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Gov. Whitmer extends COVID-19 restrictions by 12 days



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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) announced on Monday that her state’s indoor dining and in-person classes restrictions will stay in effect for 12 more days up through December 20, followed by “cautious re-engagement” in combatting fight the growing spread of the novel coronavirus, The Detroit Free Press reports.

“Right now, 79% of all hospital beds are occupied—the hospital capacity issue that we are dealing with right now is different than it was in the spring,” Whitmer said. “Because in the spring, different parts of our state had different COVID numbers, patients could be transferred from one area that had […] higher COVID numbers to an area that had lower COVID numbers before they ask for staff to come in and help in places that were being overwhelmed.”

Like many other states, Michigan is facing a shortage of space in its hospitals with the increased caseload.

“Unfortunately, that is not the case right now because hospitals across Michigan are all filling up,” Whitmer added. “Hospitals across the country are all filling up.”

Michigan health officials announced three-week-long restrictions on November 15 in response to the mounting number of COVID-19 cases. These guidelines, which went into effect on November 18, were originally supposed to expire at the end of the day Tuesday, The Free Press reports.

“We have made progress during this three-week pause. Cases and mobility have started to level off,” Whitmer stated.

On top of public mask mandates and gathering limits, the restrictions outlawed indoor dining at restaurants and bars, effectively shuttered entertainment venues such as movie theaters and bowling alleys, banned in-person classes for high schools and colleges, and temporarily suspended high school sports, The Free Press writes.

Outdoor gatherings of 25 people or less are permitted while retail stores and salons can stay open as long as they follow Michigan’s face mask order. Unlike the restrictions from March and April, these new restrictions will not be a complete economic shutdown.

According to the state’s data, over the course of Sunday and Monday, the average number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases has been 4,675 per day.

Furthermore, Dave Boucher and Kristen Jordan Shamus of The Free Press write that the move to extend guidelines implemented in the middle of last month will be met with fierce criticism from businesses and Republicans, who control both chambers in the state legislature.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Parents, advocates call on leaders to step down after ZERO children pass math at 13 Baltimore state schools



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How long will leaders who let our children down blame Covid-19 for their failures? Anger swept across Baltimore, Maryland, after not a single student passed their state math exams, and almost 75 percent testing at the lowest possible score.

The Daily Mail reports “The poor performances came in the latest round of Maryland‘s state testing, where 13 high schools in the city – a staggering 40 percent – failed to produce a single student with a ‘proficient’ score in math.” Baltimore City Schools not only received $1.6 billion last year from taxpayers, but the school district also received $799 million in Covid relief funding from the federal government.

“So, it’s not a funding issue. We’re getting plenty of funding,” said Jason Rodriguez, deputy director of Baltimore-based nonprofit People Empowered by the Struggle, to Fox Baltimore. “I don’t think money is the issue. I think accountability is the issue…This is educational homicide, there is no excuse for the failure, which has come after years of warnings over the city’s poor education standards,” added Rodriguez.

A bombshell study published this month by the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) found that 16 million students were chronically absent during the pandemic. “The millions of students had missed more than 10 percent of schools days during the 2021-22 year, twice the number seen in previous years. More than eight in 10 public schools also reported stunted behavioral and social-emotional development in their students due to the pandemic, according to a May survey cited in the report.”

However, six years ago a similar report by Project Baltimore found that 13 schools in the city had zero students test ‘proficiently’ in math. An almost identical finding. “We’re still dealing with these same issues year after year,” Rodriguez continued. “It’s just scary to me and alarming to me because we know that what’s happening now, you know, it’s just opening up the floodgates to the school-to-prison pipeline. I’m beyond angry… This is why we’ve been calling for the resignation of the school CEO.”

Daily Mail notes that Rodriguez’s group has previously held rallies over the mounting educational crisis in the city, and in 2021 led calls for Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises to resign over low test scores and falling graduation rates.

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