As schools nationwide open for fall instruction amid the pandemic, parents are faced with having to work while facing the possibility of school or childcare closures. According to a Care.com survey of 1,000 parents with school age children under the age of 15, 73% of them say they must make major adjustments to their professional lives to address the lack of childcare for the upcoming school year. Another 15% say they are considering leaving the workforce completely. But some of these parents may be able to take advantage of financial help, thanks to legislation passed by Congress in March.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) will allow parents who work full-time or part-time to take paid leave or receive unemployment if they have children whose schools are closed for in-person learning due to the pandemic.
According to the Department of Labor website, “the act grants two weeks (up to 80 hours) of emergency paid sick leave at two-thirds pay (up to $200 per day) if you’re unable to work because you must care for a child under the age of 18 whose school or care provider is closed or unavailable due to the pandemic.”
If you’ve been employed for at least 30 calendar days, parents can receive up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds pay (up to $200 per day) if you’re unable to work because of school or day care closings due to the pandemic. The 10 weeks can also be taken occasionally. For example, if a child goes to school three days a week and learns remotely for two days, then the parent can take paid leave twice a week until 12 weeks’ worth of leave are completed.
The best thing about this option is that it allows you to keep your job, health insurance and other employer benefits.
For more eligibility information, go to www.dol.gov. [LINK: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave]
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
A new report by the Brookings Institution reveals that Covid-19 is now ranked number three in the leading causes of death among African Americans. Only heart disease and cancer rank higher than coronavirus.
“If I told you on Jan. 1 that a new virus that we did not even know about would, in August, be the third leading cause of death for Black Americans, our hair should have been set on fire and we would have an extensive public policy response to this unprecedented pandemic,” said Trevon Logan, co-author and professor of economics at the Ohio State University.
In addition to the pandemic’s effect on the health of Black Americans, the report finds that over 50% of Blacks live in a household that has suffered a loss of income and have little to no savings to cushion during times of economic downturn. Lastly, 20 percent of families experience food scarcity.
Leaders at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill decided to pull the plug on in-person classes after 130 students tested positive for the coronavirus in the first week of classes.
Of the 954 students who were tested in the past week, 13.6% of those came back positive. Five employees also were infected. As of Monday morning, 177 students were in isolation and 349 were in quarantine, both on and off campus. Most students with Covid-19 have demonstrated mild symptoms.
As students nationwide return to college campuses, schools are reporting hundreds of positive Covid-19 cases. The University of Notre Dame has reported 58 students have tested positive since returning to campus on August 3. At least 155 students in one dorm at Colorado College in Colorado Springs are now in quarantine after a student who tested positive did not practice social distancing mandates.
Twenty three members of a sorority house at Oklahoma State University have become infected with the virus.
Health officials with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are warning of potential accuracy issues with a widely used coronavirus test could lead to false results. Issues can be caused by incorrect use of testing equipment and errors in software.
The FDA issued the alert Monday to doctors and lab technicians using Thermo Fisher’s TaqPath genetic test. Last month, health officials in Connecticut reported that at least 90 people, mostly nursing home residents, received false positive results.
Researchers at the University of Southern California say they’ve discovered that the symptoms of the coronavirus tend to appear in a specific order. This finding could help with earlier detection and treatment for patients.
According to the study, published in the medical journal Frontier Public Health, the most likely order of symptoms is fever, then cough and muscle pain, followed by nausea and/or vomiting, and lastly diarrhea. Researchers say the first three symptoms don’t all have to appear in sequence but can occur together.
The study adds that although not all patients experience the same set of symptoms, the findings can help differentiate Covid-19 from other illnesses.
In a reversal, COVID-19 infections are again increasing in nursing homes, reaching an all-time high of Covid-19 cases in Sunbelt states.
According to federal statistics by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, the number of cases stood at 9,715 during the week of July 26, up from a previous high of 9,421 cases in the last week in May.
The uptick in infections is being blamed on community spread and slow testing results that delays identifying the virus among nursing home residents.
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