News Summary: Vermont Launches Upskill Program, Offers Two Free University Courses to About 500 Residents

Vermont Reporters provide a summary of top take-out information and more for Wednesday, July 14.

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As the Vermont pandemic state of emergency has ended and coronavirus restrictions have been lifted statewide, we will no longer be reporting the daily case count at the top of this bulletin. Click here for the latest case newsand find the latest vaccination data online at any time.

1. COVID-19 cases in New England, New York and Quebec have more than doubled in the past two weeks

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in New England, New York and Quebec has jumped by more than 50% in the past two weeks.

And Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak said on Tuesday that the Delta variant of the coronavirus was likely behind the rise.

“It’s a good reminder that Delta’s impact can be seen even in the most vaccinated region of the country, in part because even in New England, there are still 2.7 million people who are eligible for. vaccines but have not yet protected, “Pieciak mentioned.

Pieciak says the number of new COVID-19 cases in Vermont has increased slightly over the past two weeks.

But he says the overall number of cases in Vermont is still well below the threshold that would trigger the reinstatement of masking and distancing requirements.

Peter Hirschfeld

State officials report 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday

State health officials reported 19 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday.

Four people are currently hospitalized with the virus in the state, including one in intensive care.

82.9% of eligible Vermonters have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Karen anderson

2. Health officials announce they will unveil new COVID-19 protocols for Vermont schools in the fall

Centers for Disease Control released new COVID-19 guidelines for K-12 schools in the United States

But Vermont public health officials say they will wait until August to unveil protocols for public schools here.

Health Commissioner Dr Mark Levine said the prevalence of the virus in Vermont would play an important role in masking and distancing decisions.

“So that will all be taken into account, and we think it’s a little premature here in early July to forcefully say what we’re going to say a month from now,” Levine said.

CDC guidelines indicate that a return to in-person learning should be the top priority for public schools.

And the CDC recommends a mask term for students over 2 who aren’t fully immunized.

Peter Hirschfeld

3. Housing advocates in Rutland express frustration with Governor Scott’s recent veto on the housing bill

Housing advocates in Rutland are frustrated with Gov. Phil Scott’s recent veto on a bill that would have boosted property security, provided grants to landlords and set up a statewide rental registry .

Melanie Paskevich works for Neighbourworks of Western Vermont. She says the housing shortage has become a crisis and getting vacant homes back online is crucial. She says a statewide rental property listing would have sped up that effort.

“We don’t know who to talk to,” Paskevich said. “We don’t know how to get in touch with these owners and if there was a record we could identify these owners, contact them and say, ‘Hey, we have these loan opportunities, and maybe we have them. grant dollars, we can help you fix those units, we can, you know, help find, you know, tenants if you need them.

Paskevich says that last year, nearly $ 2 million in funding helped homeowners in Addison, Rutland and Bennington counties rehabilitate 70 units, primarily targeting low-income tenants.

She says Neighbourworks and other Vermont housing organizations were excited to continue this program.

“But once we heard the veto, it kind of ended it all,” she said. “Which is very regrettable because I cannot say enough: once again, the housing crisis, the need is there, the desire is there.”

The governor has said that despite his veto, funding to help homeowners is included in the state budget – but Paskevich says it is insufficient.

Scott says the legislation would create more bureaucracy and ultimately reduce the number of housing options in Vermont.

Nina Keck

4. Young activists call for the reinstatement of the motel housing program

Young activists across Vermont are calling on Gov. Phil Scott to reinstate a motel housing program for about 700 homeless people in Vermont.

The Scott administration has expanded the eligibility requirements for emergency housing during the pandemic.

But these expanded guidelines expired in early July.

Scott maintains his decision to end the
program and says the state cannot afford to make these changes permanent.

“And we think going back to more traditional ways of helping the homeless would be more beneficial for the individual – getting the full services and so on that they need,” he said.

Addie Lentzner is a high school student from Bennington. Lentzner and other young Vermonters held a press conference on Tuesday to urge the governor to reconsider his decision.

“The fact that we’re ending it so soon is perhaps a testament to the fact that Vermont maybe only cares about the homeless when the whole world is in crisis,” Lentzner said.

Vermont Legal Aid has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Scott’s decision to end the motel housing program.

Housing advocates across the state have called on Scott to keep the expanded eligibility criteria.

Peter Hirschfeld

5. Two free college courses available to 500 Vermont residents through UVM, CCV looking for career changes

Governor Phil Scott announced Tuesday that the state is launching a new vocational training program in partnership with the Community College of Vermont and the University of Vermont.

The program will offer two free classes to approximately 500 Vermont residents. The initiative is funded by $ 4 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Classes, slated to begin this fall, are offered in three areas: the digital economy, health, and leadership and management.

Joyce Judy is president of the Community College of Vermont. She says the program is for unemployed or underemployed residents who might be looking for a career change. But funding is limited.

“This is a time that is finally making higher education really affordable in Vermont,” Judy said. “A lot of these classes, a lot of these opportunities are free. But step up now because that money will no longer be there, I can assure you, in the future. “

Scott said the program marks a significant investment in Vermonters.

“As we recover from the pandemic, it is so important that we take all of the funding opportunities that have been offered to us to make transformative investments that will help us build back stronger than before,” Scott said.

Vermont is one of the few states to roll out programs to re-qualify workers.

Learn more here.

Marlon hyde

6. Congressman Welch applauds passage of For the People Act by House

Congressman Peter Welch has said that the timely passage of a voting rights law is one of the most important issues facing Congress this summer.

Welch said the law is needed to offset efforts by Republican governors and GOP lawmakers in a number of states to restrict access to the vote.

“So this is a direct effort inspired by former President Trump to win by limiting who can vote and the essential component of our democracy is the right of each of us, who has the right to vote, to be able to vote. . “

The legislation has been passed by the House and is awaiting consideration in the Senate where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threatens to filibuster on the issue.

Supporters of the People’s Law are urging the Democratic leadership in the Senate to create an exemption from the filibuster rule for this bill.

Bob kinzel

7. Welch calls for extension of telehealth coverage under Medicare

Congressman Peter Welch wants to expand the use of telehealth services for the Medicare program.

The Biden administration has given temporary approval to an expansion of these programs during the pandemic.

As co-chair of the House Telehealth Committee, Welch urges the administration to make this decision permanent.

“It has really turned out to be a very efficient way of delivering services, so what we learned during COVID-19 is: telehealth works,” Welch said. “And why would we want to give up on something that has been so beneficial for patients and providers? “

Welch says he is confident that many Medicare patients will participate in preventive health programs if telehealth services are available.

Bob kinzel

8. The residents of Barre Town demand an end to logging in the town’s forest

Some Barre Town residents are calling on the town to stop logging in the 380-acre Barre Town Forest.

VTDigger reports that a petition to stop the cutting of trees has hundreds of signatures.

Logging is required in the forest management plan drawn up in 2013. Barre town manager Carl Rodgers told the outlet that the latest harvest brought in $ 27,000 to the town’s general fund.

Some residents expressed concerns about the way logging was being approached, including leaving large holes in the forest canopy.

VTDigger quoted a consultant forester who said that logging was carried out for economic reasons and to promote forest health.

The city plans to hold a public debate on the issue on August 3.

Brittany Patterson

Abagael Giles compiled and edited this article.

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