BACK TO SCHOOL? HOW?
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — School districts across America are in the midst of making wrenching decisions over how to resume classes in settings radically altered by the coronavirus pandemic, with school buses running below capacity, virtual learning, outdoor classrooms and quarantine protocols for infected children the new norm.
The plans for the upcoming school year are taking shape by the day, and vary district to district, state to state. The debates have been highly emotional, with tempers flaring among parents and administrators, and have been made all the more vexing by record numbers of COVID-19 cases being reported each day.
In Florida, some school districts want students back in the classroom in early August, even though the virus is surging through communities. On average, Florida has reported more than 7,000 new cases each day recently — more than seven times what it was reporting a month ago.
New Mexico, which has been largely spared major outbreaks, plans a hybrid model of virtual and in-person learning. Parents in New York have demanded schools reopen in the fall. And in Maine, more outdoor learning is planned. Districts nationwide are coming up with various rules for wearing masks. Some want all students to wear them. Others, such as Marion County, Indiana, plan to limit the requirement to older children.
Each of these decisions is fraught, trying to balance health concerns with regaining as much normalcy as possible. Parents, wrung out after months of juggling full-time work and full-time home schooling, are desperate for help. Children, isolated from their peers, are yearning for social interaction. And everyone, including teachers, is concerned about stepping into the unknown, with so much still uncertain about the virus.
Districts are worried about being able to afford added supplies — like masks more buses. And school officials say the resurgence of virus cases under way could shatter reopening plans before they’re even put in place.
FREDERICK DOUGLASS STATUE IN ROCHESTER, NEW YORK REMOVED
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was ripped from its base in Rochester, New York on the anniversary of one of his most famous speeches, delivered in that city in 1852.
Police said the statue of Douglass was taken yesterday from Maplewood Park, a site along the Underground Railroad where Douglas and Harriet Tubman helped shuttle slaves to freedom.
Police say the statue was found at the brink of the Genesee River gorge about 50 feet from its pedestal. and that there was damage to the base and a finger.
In Rochester on July 5, 1852, Douglass gave the speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” in which he called the celebration of liberty a sham in a nation that enslaves and oppresses its Black citizens.
To a slave, Douglass said, Independence Day is “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”
Carvin Eison, a leader of the project that brought the Douglass statue to the park, told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle another statue will take its place because the damage is too significant. Eison tells WROC, “Is this some type of retaliation because of the national fever over confederate monuments right now? Very disappointing, it’s beyond disappointing.”
NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING LEAVES 2 DEAD, 8 WOUNDED
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A shooting at a nightclub early yesterday left two people dead and eight wounded in South Carolina.
Two Greenville County sheriff’s deputies noticed a disturbance at Lavish Lounge just before 2 a.m., and saw a large crowd running out of the building. Sheriff Hobart Lewis says there was “active gunfire from inside the building,”
No one was immediately taken into custody. Bolt told the AP that the sheriff’s office was looking for two suspects, but couldn’t provide names or descriptions.
Authorities weren’t sure what led to the gunfire.
Police say a “very large crowd” was at the nightclub for “some type of concert.” A post on Lavish Lounge’s Facebook page advertised a July 4 performance by trap rapper Foogiano. A bookings representative told the AP via text message that Foogiano was fine and his team was safe.
GIRL SHOT ON JULY FOURTH AFTER PEOPLE IN CROWD FIRE ON CAR NEAR
ATLANTA (AP) — An 8-year-old girl was shot and killed on the Fourth of July after at least two people in a crowd opened fire on a car she was riding in near a flash point of recent protests in Atlanta.
Police identified the girl as Secoriea Turner, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for justice during an emotional news conference yesterday with the girl’s grief-stricken mother.
The shooting happened near the Wendy’s restaurant where a Black man, Rayshard Brooks, was killed by an Atlanta police officer who shot him in the back on June 12. The fast food outlet was later burned, and the area has since become a site for frequent demonstrations against police brutality.
Authorities said the mother tried to drive through illegally placed barricades in the area when the vehicle came under fire Saturday night.
“You shot and killed a baby,” the mayor said. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported she added, “and there wasn’t just one shooter, there were at least two shooters.”
In a statement yesterday, police said the girl was in a car with her mother and a friend of the mother when they got off I-75/85 onto University Avenue and were trying to enter a parking lot nearby. They ran into a group of armed individuals who had blocked the entrance.
Police say they are seeking help from the public to identify those involved and released a wanted poster saying a person dressed in black and another in a white T-shirt were being sought.
The mayor urges anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.
OFFICER CHARGED IN GEORGE FLOYD'S KILLING HAS BEEN RELEASED ON BOND
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former Minneapolis police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd has been released from jail.
Hennepin County jail records say Tou Thao, age 34, is the third former officer accused in Floyd’s death freed on bond. He posted $750,000 bond Saturday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. All four officers on the scene of Floyd’s death have been fired and face criminal charges.
Floyd, who was Black, died May 25 while being arrested. A white police officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes as the handcuffed man begged for air before he eventually stopped moving. Besides the charges against the officers, Floyd’s death led to worldwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice.
Thao is set to appear in court Sept. 11 on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Two other former officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, face the same charges. Derek Chauvin, the officer who pressed his knee down on Floyd’s neck, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence. He remains in police custody.
NHL, PLAYERS UNION, AGREE ON WAY TO RESUME SEASON
UNDATED (AP) — Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has told The Associated Press the NHL and NHL Players’ Association have agreed on a way to resume the season.
Daly said the sides are still negotiating an extension of the collective bargaining agreement. A CBA extension is crucial to the process, and the league’s board of governors, players’ executive committee and full membership must still approve that and the return to play protocols to bring hockey back this summer.
If everything is ratified, it will end a pandemic-forced shutdown for 31 teams across North America that began in mid-March. Games would resume in late July or early August with 24 teams taking part in expanded playoffs, finishing with the Stanley Cup being awarded in October.
Assuming approval from owners and players, teams are expected to open training camps July 13 before traveling to two “hub” cities for games. Players have been able to skate and train off-ice in voluntary, small-group workouts since June 8, nearly three months after hockey was shut down March 12.
Returning for the playoffs is seen as a stirring victory for the NHL, which like other top leagues faced the prospect of losing millions more without the TV revenue tied to the postseason.