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STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Michigan streamlines benefits renewal form … Another mayor moves after home protests … Los Angeles firefighter believed to be kidnapped in Mexico.
New York City is looking to set up a random Covid testing system for public schools once students head back into classrooms, with 10% to 20% of children and teachers getting tested each month. The idea, which the teachers’ union pushed for as a condition to reopening for in-person learning, is to catch asymptomatic students and teachers who could further spread the disease without realizing it. To set up the testing, as well as make other changes like improved ventilation, New York pushed back school start dates to mid-month. The idea for the country’s largest school district is to reopen for in-person school on Sept. 21 and begin remote learning a week earlier. "This is what I would hold up as an example of how to get things done. We now can say that the New York City Public School system has the most aggressive policies and greatest safeguards of any school system in the United States of America,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. Despite delays across the country in getting test results back, the plan in New York is to process school tests within 48 hours. Each test will cost $70, which means with as many as 600,000 students opting to attend in-person school in the city the expense each month could be $10 million. Los Angeles schools are also planning to implement a testing program, but it is unclear when they will open for all students. The Los Angeles County health department announced this week that districts can open schools in September for students with disabilities and those learning English, but not for all students because the level of Covid spread is too high. [New York Times; WABC; Los Angeles Times; CNN]
SIMPLIFIED FORM | Michigan officials say they have simplified the form people need to fill out to continue receiving benefits like food stamps and cash assistance, saying they hope the less bulky form will result in more people easily renewing. Tests of the new forms earlier this year resulted in fewer errors and more people completing the process. “We are committed to making the process of getting help as easy and simple as possible,” said Robert Gordon, director of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services. [Bridge Michigan]
MAYOR NOT HOME | A second mayor is not living at home following a rash of recent protests outside the building. Similar to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who said he would be moving out of his condo building for the sake of the other residents, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson told reporters this week that she has not been living at home for the past two months. “We did it to deescalate the situation, to save police resources, and importantly because our neighbors were being disturbed and threatened,” she said. [Post-Dispatch]
KIDNAPPED FIREFIGHTER | Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Wednesday that the city believes a county firefighter who went missing two weeks ago in Mexico is likely the victim of a kidnapping. Garcetti said that the city will "work tirelessly" to make sure Francisco Aguilar gets home safe. "I want to say very clearly to anybody who would kidnap a member of our fire department that this is a member not just of our city government family, but of our community here in Los Angeles," Garcetti said. [People; Los Angeles Times]
BIDEN ENDORSEMENT | The former Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, called President Donald Trump “a bully” and said that he is endorsing Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. “I will continue to support and stand up for Republican policies and values, and support Republican candidates, but I will not support Donald Trump for reelection,” he said. [USA Today]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty and Emma Coleman is assistant editor.