COVID-19 Roundup from Pioneer: Hope for a vaccine; Open Meeting violations; Holyoke Soldiers Home report; COVID & foster care; Re-opening the beaches; the fate of college towns; COVID’s economic toll on Bay State cities & more!

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Pioneer staff share their top picks for COVID-19 stories highlighting useful resources, best practices, and questions we should be asking our public and private sector leaders. We hope you are staying safe, and we welcome your thoughts; you can always reach out to us via email:  pioneer@pioneerinstitute.org

 

Our Top Picks for COVID-19 Pandemic News:

William Smith, Visiting Fellow, Life Sciences: Fauci is cautiously optimistic about a vaccine. And, the NIH cancels two trials for hydroxychloroquine for lack of efficacy.

Greg Sullivan, Research Director: WHDH-TV aired a segment last night with new revelations about the Holyoke Soliders’ Home and the factors contributing to the tragic COVID death rate. Read Pioneer’s research on the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. Also, check out Pioneer’s Long Term Care Facility COVID Tracker.

Mary Z. Connaughton, Director of Government Transparency: Pioneer recently lauched a new hotline where the public can log violations of Open Meeting Laws, especially those that may be a result of relaxed standards due to COVID.

Rebekah Paxton, Research Analyst: As town officials and public health experts determine if, when, and how local beaches will reopen, business owners, town managers, and beach-goers alike question what lies ahead. Read our Roger Perry interns’ new analysis on what different towns have done to open their beaches, and view an interactive map of all beach regulations; and an analysis of COVID prevalence and the economic impact on the Cape and islands.

Andrew Mikula, Peters Fellow: Massachusetts is home to so many college campuses – how is COVID affecting them? Read this Associated Press story that cites Pioneer’s research. Also check out my recent policy brief: As college students and parents demand robust COVID-19 response, university finances suffer.

 

Questions for Our Public & Private Sector Leaders:

Josh Archambault, Senior Fellow: When COVID-19 recedes, child abuse reports and foster care needs are expected to surge. Read my commentary in USA Today this week, co-authored with Naomi Schaefer Riley, on how online services, training and data can strengthen the system.

Joe Selvaggi, Host, Hubwonk: This week, Pioneer Executive Director Jim Stergios and I talked with Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby about his provocative recent column on police reform & public sector unions. Tune in!

Jamie Gass, Pioneer’s Education Policy Director: On the latest episode of “The Learning Curve” podcast, co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talked with Pulitzer Prize winning author Diane McWhorter about Civil Rights history and racial injustice. The hosts also discussed an innovative program used in London to fill learning gaps as a result of COVID school closures, and the migration of New York City’s wealthy families to the suburbs due to COVID – will they return?

  • Watch: Digital learning pioneer Julie Young of ASU Prep Digital was the featured speaker at a Pioneer webinar held yesterday, simulcast on Facebook.

Do YOU have interesting questions and/or articles to share with us? Please email us, or message us through our social media channels below!

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Get Our COVID-19 News, Tips & Resources!

Ghost Dance – Native American Heritage Month – Resources for K-12 Education

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Introducing K-12 schoolchildren to Native Americans in U.S. history.

Targeted government help for small business is needed

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Covid-19 will frame economic policy discussions for years to come, just as the Great Recession did a decade ago. The economic impact of the pandemic includes widespread job losses, and millions of Americans are at risk of falling into poverty. Covid-19 is also accelerating pre-existing market trends – such as automation and online shopping – and their potentially devastating impact on the thousands of small businesses vulnerable to these market shifts. Will these businesses be able to adapt?

MCAS testing essential to address falling test scores

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Amid the chaos that was created by schools suddenly being shuttered in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it made sense to cancel administration of Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests. But supporters of pending legislation that would place a four-year moratorium on using MCAS as a high school graduation requirement and create a commission to study alternatives to the tests are no longer responding to a crisis; they are using it to advance their anti-reform agenda.

Wall Street Journal Columnist Jason Riley on the 2020 Election, School Choice, & Race in America

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Jason Riley, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Jason shares insights on the 2020 election, its implications for the next two years, and assuming Vice President Biden becomes president, how he may govern on K-12 education.

Disputing Democracy – 5 Contentious U.S. Presidential Elections – Resources for K-12 Education

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs, on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Introducing K-12 schoolchildren to the great, contentious presidential elections in U.S. history.

Pioneer Institute Statement on Governor Baker’s New COVID Restrictions

Read Pioneer Institute's public statement about Gov. Charlie Baker's new executive orders related to the state’s reopening plan that will go into effect on Nov. 6, issued in response to a significant uptick in COVID infections in Massachusetts,

Voting for Health: Party Opinions, Election Results & the Healthcare Policy Implications of Election 2020

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Join Host Joe Selvaggi as he discusses with Harvard Professor Bob Blendon his New England Journal of Medicine Special Report, "Implications of the 2020 Election for U.S. Health Policy," which covers broad differences in both party’s view of the role of government in health care and what the election results will mean for Americans.

Hockey Sidelined Again

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After months on the sidelines, youth hockey players across the state eagerly laced up their skates in August. Under current youth and amateur sports guidelines, locker rooms operate at 50 percent capacity, only one spectator should attend per player, and players wear masks on the bench. Unlike in MIAA high school sports, players do not wear facemasks while they play, except during faceoffs. 

“Double, Double Toil and Trouble” - 15 Halloween Resources for K-12 Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs here, on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Introducing K-12 students to the history behind Halloween.

Staving Off Disaster: Lessons from Covid Applied to the Epic Battle Against Drug Resistant Microbes

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Join Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Institute’s Bill Smith as they discuss with inspirational public health advocate Gunnar Esiason the findings of his latest white paper, "Antimicrobial Resistance: Learning From the current health crisis to inform another."  The episode looks at the challenges to global health presented by evolving drug resistant diseases and how the lessons learned from COVID-19 could potentially save millions of lives.