Monday, May 15, 2023

Don’t Let Unspent Covid Funds Become Slush Funds; COVID-19 School Closures Leave Lasting Impact on Kids, and other C-Virus related stories

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Don’t Let Unspent Covid Funds Become Slush Funds:
Clawing these appropriations back would reduce the deficit and give power back to Congress.
The House has passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would raise the debt limit for a year in exchange for deficit-relief measures. One of those measures—recovering billions of dollars of approved but unspent Covid-19 relief funds—shouldn’t be controversial. The official public-health emergency ends Thursday. The actual emergency has been over for a long time. But some lawmakers want to use the money as a slush fund.
Congress appropriated $4.6 trillion for pandemic response and recovery in six Covid-19 relief laws enacted between March 2020 and March 2021. More than two years later, $444 billion of the total remains unspent. More than $114 billion hasn’t even been “obligated,” or committed to pay for goods and services ordered or received. Of this amount, $90.5 billion remains available for obligation and $23.7 billion has expired, meaning that it can’t be used to incur new obligations.
Section 201 of the House bill calls for the rescission—permanent cancellation—of these unobligated balances. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.), ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, objects and has produced an eight-page list of projects she says wouldn’t be funded if the unobligated balances are rescinded.
Undoubtedly, some of these projects are worthwhile, but Ms. DeLauro’s catalog raises a big question: Why, more than two years after the money was appropriated, hasn’t it been spent on these presumably valuable projects? --->READ MORE HERE
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COVID-19 school closures leave lasting impact on kids::
COVID-19's lasting impact on education can be seen in students from high school to grade school. Learning loss, social and emotional development and college acceptance standards have all changed since the early days of 2020.
Just this past weekend, students across the country sat for the SAT exams, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools that went test-optional decided to keep it. Some experts said this has created inequity in the admissions process.
"You'll see that like 87% of the freshman class submitted test scores," said Colleen Paparella, the president of D.C. College Counseling. "What that means is probably not that 87% of the applicants just happened to have them. It means that the school is not taking many kids that don't have test scores."
For students seeing their SAT score as the main piece of their application, it has become tougher to stand out.
"You look at some of these schools and what their new test ranges are, and it's just not in line with reality," said Paparella, "because it's not reality. It's not the reality of the situation in terms of who is applying. It's this very select group."
During the pandemic, about 1,600 colleges and universities went test-optional when students were unable to sit for the exams. All SATs were canceled in the spring of 2020, and some resumed in August of that year. Many testing centers, however, operated at reduced capacity and in select states making it harder for students to register for an exam.
Schools like William & Mary in Virginia went test-optional during the pandemic and recently announced they decided to keep that policy.
"As we found through our test-optional pilot program over the last few years, we continue to enroll highly qualified students – with or without a standardized test score – capable of succeeding academically and in contributing to the William & Mary community," said Associate Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Tim Wolfe in a statement to Fox News. "We’ve also seen – both here and nationally – that this flexibility increases our ability to recruit talented students who may not otherwise envision themselves at the university, including those who may be the first in their family to attend college." --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Biden issues orders revoking COVID-19 vaccine requirements for federal workers, foreigners flying to the US

Randi Weingarten fact-checked by Twitter after claiming she tried to reopen schools during COVID

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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