It’s Monday, and the weekend has been full of developments, from a small unemployment windfall to elementary COVID-19 cases, a last chance to count and a Supreme Court Justice’s passing.
COVID-19 outbreak, elementary cases
Days after the RIDOH announced an outbreak among 120 Providence College students, the health department also disclosed to turnto10.com that 48 K-12 students in 13 of the state’s schools were also diagnosed with COVID-19. The infections followed weeks of planning this summer intended to prevent passing the virus among students, staff and teachers.
Yesterday, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced RI has successfully lobbied the federal government for an additional three weeks of unemployment support. The Department of Labor and Training will be distributing an additional $300 per week to those who certified for unemployment benefits for the weeks ending Aug. 22, Aug. 29, and Sept. 5. If you certified for unemployment during those three weeks, the money will be automatically deposited into your account. The first $600 will be deposited by early next week, and the final $300 will be deposited within a week after.
With a September 30 deadline looming and Census workers going door-to-door trying to reach those households that have not yet responded to the Census, Rhode Island leaders are making a final push to get everyone to fill out the government survey.
Census count countdown
On Friday, Governor Gina M. Raimondo, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, officials from Rhode Island Complete Count Committee and United Way of Rhode Island and state and local leaders were joined virtually by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Ciciline at at the WaterFire Arts Center to underscored the need to complete the Census and the serious risks of what’s at stake should the Ocean State not provide an accurate count.
An under-count could cost Rhode Island hundreds of millions of dollars over the coming decade and impact funding for schools, roads, hospitals, and more.
Self-response rates are currently low in communities such as Central Falls, Newport, Providence, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made a full and accurate Census count even more difficult this year. Rhode Island currently has an estimated 94.4 percent of households enumerated, which is above the national average, of 93 percent, but trails other New England states like Maine (97.6%), Connecticut (97.2%), Vermont (96.7%), and Massachusetts (95.1%).
- Enumerators – Census counters – will be out in local communities, wearing masks, keeping social distance, while conducting in-person interviews to make an accurate count.
- If enumerators are unable to performa an interview, they’ll leave a notice people can use to fill out their own information online.
- People who have not completed the Census may proactively fill it out online at Census.gov.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died, leaving a grieving nation and two political parties vying to decide who should rightfully nominate the next person to take the vacant seat on the bench.
In one corner, GOP Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who previously argued, contrary to the Constitution, that a sitting president should not be allowed to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court just prior to an election., while Democrat President Barack Obama was president. Now, with Ginsburg passed and fellow Republican President Donald Trump in the same position, McConnell has experience a charge of heart, vowing to vote quickly on a new nominee.
GOP Sen. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer say they intend to hold McConnell to his stated principles.