Coronavirus: Winter storm shuts down testing sites, IDOE launches pandemic relief dashboard
The Indiana Department of Education launches a database to track schools’ spending of pandemic relief funding. The state health department shuts down vaccine and testing sites during the winter storm. And statewide COVID-19 cases are down.
Indiana reported nearly half as many COVID-19 cases last week compared to the week before. It’s the first in the last five weeks the state has averaged fewer than 10,000 cases per day. But those numbers come with an asterisk – due to the winter storm that shut down or reduced hours for testing sites across the state.
The Indiana Department of Health said clinics in LaPorte, Porter, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Huntington, Shelby, Madison, Howard, Vermillion, Jackson, Ripley, Clark and Daviess counties were on a reduced schedule Saturday.
In the last week, IDOH added 386 new deaths to its total. The state also reported 42,988 new cases.
The Indiana Department of Education launched a public database showing how much schools are spending in federal pandemic relief funding.
Indiana schools received a total of $2.8 billion in three rounds of stimulus through the CARES Act under President Donald Trump and the American Rescue Plan under President Joe Biden.
All of the aid is known as Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER. The aid must be spent by late 2024.
The funding has few restrictions, so districts can decide how best to spend the dollars to address student learning loss and continue operating through the pandemic. The dollars can be used to pay for tutors, social workers and longer school days, for example. And schools can also use it to invest in capital improvements, such as repairing ventilation systems.
The Indiana Senate is bracing for a contentious second half of session after the House sent several controversial measures its way.
Among the measures Senate lawmakers will grapple with in the next few weeks are a bill on COVID-19 vaccine mandates (HB 1001), a $1 billion-a-yeartax cut package (HB 1002), legislation policing how controversial topics are taught in schools (HB 1134) and a ban on transgender girls playing girls high school sports (HB 1041).