents and policymakers. The result, said Kate Bender, Kansas City’s deputy performance officer, was a resounding confirmation of the good that data analysis can do for a city’s economy and public health.
  • The path to post-pandemic smart cities
    • Market forecasts paint a rosy picture of smart city investment, but many municipalities are slashing budgets, laying off workers and cutting services as the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues. To adapt to the budget shortfalls resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, smart city efforts must be more strategic, said Ruthbea Yesner, vice president of Government Insights and Smart Cities at IDC Government Insights.
  • How to position state and local government workers for success in 2021
    • State and local agencies may have to contend with legacy technology and complexity to move the employee experience forward. But the reality is simple: They must invest in the future today so that those employees can build a better future tomorrow.

Funding & Economic Impact

Higher Education

  • (New York) $45M+ COVID funds going to colleges and universities, in North Country
    • Congresswoman, Elise Stefanik announced $45 million plus funds are headed to New York’s 21st Congressional Districts, Public and Non-Profit colleges and universities. The funds are coming the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) to support continued education.
  • Billions in Aid Head to Colleges
    • The Education Department releases a new round of COVID-19 funds to colleges and universities, and Biden proposes $35 billion in additional money.
  • (New Jersey) NJ colleges face lawsuits over remote learning not 'remotely worth the amount charged'
    • If the litigation is expanded to a class-action lawsuit, the Madison school could be on the hook for as much as $8 million in refunds. The suit is among more than 65 filed by just one law firm against colleges around the country, adding to the pandemic's strain on universities.
  • Renewed push for Georgia universities to conduct more COVID testing, online classes
    • Some faculty members and students are demanding Georgia’s public university system conduct mandatory COVID-19 testing and enact other safety measures as classes resume this week as schools hope to have more in-person instruction this new semester.
  • Free COVID Dashboard Resources Offer Templates for College and County Data
    • A project dedicated to sharing best practices in COVID-19 data visualization is offering free resources to help colleges and universities create their own dashboards for disseminating public health information to students, parents, faculty and staff.
    • The dashboards grades the effectiveness of public-facing dashboards at United States colleges and universities based on a variety of criteria: readability, frequency that data is updated, types of data included and more.
  • Another legislator questions no-bid contract involving Rhode Island College
    • State Rep. Greg Amore, chairman of the finance subcommittee on education, has joined the growing number of legislators fuming over the no-bid contract involving Rhode Island College.
    • Amore stated there was no communication from the office of post-secondary education to the House Finance Committee regarding the $76,000 a week contract.

K-12 Education

  • (Georgia) Gov. Kemp recommends restoring hundreds of millions to education budget
    • As the COVID-19 pandemic delivered a serious hit to government tax receipts, state education funds were cut by about $1 billion last summer for the 2021 fiscal year, which runs until the end of June (the 2022 fiscal year will start in July).
    • In his address, the governor said he wanted to soften that shortfall by re-allocating $647 million to the state Department of Education for this fiscal year and $573 million for next year.
  • Virginia's schools should now prioritize in-person instruction, VDH and VDOE say in new guidance
    • State agencies say Virginia will now prioritize in-person instruction going forward in the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Education released new guidance on how to safely reopen school buildings and have students return to the classroom, replacing the phase guidance issued in July.
  • Virginia releases new guidelines for K-12 schools, governor says ‘schools need to be open’
    • The Virginia Department of Education (VDE) released new coronavirus guidelines that encourage Virginia’s school districts to safely hold classes in-person. Gov. Northam said the guidelines mark the beginning of a new emphasis from his administration on the topic of learning during the pandemic.
    • The new guidelines serve as a stark departure from previous advice, as it makes a case for some face-to-face learning to continue on, even when virus transmission rates in the community are high.
  • K-12 public schools set for $1.7 billion in new COVID-19 aid in Georgia
    • The state Board of Education approved distributing the COVID-19 aid shortly before Gov. Brian Kemp outlined his latest budget priorities for the General Assembly in the 2021 legislative session.
    • Kemp has called for restoring school budgets in the remainder of the current school year after districts had to cut $950 million due to economic pains from the COVID-19 pandemic, adding back $647 million this school year and $573 million next school year to fully fund enrollment growth and help prop up schools where enrollment dropped.
    • In his annual “State of the State” speech, Kemp announced the state will give teachers and other school employees a one-time $1,000 pay supplement as they continue struggling with impacts from the virus.
  • Gov. Bill Lee Announces Intervention for Tennessee Students
    • Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced special session legislation addressing K-12 student learning loss and the adverse effects on Tennessee students’ proficiency in reading and math after extended time away from the classroom due to COVID-19.
    • In addition to learning loss interventions and accountability hold harmless measures, Gov. Lee will propose adding funding for teacher salaries.
  • CDC Suggests Transmission Risk Lower At Elementaries Than High Schools
    • A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in-person classes at K-12 schools didn't appear to lead to spikes in Covid cases compared to online-only learning. The study also found that transmission rates by age group increased as the school level increased.
  • Biden Proposes $175 Billion to Reopen Schools
    • Biden is pitching a $175 billion plan to get children back into K-12 classrooms and bolster the finances of colleges and universities nearly a year after the coronavirus pandemic throttled public education systems in the U.S.
    • The plan, part of a larger economic stimulus Biden announced, includes $130 billion for public elementary, middle and high schools and approximately $35 billion for institutions of higher education.

Health Care

Social Services

  • (Wisconsin) Gov. Evers calls for special session to begin modernization of state's unemployment system
    • Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday called for a special session of the Legislature, asking members to consider his plan to modernize the state's unemployment insurance system.
    • Evers wants $5.3 million to update the antiquated system after thousands of residents faced delays in receiving money over the last year in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. He announced the plan during his State of the State address Tuesday and is calling on lawmakers to meet at noon on Jan. 19. The initial investment would be the first part of a 10-year modernization plan Evers is proposing that would cost the state $90 million total.
  • Criminal underground thrived on states' pandemic unemployment programs
    • Online actors specializing in financial fraud feasted on a widely used unemployment insurance program designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it one of the single biggest targets for cybercrime in 2020, according to a report published by the threat intelligence firm Recorded Future.
  • Extra unemployment benefits won’t be available to some workers for weeks
    • As states begin issuing extra unemployment benefits offered by a recent Covid relief measure, many workers will be left waiting a while for aid to arrive.
  • Alabama cities, counties object to transfer of $72 million in CARES Act funds
    • The money, which is part of the $1.8 billion the state received last year under the CARES Act to help cover costs caused by the pandemic, will go to the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund.

Justice/Public Safety

Transportation

Public Utilities

  • 2021 Outlook: 10 power sector trends to watch
    • A new administration under a new party is one sign that 2021 will look different for policymakers, utilities and other stakeholders, but the continuation of some older trends is expected as well.

Community Development/Housing