COVID-19

COVID-19

COVID-19 News Top Story

COVID-19 vaccines or weekly tests to be mandated for millions of U.S. workers

President Biden unveils new plan to speed mass vaccination, strengthen school safety, aid states in need WASHINGTON — More than 80 million employees of private businesses in the U.S. will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing as part of the Biden administration’s latest strategy for combating the still-surging coronavirus pandemic.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

America dumbs down freedom, with disastrous consequences

Death and tragedy were front and center in the news again last week. In Winston-Salem, a young high school student was shot and killed by another child. Only a few hours later, tragedy was mercifully avoided at a Raleigh high school when two guns were taken from a student who had brought them to campus.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

As Labor Day 2021 approaches, everything we thought we knew about work is wrong

Good policy choices drive down poverty. We have to keep moving forward on that So what can the plight of a little cafe tell you about the state of the American economy and the changing face of work? A lot, as it turns out. The other week, the bistro where my family and I have been grabbing brunch every Sunday since the start of the pandemic announced that....

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

Sobering test results confirm pandemic’s toll on state’s schoolchildren

State test results show that student learning suffered greatly last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer than half of students – 45.4% – in grades K-12 passed state reading, math and science exams during the 2020-21 school year.  The much-anticipated scores were released this week during the State Board of Education’s regular meeting.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Top Story

UNC System faculty push for more flexibility as pandemic semester unfolds

Two weeks into in-person instruction at UNC System campuses, faculty members at universities small and large are pushing for more flexibility to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including, in some cases, a temporary shift back to online classes. On Tuesday, Duke University announced new protocols as its campus deals with a spike in infections, largely among vaccinated students. These include giving professors the ability to shift to online-only classes for the next two weeks.

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COVID-19 Education Top Story

As new school year gets underway, educators grapple with the COVID mask mandates

Tuesday morning was warm and muggy. Eyeglasses above tightly fitted masks fogged over with each breath.  At Bethesda Elementary School in Durham, students, teachers and staff members all complied with the district’s mandate to wear masks while indoors. It was the first day of classes for thousands of Durham Public Schools students who attend schools operating on a traditional calendar. Most of the state’s 1.5 million students started classes this week. 

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at COVID’s ripple effect as students return to the classroom

Today marks the start of the new school year for those on the traditional calendar. But with the highly contagious Delta variant, many are wondering what this academic year will look like for the more than 1.4 million students attending public schools in North Carolina.

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Higher Ed News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW exclusive: UNC pandemic specialist says school is repeating mistakes from 2020

Veteran epidemiologist and ethicist is fearful university leaders have not learned vital lessons from last year As students return for the fall semester at UNC-Chapel Hill Wednesday, Dr. Jim Thomas is having an uneasy sense of déjà vu. “I’m very uneasy about what I’m seeing,” said Thomas, a professor emeritus in the Epidemiology department at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Or what I’m seeing again.”

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Radio Interviews

Duke scholars offer back-to-school advice on rising COVID-19 infections, stress and learning loss


From left to right: Danny Benjamin, M.D., professor of pediatrics, Robin Gurwitch, professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Should the unvaccinated be a lower priority for health care?

As hospitals reach capacity, the ethics of who is prioritized in triage gets murky The Hippocratic oath requires doctors to treat all patients equally — but what happens when you run out of doctors? This isn’t the first time ...
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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

Guilford protest against school mask requirement features passion and misinformation

GREENSBORO -- Lightning flashed across the Greensboro sky just outside the Guilford County Schools’ administration building.  None of the 50 or so parents, politicians, and school children standing under a clump of trees ran for cover, a fact cheered by a speaker revving up sign-toting, anti-maskers before the start of a school board meeting.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

Ideology, fear, and denial: the GOP and the state budget

By far the single most important legislation with which North Carolina elected leaders grapple each year is the state budget bill.  The budget details how the state will spend tens of billions of tax dollars on hundreds of core public services and structures and includes scores of other large and important changes to state law. Virtually all other priorities at the General Assembly pale in comparison.

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COVID-19 Education News Top Story

As debate over masks in public schools continues, experts say the answer is clear

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is “several-fold” more transmissible than the Alpha variant, making mask mandates in schools more important than ever, a Duke University professor of pediatrics said Wednesday.  Dr. Danny Benjamin’s advice comes as most of North Carolina’s 1.5 million school children prepare to return to classrooms and school boards wrestle with whether to adopt mask mandates amid surging COVID infections.

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Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Our nation seems to be broken, but…

I am angry. You are angry. Hell, the entire nation is angry. But what makes this such a challenging time is that we are not all angry about the same things. I am angry that we have developed vaccines that dramatically prevent the spread of COVID, but that in much of the country, the vaccine itself is treated as if it were the plague.

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COVID-19 Other Voices Progressive Voices Top Story

Pandemic’s true impact on farmworkers remains elusive

Limitations of government record keeping, journalism conventions likely helping to obscure the true impact of COVID-19 on migrant communities It’s long been established that agricultural workplaces are among the nation’s most dangerous. The latest census on fatal occupational injuries by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that...

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Geography, politics loom large as COVID-19 vaccination momentum wanes

Lack of access, "Trump effect" both acting as roadblocks COVID-19 vaccines are hard to come by in Bladenboro, the small southeastern North Carolina town that was the center of a COVID-19 cluster that pushed its home county into the red zone on a virus alert map.

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