Coronavirus: Workforce Department Clarifies Benefits, Schools Grapple With Title IX
The Indiana State Department of Health reported 32 additional confirmed deaths on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 1,411. The state announced more than 24,000 total confirmed cases, with more than 146,000 Hoosiers tested.
Many workers concerned about their health as businesses reopen will lose their unemployment benefits when called back to work. There are exceptions, but they’ll be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The Department of Workforce Development is advising workers worried about returning to work to talk with their employer about how to do that safely. If concerns aren’t resolved, they can still seek unemployment benefits, but their eligibility will be assessed individually and could take time.
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DWD Chief of Staff Josh Richardson says the agency is committed to ensuring that workers aren’t incentivized to do something that would put their health at risk.
Some restaurants in northern Indiana are opening their doors to dine-in customers Monday for the first time in nearly two months. Local restaurant owners have put some measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Restaurants in Indiana are now allowed to open their dining rooms at half capacity and some owners are changing the way they do business.
Drew Sachau is the corporate executive chef for Market Fresh Gourmet which operates restaurants like Evil Czech Brewery, Corndance Tavern, and Jesús Latin Grill. He says life is so different now versus when they first closed that it’s like reopening to a whole new world.
“Now that we’re open and we’ve had more than a 48-hour notice, we’ve been able to thoroughly clean the restaurant, get everybody back, get people trained, revamp our menus, and look at this as a fresh start for everybody,” he says.
Schools are still learning what new Title IX regulations handed down from the U.S. Department of Education last week mean for them as they continue dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The new rules revamp and clarify policies focused on when and how schools handle claims of sexual harassment or assault on campus.
Lisa Tanselle is an attorney with the Indiana School Boards Association. She says adjusting to the new regulations in less than three months – and during a pandemic – is going to be challenging for schools.
"To implement these rules when they take effect on Aug. 14, it is going to be a huge undertaking," she says.
Tanselle describes the new Title IX regulations as significant, and says they make the process for schools to follow more "prescriptive."
Some fear the stress of social isolation, historic unemployment and health fears during the pandemic threatens our mental health. Dozens of national organizations raised concerns to Congress that the U.S. is unprepared to handle what may be a mental health crisis.
Austin Archer is 32-years-old and lives in an Indianapolis suburb. Through the COVID-19 crisis he’s been working at a grocery store. Otherwise, he and his family have been focused on social distancing.
“Going through isolation and social distancing, it's had a pretty, I would say, profound effect on my ability to stay positive and to keep myself motivated to do things during the day,” Archer says.
Archer says he’s suffered bouts of severe depression before. He reached out to Side Effects because he wanted to know if social isolation might intensify anxiety and depression.
“After a while I think on anyone, not just people with depression, I'd say it hits you that things are different,” Archer says. “And then this sinking feeling hits that you don't know when things are potentially going to go back to normal.”
Across the country, calls to helplines have spiked. The Disaster Distress Helpline, operated by the federal government, saw a 880 percent increase in calls and a 1,000 percent increase in texts.
As independent artists, musicians and creatives face another month of unemployment due to venue closings and restrictions, Arts United and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne have joined forces to launch an Artist Relief Fund.
This user-friendly program is carefully devised to offer immediate assistance to individual artists who have lost work and income due to COVID-19 as well as information on resources and support for the future.
Eligibility includes musicians, visual artists, actors, filmmakers, photographers and dancers who work and teach among gatherings of people.
This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.