Coronavirus: Schools Get Learning Loss Funds, IU Rolls Back Vaccine Requirement Proof
The Indiana Department of Health reported 69 additional confirmed deaths over the last week. That brings the state’s total to 13,267 confirmed deaths. The state also reported more than 3,200 new cases in the last week – the fewest reported in a single week since July 2020.
Indiana has administered 2,681,559 initial vaccine doses, with 2,574,136 Hoosiers fully vaccinated.
Important to note, our weekly numbers are usually measured from Sunday’s data, but the Indiana Department of Health did technical maintenance on their dashboard on Sunday, therefore these numbers are current as of Saturday.
Here are your statewide COVID-19 headlines from last week.
Community organizations and schools across Indiana will receive more than $120 million in grant funding from the state as part of efforts to support student learning after a massively disrupted school year.
Officials announced awards Tuesday, after state lawmakers created the Student Learning Recovery Grant Program earlier this year in response to the pandemic.
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The Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County received one of the largest amounts of any one applicant so far, at nearly $8 million.
CEO Jacqueline Kronk said the funds will support an amped up afterschool program starting this fall, including hiring at least 60 more people. Staffing, she says, is likely the biggest challenge.
Indiana University has amended its vaccine requirement with an option to avoid providing proof – IU faculty, students and staff will be able to attest to their vaccination without having to provide documentation of having received the shots as was required under the previous policy.
This policy change comes after several GOP legislators and Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita argued state law does not allow the university to make such a requirement.
"Anytime that we have a significant policy issue, we are certainly going to discuss these with lawmakers," said IU spokesperson Chuck Carney. "This is what we decided to do to alleviate that concern."
However, the university said it will implement an incentive program to encourage the IU community to provide proof of the vaccine.
Schools across the state are offering bonuses to their staff as tokens of appreciation after an intense and unusual school year.
They’re hoping extra pay and one-time bonuses incentivize teachers to work summer school and come back next fall, but teachers say it’s not a substitute for sustainable increases to their pay in the long-term.
Schools are using federal relief funding to offer the bonuses, in some places up to $2,000. In Vigo County, employees are getting what the school district is calling COVID Retention Stipends, with teachers getting $1,100.
But teachers are still eager to see leaders prioritize sustainable increases to teacher compensation in the future.
As of May 24, the Indiana Department of Correction said it has a 78 percent acceptance rate of the COVID-19 vaccine among incarcerated inmates.
IDOC spokesperson Annie Goeller said 13,143 offenders received their first shot and, of those, 6,829 are fully vaccinated.
Goeller said it’s difficult to track how many DOC staff have received the vaccine because many of them are vaccinated at outside facilities such as hospitals, doctors’ offices and pharmacies.