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Staffing shortages could delay bringing students back to in-person learning

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 5:16pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine On Friday, 16 school districts covering Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties who are members of the Champlain Valley Superintendents Association (CVSA), announced that while they are committed to bringing elementary students back to four or five days per week of in-person learning, they face serious and varied challenges due to a lack of staffing. The forecasted challenges are numerous given that districts are stretched very thin, with a number of teaching and staff positions currently open. This puts districts in a precarious position that could result in in-person learning days being reduced and/or scaled back from their current models. 

VDH COVID-19 Update: 28 new cases, contact tracing at three sites

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 5:09pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health is reporting 28 new cases statewide. There is one person hospitalized. There have been no deaths associated with COVID since early August, which are holding at 58. The state has now surpassed 2,000 cases. At Friday’s press conference, Health Commissioner Dr Mark Levine provided an update on the outbreak in Central Vermont, tied to recreational ice sports, which is now at 43 cases. There are also cases at Saint Michael's College that the VDH is tracing and another in Cambridge related to a wedding.

St Mike's goes to remote classes after positive COVID tests

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 4:44pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Saint Michael’s President Lorraine Sterritt sent a message to the college community early Thursday regarding positive COVID-19 test results among students. Later in the day, Dawn Ellinwood, vice president for student affairs/dean of students, shared further information on additional surveillance testing this week and progress made on the contact tracing of the recent cases. Classes will be held remotely for a week, sports will be suspended through the weekend and students are asked not to leave the area.

Vermont/Burlington Democratic Parties settle campaign finance violations

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 4:31pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Democratic Party and the Burlington Democratic Committee will pay a penalty to the State of Vermont for campaign finance reporting violations. According to a settlement reached today, the Vermont Democratic Party and the Burlington Democratic Committee failed to timely file reports regarding the March 3, 2020 Town Meeting Day election, in violation of 17 V.S.A. § 2964(b)(1), for which they will collectively pay $2,750 as a civil penalty.

Weekly unemployment claims hold near 600

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 2:00pm -- tim
There are still 13,438 Vermonters getting regular UI benefits and another 8,749 getting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims increased by 58 to 601 (up 209 from the same time last year) but remain near their lowest levels since the first week of March. The last time claims were under 500 was on March 7 when there were 446. As for the week's ongoing jobless claims, for the week ending October 17, 2020, the Labor Department processed 14,039 Claims, down 1,964 from the previous week and 11,817 more than the same time last year.

Scott and Levine layout Vermont’s initial vaccine distribution rollout

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 12:16pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, today detailed the state’s framework for distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, once one is produced and distributed to the state. The state has submitted responses to a series of questions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), laying out the framework for vaccine distribution and Vermont’s preparedness. The federal government, which is responsible for nationwide distribution of vaccines, still needs to provide details on many logistics surrounding a potential vaccine, and this interim COVID-19 vaccination plan will evolve as new information comes forward.

VBSR launches fund to support small business resilience

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 11:15am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine In response to the business disruptions and financial stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility announced today the creation of the VBSR Small Business Resiliency Fund, which will provide grants to small businesses in Vermont who demonstrate the ability to rebuild, sustain, and grow their operations through a “triple-bottom-line” focused on people, planet, and prosperity.

ECFiber plans 2021 expansion of fiber-optic network

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 5:24am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine ECFiber will build over 160 miles of fiber-optic network in towns of Bradford, Corinth, Fairlee, West Fairlee and Windsor in 2021, according to a proposed budget released to its member towns this week. The budget also provides funding for 75 miles of network in Hartford and 40 miles of construction in existing towns to meet increased demand. ECFiber sent its annual report and proposed budget to the selectboards of its 30 member towns this week and announced plans for an electronic public hearing on the proposed budget on Tuesday, November 10th, at 7pm. The budget, with any changes, will be formally adopted at the December 8th meeting.

Parker LORD to provide PPE to local Howard Center to support children

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 4:55am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Parker LORD Vermont-based MicroStrain team is using a 3D printer to supply Vermont Mental Health Agency, Howard Center, with face shields. The face shields allow clinicians to communicate more effectively with children returning to school and maintain safety protocols considering the global Coronavirus pandemic. Incorporating feedback from Howard Center, Parker LORD ensured the face shields met all state requirements by using laser foam cutouts to fill a gap between the visor and the wearer’s forehead. After weeks of 3D printing and a few late nights of assembly, Parker LORD produced 75 of the lightweight face masks for Howard Center staff.

Vermont Corrections staff member tests positive for COVID-19

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 5:51pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine An officer at Northeast Correctional Complex in St Johnsbury has tested positive for COVID-19. The officer was last in the facility on October 12. Vermont Department of Corrections and Vermont Department of Health officials immediately took the following actions upon receipt of the positive test result Thursday.

VDH COVID-19 Update: 15 new cases, better understanding of transmission

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 5:45pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 statewide, as well a Department of Corrections staff member testing positive. Also, an investigation conducted by VDH scientists and staff from the Department of Corrections found that transmission of COVID-19 can occur during multiple brief exposures with someone who is infected. Notably, the findings of their work were published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly on October 21, and were cited by the CDC when it announced its updated definition of what is considered to be a close contact.