Well, school is not exactly out, but Gov. Roy Cooper announced today that all North Carolina public schools would be closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of the year, though distance learning will continue, teachers will continue to work and get paid, and the buildings themselves will still be available for use as facilities for serving the public good (meal distribution, wi-fi access and more).
No word as to when, or if, schools will reopen in the fall.
This sucks for the kids, of course, even worse than sitting in a classroom through this beautiful spring. A lost year is a big deal when each one is infused with so much meaning, so many rites of passage. I’ve got a graduating senior in my house who is totally getting the shaft. And I can’t promise this kid that college is a certainty in the fall.
It sucks for the parents, too, who are engaged in homeschooling their kids, and even afterwards. There will be no camps this summer, no vacations, no swimming lessons and probably no trips to the waterpark. The governor’s three-phase plan, outlined yesterday, gives us a 10-week timeline for easing back into public life. That’s right around the Fourth of July. And that’s only if we play our cards right.
That’s as fine a segue as any into the numbers.
- The United States passed a grim milestone today — 50,000 COVID-19 deaths, 25 percent of the total — and those are just the ones that have been properly documented. We’ve adjusted the dates after learning that the first COVID-19 death in the US was in early February, perhaps even sooner.
- We’ve got more than 890,000 diagnoses and will likely cross the 1 million mark by the end of the weekend.
- At least 90,000 have recovered — the data is sketchy.
- It’s been the single worst day of the whole crisis for NC in terms of new cases: 444 of them, and counting. The last worst day was April 11, when we added 408. No new deaths that I can find.
- Guilford County contributed 32 new cases to the state total — its worst day yet — for a total of 275.
- Forsyth County added three for a total of 146.
- We have completed more than 100,000 tests in NC. That’s about 1 percent of the population.
We’re giving staff media and livestream recommendations every week on the website and e-blast, so I’m reserving this space for lengthy YouTubes, mainly because it integrates so well with our website. Today I think we should talk about history, specifically the Spanish Flu, which ravaged the nation in the early part of the 20th Century. Why? No particular reason. Here are the dirty details in the first of a three-part lecture of the historic pandemic and the American response (spoiler alert: 675,000 of us died).
- Tonight’s featured image is “Place Vintimille” by Edouard Vuillard, from 1911. Thanks to the National Gallery of Art‘s public-domain collection.
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