NC HAS THE SECOND LARGEST UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS IN THE NATION: More than 350,000 North Carolinians have filed for unemployment since mid-March, state officials said in a daily update Thursday. That’s when businesses starting closing down due to local and statewide orders to try to stem the tide of COVID-19. And those 350,000 people don’t include those who have lost their jobs but haven’t filed for unemployment. There have been numerous reports of problems with the website and phone lines at the state’s unemployment office, which has been swamped by the record job losses, the News & Observer has reported. “North Carolina has the second biggest increase in unemployment due to coronavirus,” WalletHub said, explaining that when taking both numbers into account for all 50 states, only Louisiana has been hit harder.
DPI AND SCHOOL BOARD ISSUE CRITERIA FOR REMOTE LEARNING: The state board approved a DPI recommendation last week saying that regular grades can only be given in grades K-11 if remote learning meets all these requirements: Is accessible by all students for which the learning is intended and is responsive to diverse learning groups. Maintains consistent communication between instructional staff and students. Addresses the curricular and instructional needs associated with appropriate standards. Includes evidence of student learning. Considers the whole child as well as the home learning environment. If all those “critical factors” can’t be met, DPI says students’ grades can’t be negatively impacted. Teachers can still give ungraded feedback in those instances. If a senior was failing as of March 13, they’re to be given a chance to study remotely and to take a final exam to pass to get the PC19 grade. If they don’t pass, they’ll get a “WC19” grade on their transcript, meaning they withdrew.
UNC CHARLOTTE DORMS MAY BE USED FOR CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS: UNC Charlotte’s residence halls may become a field hospital for treating coronavirus patients. Atrium Health and Novant Health have requested to use the campus dorms as a field hospital that is capable of treating 3,000 coronavirus patients. The chancellor of UNC Charlotte said six residence halls may be needed to provide this service. According to the NBC station in Charlotte, logistics are already being worked out, and the field hospital could be functional in a matter of weeks. Mecklenburg County has over 500 cases of coronavirus. Nineteen North Carolina residents have died, including a Montgomery County deputy. Two people from out of state also died while traveling in North Carolina. Another 184 people are in North Carolina hospitals. Today the race begins to apply for small business loans. The government will start distributing loans to local businesses and freelancers today as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. However, thousands of banks across the county have warned that they don't have enough rules to hand out those loans, and suggest 'utter chaos' could be pending.
DEM CONVENTION DELAYED UNTIL AUGUST, TRUMP ATTACKS DEM GOVERNORS: The 2020 Democratic National Convention has been pushed back to mid-August as organizers try to navigate the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The event, originally scheduled for July 13-17, will instead be held the week of Aug. 17. It’s unclear how many days the convention will be held as planning remains in flux. After “giving thought to how it is this event can have the greatest impact in the electoral process and the greatest impact in terms of what we can bring to Milwaukee, we felt the best decision, not knowing all the answers, was to delay this,” Democratic National Convention CEO Joe Solmonese said. The GOP convention is set for Aug. 24-27. President Donald Trump insisted Thursday his team is delivering medical supplies to states nationwide and that some governors are “complainers” who will never be satisfied. “Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?)” Trump tweeted. “Remember, we are a backup for them.” Trump did not specify which critics he was referring to, but a group of Democratic governors – that includes Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Andrew Cuomo of New York, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Jay Inslee of Washington state – have criticized the slow pace of federal assistance.
REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS ARE FIGHTING AGAINST SOCIAL DISTANCING: Kay Ivey, the Republican governor of Alabama, put down a marker last week in affirming that it was “not the time to order people to shelter in place.” “Y’all, we are not Louisiana, we are not New York state, we are not California,” she said, suggesting that the fate of hard-hit parts of the country would not be shared by Alabama. In Missouri, Republican Gov. Mike Parson said he was not inclined to “make a blanket policy,” adding, “It’s going to come down to individual responsibilities.” And in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order this week under growing pressure as his state’s death toll mounted, a Tampa-area megachurch pastor who was arrested for holding services in violation of a local order announced Thursday he was considering reopening the church in time for Easter and is “praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom.” In some cases, skeptics have been slow to acknowledge the science behind the spread of the novel coronavirus. In others, such as Florida, politicians took heed of demands from the business community, which lobbied DeSantis as recently as during a Monday webinar to balance medical imperatives with economic needs. Elsewhere, adamance about local autonomy was pronounced. Some, meanwhile, maintained that it was religious authority that mattered.