Telegraph Pandemic Digest: Tuesday, April 7

© 2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Between press conferences, daily updates, press releases and other advisories, covering the Covid-19 pandemic can be daunting for a small staff. To keep you informed without going down a rabbit hole with every story, we’ll offer you a news digest of information that doesn’t make it into regular news articles. There are a variety of topics with links for web pages and documents you can follow if you need more information.

We will continue to cover our communities in the best way we can but we would like to hear what you think of the idea of this digest and whether it fits your needs. Thanks for reading The Chester Telegraph.

Levine: Distancing measures paying off

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine explains a graph showing relatively low positive to negative ratios in testing to date

♦  At the regular Monday Covid-19 press conference, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine presented a chart that shows the day by day positive and negative tests for coronavirus. The chart also contains a squiggly line that shows what the percent of positive results is on each day. Levine noted that while other states have shown positive results in the 35 to 40 percent range while Vermont has topped out at around 12 percent with an average of around 10 percent. He credited the measures taken by the state and Vermonters observation of the isolation and social distancing orders.

“The measures are paying off,” said Levine, “the sacrifices you are making are actually helping…we are saving lives by making these sacrifices.

While the relatively slow growth is good news, another message of the press conference was that the situation will almost certainly get worse before it gets better.

Scott seeks federal disaster funding

♦   According to a press release from his office on Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott has requested a federal disaster declaration to get funds to help the state and its towns pay for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes individual assistance such as disaster unemployment and Crisis Counseling. If granted, it provides 75 percent reimbursement to  governments and some non-profits for emergency protective measures, including protection of public health and safety.

The Vermont Department of Finance and Management has calculated that the state has already spent well over $20 million for its response including Personal Protective Equipment, medical equipment and personnel. The final cost of the response is expected to be far greater according to the governor’s office.

PBS offers educational content

  Also on Monday, the Scott administration – including the Agency of Education – announced a partnership with Vermont PBS to provide educational content as a supplement to the remote learning being done by Vermont  school districts during the pandemic. COVID-19 outbreak. This initiative will give Vermont students who have access to broadcast television free educational resources and online content as long at Vermont’s schools are closed.  

Vermont PBS will use two statewide channels to broadcast content for Pre-K through 12. Vermont PBS also will provide resources that allow teachers and caregivers to access at-home curriculum that includes activities, assignments and learning objectives. Access it by clicking here.

Beginning yesterday, PBS began broadcasting programming and digital resources as follows:

Vermont PBS Main Channel:

  • 7 to 9 a.m. — Grades PreK-3
  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Grades 4-8

Vermont PBS Plus Channel:

  • noon to 5 p.m. — Grades 6-12

The press release did not mention how the programming would fit into the Continuity of Learning plan that each school district is required to file with the AOE on Wednesday. The plan is mandated by Scott’s Executive Directive Number 5 issued on March 13.

Jury draws, trials, bar exams suspended

♦  The Vermont Supreme Court Tuesday announced that it has suspended all jury draws and jury trials currently scheduled to take place on or before May 15, 2020 and suspended the bar exam scheduled to be administered in July.

The Court’s Covid-19 order also makes changes to the requirement to file paper copies of briefs and it addresses notarization and the remote administration of oaths.

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