“Music is liquid architecture” – 15 Resources for K-12 Education

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this entry focuses on introducing K-12 schoolchildren to timeless music.

HVAC Systems’ Influence on the Spread of Covid-19

HVAC systems provide heating, ventilation, and air conditioning to millions of buildings, however in the age of the Covid-19 pandemic, these systems also pose a serious health risk. Many HVAC systems lack proper air exchange, instead recycling old air. Consequently, if infected droplets enter the system, the virus circulates throughout the area, potentially widening its spread and infecting more individuals. This is an issue considering HVAC systems are used widely across Massachusetts and the entirety of the United States in both large and small establishments.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) state that the virus is mainly transmitted through droplets or occasionally when an individual comes in contact with an infected surface and then touches […]

The 65th Anniversary of the Murder of Emmett Till: 6 Key Resources for K-12 Education

Continuing Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this post focuses on the 65th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till, which is August 28, 2020.

Daughters of Liberty: Celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage & History – 10 Key Resources for K-12 Education

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, here, and here on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage & Women’s History.

Effects of Covid-19 on the Accommodation and Food Services Industry

Since March, lockdowns and safety regulations from the Covid-19 pandemic have dramatically affected the Accommodation and Food Services industry. The sector is predicted to lose at least 2.1 billion dollars in Massachusetts before recovering. These losses affect individuals, businesses, and Massachusetts’ economy as a whole. 

Mapping K-12 School Reopening in Massachusetts

As the 2020-21 school year begins for the approximately 950,000 schoolchildren in Massachusetts, our state and country are working to adapt to the unprecedented moment presented by COVID-19. To aid in these efforts, Pioneer Institute is posting a database and map of districts’ reopening plans.

Drawing on State Guidelines to Keep Youth Baseball Alive during COVID-19

Since Major League Baseball finalized its reopening plans in late June, over 100 players have tested positive for COVID-19, throwing into jeopardy the prospect of completing a baseball season, however short, during a global pandemic. Now, a team of University of Massachusetts students are working to make sure that youth baseball organizations across the country aren’t put into the same quandary.    During this year’s Pioneer Institute & Nichols College Sports Management Policy College Case Competition, Alvin He, Xinran Liu, and Minying Zhou won 2nd place for a policy proposal discussing adaptations little league players, coaches, and parents can make to stay safe while continuing to participate in America’s national pastime.    In particular, the UMass students suggest that athletes […]

Massachusetts PPP Benefits Big Businesses, Data Called Into Question

On July 6, the Small Business Association (SBA) resumed accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). While the program has been heralded by many as a lifeline for small businesses, more recently, many have questioned both the true beneficiaries of the policy and the accuracy of the data. That is, the SBA released a database of businesses receiving PPP loans–separating businesses that received less than $150,000 from those that received more than $150,000–which details company names, loan amounts (in the form of a range), and the number of jobs retained as a result of the loan. Since the release of this data, Pioneer has released a PPP Loan Tracker, […]

Youth Basketball and COVID-19: Preparing an Indoor Winter Sport for a Global Pandemic

With a COVID-19 vaccine’s widespread availability still estimated to be sometime in 2021, the world faces a long winter in which the coronavirus will likely continue disrupting our daily lives by reshaping the realm of physical activity. Many of the most prevalent impacts of this ongoing hardship will be borne by children, whose physical and emotional development is greatly aided by participating in team sports.         This year’s Pioneer Institute & Nichols College Sports Management Policy College Case Competition sought policy-driven adaptive solutions that will allow youth to continue participating in these sports even during a public health crisis. The winning team, consisting of Isabella Nerney, Dylan Pella, Adam Phillips, and Shannon St. Lawrence, all undergraduates at Nichols College, has […]

Where Did the Largest PPP Loans Go? Assessing the distribution of loans by industry

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on all parts of the economy, including small businesses. As part of the $2.2 Trillion CARES Act, Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with the explicit intent of helping small businesses survive the tumult of the past few months. The PPP provides low-interest — and, in many cases, forgivable — loans to small businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines small businesses as establishments with 500 employees or less, and the maximum loans issued were for $10 million. On July 6, the SBA published a list of businesses that received loans in the amount of $150,000 or more. Using this data, Pioneer developed a PPP Loan Tracker, which presents loan recipient and lender information […]

Pioneer wants to know how many people with dementia have died in Massachusetts nursing homes. State government can’t even tell us how many people live in them. 

Last month, Pioneer Institute sent a public records request to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) asking for data on the population of the state’s long-term care facilities. The goal was to determine whether COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted people with serious pre-existing conditions particular to the old and frail, such as dementia. Pioneer was extremely disappointed with the response sent to us by the state Department of Public Health (DPH), which potentially revealed shocking gaps in information on the facilities that the agency oversees.    Specifically, Pioneer asked for the following: The number of residents of long-term care facilities in Massachusetts as of February 29, 2020  The number of residents of long-term care facilities in Massachusetts […]

Let’s Be There For Students

As we head into the new academic year, unsure if remote learning will continue, we must equip our teachers to ensure that all students are offered the consistent, structured, rigorous, and supportive instructional programs that they need to succeed. This video highlights two schools that have successfully transitioned to remote learning.

Data, Attitudes, and Ecommerce: Noteworthy trends in retail for the present and future

Following the July 16th release of the June Retail Sales Report that detailed a more than 17% jump in total retail sales in the U.S. from April to May and an additional 6.4% jump in June, many Americans may assume that brighter economic days are ahead. While it may be indicative of some degree of economic resilience during the pandemic, this surge holds a bit more complexity and highlights retail trends of note for both the near future and the months ahead. Figure 1. Estimated Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services, by Kind of Business, Percentage +/-, June 2020 v June 2019, May 2020 v May 2019, April 2020 v April 2019 (millions) Source: U.S. Census Bureau Advance Monthly […]

HHS COVID Funding Tracker

As of July, the Feds have distributed $86.7 billion to medical providers, of which $2.3 billion came to Massachusetts. Pioneer’s new HHS COVID-19 Funding app shows who and how much, from the $1 sent to American Current Care of Massachusetts, to the $418,034,675 sent to the MA Department of Public Health. We also break down the distribution by city or town.

Why Landlords are Suing Massachusetts

In late July, Governor Charlie Baker extended the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures by two months after citing the need for additional housing security amid economic hardship and COVID-19. The moratorium will now end on October 17th instead of August 18th, which gives struggling tenants more time to adjust to the pandemic. The Census Bureau’s Week 11 Household Pulse Survey showed that many Massachusetts residents, especially the Hispanic or Latino population, express less than high confidence in their ability to pay their next month’s mortgage. For them, an extended eviction moratorium will provide relief while they catch-up on lost income from COVID-19. Source: U.S. Census Bureau Tenants and tenant advocates have consequently expressed widespread support. According to new regulations from […]