As students return to in-person learning for the fall semester, school districts are scrambling to find substitute teachers to replace teachers who have retired or taken leaves of absence for fear of contracting coronavirus. In some places, districts are lowering certification requirements to attract substitute teachers.
Teachers in at least three states have died after battling coronavirus infections since the beginning of the new school year. Mississippi alone has reported 604 cases among teachers and staff.
The Trump administration has declared teachers to be “critical infrastructure workers,” making them exempt from quarantine requirements.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
As the nation stopped to remember those killed in the September 11 attacks last Friday, New Yorkers also remembered the dozens of 9/11 first responders who have died from coronavirus.
In initial reports, 22 of the 20,000 9/11 first responders have died of Covid-19 due to ground-zero related illnesses. But New York City attorney Michael Barasch says those numbers are underestimated by more than five-fold.
As many as 68 types of cancers and dozens of respiratory illnesses reported by many 9/11 first responders left them “uniquely vulnerable to an illness that attacks the lungs and the immune system,” said a spokesperson for the attorney.
In letters to both Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Ben Garthwaite, the chief executive officer for Fors Marsh Group, House Democrats are demanding the release of new documents about the government agency’s $250 million contract with marketing firm Fors Marsh handling a campaign on coronavirus. Democrats fear the taxpayer funds will be used to support Trump’s reelection campaign.
The contract, which aims to help the administration “defeat despair and inspire hope” in the public sphere surrounding coronavirus, was released over the summer. Fors Marsh Group was awarded the contract.
“The public relations firm hired by HHS will report to Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo, who is a former campaign operative for President Trump and not a public health professional,” the letters say.
Over the past two weeks, coronavirus infections in North and South Dakota have grown faster than anywhere else in the nation. Many residents have rallied against mask mandates, even as events like the annual Sturgis Motorcycle rally drew over 400,000 bikers to South Dakota. Over 1,000 students in the states’ four largest universities are quarantining after being infected with the coronavirus.
The Republican governors of both states have also shunned mask requirements, pointing to personal freedoms.
A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll reveals most Americans disapprove to Trump’s coronavirus response. Only thirty-five percent of those polled approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
Disapproval is seen on both sides of the political spectrum. One in 5 Republicans and an overwhelming 95% of Democrats and 69% of independents disapprove of Trump’s response to the coronavirus.
Roughly two-thirds of those polled think the president acted too slowly in responding to the outbreak and do not trust the president’s reporting about the coronavirus.
More than 193,000 people have died from coronavirus in the U.S. The number of infections in this country has surpassed 6.5 million.