Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Wisconsin governor wary of Trump visit … New Jersey to reopen some indoor dining … Virginia county’s plan to use libraries as daycare facilities sparks controversy … Alabama mayor asks Mardi Gras organizers to consider parade alternatives.
A software failure disrupted the first day of remote learning during the 2020-21 school year for thousands of students and teachers in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system—the fourth-largest school district in the country. School districts around the nation are turning to online classes as part of the national effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. “I’m really disappointed,” said Gennylia Dalien, a high school junior. “I usually look forward to the start of school, but right now I’m just frustrated.” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho described the way the school day had unfolded as “one of the greatest disappointments” and said, “our community deserves better.” The software problem disabled access to the district’s website, portal, email servers, grade book and attendance tracker. Officials described it as an issue with a “switch” operated by Cisco Systems. As of Monday evening, the company hadn’t provided a timeline for when the issue would be resolved. Some teachers did find workarounds to the technology problems on Monday and some teaching did take place. Carvalho said schools may open their doors by mid-September for students whose parents would rather they attend in-person classes. But he said online learning would continue to be an option for others. [Miami Herald, WPLG Local10.com]
KENOSHA | President Trump on Monday said that he would visit Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday to thank law enforcement and the National Guard for their work quelling protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in the city. Trump will be arriving after Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, sent the president a letter urging him to reconsider the visit. “I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state. I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together,” Evers wrote. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, during remarks on CNN on Sunday, addressed the possibility of Trump visiting. “I don’t know how, given any of the previous statements that the president made, that he intends to come here to be helpful and we absolutely don’t need that right now,” Barnes, who is also a Democrat, said. [Politico, Associated Press]
INDOOR DINING | New Jersey may allow indoor dining as early as this week. This would be the first time patrons can sit down to eat inside at a restaurant since the state shut down indoor dining in March. Restaurants will be limited to 25% capacity. “Reopening responsibly will help us restore one of our state’s key industries while continuing to make progress against COVID-19,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. [Reuters]
LIBRARIES | Loudoun County, Virginia decided to use two of the county’s libraries as day care facilities for county employees during the pandemic, sparking pushback from the library’s Board of Trustees, who said that the decision deprives 6,000 library customers per week of the facilities’ services. “The Library Board of Trustees and Library Administration were not informed or consulted during the development of the proposal. If we had been consulted, we would have been able to make sure that the plan’s negative impact to services available to our library users was mitigated to the greatest extent possible,” said Denis Cotter, chairman of the board. [WTOP]
PARADE ALTERNATIVES | Mobile, Alabama Mayor Sandy Stimpson is asking Mardi Gras organizers to consider alternative celebrations should the pandemic drag on into February. “For now, I ask that you think about creative outdoor alternatives to a traditional parade and large, dense crowd format,” he said. [AL.com]
Bill Lucia is a senior reporter for Route Fifty. Emma Coleman is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.