Friday, September 11, 2020   
MSU hosted more COVID testing for students and staff
Mississippi State University hosted a drive-thru COVID-19 testing center Thursday where students and staff members could be tested for the virus quickly. The University of Mississippi Medical Center and OCH Regional Medical Center teamed up to provide free testing. MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter said the university is working to utilize all facilities as in-person classrooms to maintain social distancing during the pandemic. MSU is also using other assets like the College of Veterinary Medicine to help the community cope with the virus. "As of today, we feel good about where we are and where we're headed," Salter said, "and we hope our students and faculty and staff will continue to follow the awareness guidelines."
Grants for Projects at MSU and USM, JSU to Serve as Polling Place
The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, an organization devoted to curing spinal cord injury by advancing research and improving the quality of life for individuals with paralysis, recently awarded a grant to Mississippi State University's T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability to help clients with paralysis. The $17,733 grant is a part of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation's Quality of Life Grants program, which it awards to nonprofits that support individuals living with paralysis. The grants are part of a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living, which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. MSU's T.K. Martin Center will use the funding to provide pressure mapping technology throughout Mississippi
Vicksburg Forest Products to invest $40 million, add 60 jobs
Vicksburg Forest Products announced Wednesday that it will expand its lumber mill operation. The project is a $40 million corporate investment and will create 60 jobs. Vicksburg Forest Products, which is headquartered in Jackson, purchased the Vicksburg sawmill from the Anderson-Tully Co. in May 2018 and converted it to a pine lumber operation. Anderson-Tully had produced hardwood lumber for 129 years. Anderson-Tully's 300,000 acres of hardwood along the Mississippi between Memphis and Natchez were not part of the 2018 sale. After the purchase, the facility underwent a large-scale transformation and is currently producing 75 million board feet of pine lumber on an annual basis. After the latest expansion, it will be capable of producing 180 million board feet of lumber per year, consisting of a diverse product mix. The Mississippi Development Authority is providing a $750,000 grant for building renovations, construction of a log yard and road construction and a $345,000 grant for drainage and erosion control and a railroad expansion.
Mississippi State Fair: 161 years strong and even COVID can't stop it -- for now
The Mississippi State Fair will celebrate 161 years when it gets underway on October 7th. Despite the threat of COVID-19, the annual event will continue as planned at the state fairgrounds in the Capital City. The fairgrounds complex covers 105 acres and under the current executive order, maximum capacity now stands at 200-people-per acre. According to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture, all gates will be monitored to ensure maximum capacity is not violated. All visitors will be required to wear face coverings upon entry. If you do not have one, a mask will be provided. All staff, midway employees, contractors, and vendors are required to wear masks. Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson said, "The CDC advises that people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be higher risk for severe illness from Coronavirus. Guests should evaluate their own risk in determining whether to attend. By coming to the Fair, you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with attendance."
Mississippi reports 853 new COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths
The Mississippi State Department of Health on Friday reported 853 new COVID-19 cases and 15 additional deaths. Lee County reported one additional death. The statewide total of COVID-19 cases since March 11 now stands at 89,175 with 2,670 deaths as a result of the virus. Around 74,098 people are estimated to have recovered from the virus as of September 7. The additional case counts are: Alcorn (12), Calhoun (2), Chickasaw (5), Clay (8), Itawamba (7), Lafayette (49), Lee (17), Marshall (16), Monroe (10), Oktibbeha (30), Pontotoc (8), Prentiss (10), Tippah (14), Tishomingo (10) and Union (5).
Some COVID-19 rules could change, Gov. Tate Reeves says. What about mask mandate?
As comments rolled in from Mississippians asking for an end to the mask mandate on Gov. Tate Reeves' latest Facebook Live, he had news for them. "I wouldn't expect it to expire on Monday," he said. "I'm exceptionally pleased with the effort of Mississippi, but I also think coming out of Labor Day weekend ... it is not likely that we will see a reduction in the need to wear masks statewide." Masks are working to bring down the spread of COVID-19, he said. "I think people having a mask on makes them more conscious and more aware of their surrounding and they tend to get much less close to people," he said. The governor did say it's possible some restrictions will be eased, like the number of people who can gather in outdoor groups. But the 11 p.m. curfew on bars may not be one of them. "What we have found -- and this is certainly true in K-12 schools as well -- is where there is structure, then we tend to do pretty well. It is when we get into those scenarios where there is not structure, such as bars at midnight ... that there is significantly more risk of the spread of the virus."
Public school retirements in Mississippi decrease amid coronavirus pandemic
Despite the dangers of the coronavirus and lack of planning by some school districts, Mississippi public school workers -- from teachers to cafeteria workers to bus drivers -- have largely decided against retiring, according to new data reviewed by the Clarion Ledger. The number of COVID-19 cases in Mississippi spiked in July, setting up a fierce debate over how and when to reopen the state's public schools. Some school districts lacked plans or had inadequate plans, according to the governor and the state's health officer. The leader of the Mississippi Association of Educators said she had heard the state government was receiving a sudden influx of calls from teachers asking about their retirement status. Data from the Public Employees' Retirement System shows that the number of public school employees retiring this summer was actually lower than in past years. There were 1,289 public school employees who retired in June and July, which is down from 1,525 in 2018.
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley wants more information about AT&T's use of federal dollars
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley has issued a subpoena as part of an effort to probe how AT&T has used more than $238 million in federal money intended to expand internet service within the state. Presley announced his investigative action on Thursday afternoon and said the subpoena comes after AT&T refused to voluntarily comply with informal requests from the Public Service Commission about the company's use of federal dollars from the Connect America Fund. "Their attitude has been 'trust us,'" Presley said. "Well, guess what: We don't." The telecommunications company claims the Connect America money has been used to make services available to some 133,000 locations within the state. But Presley, who represents the state's northern district on the Public Service Commission, wants documentation to provide more information about those claims, including the number of customers who have taken service in the areas where AT&T claims it has expanded service. On Thursday, Presley said he isn't yet suggesting that AT&T hasn't met its obligations related to receipt of these funds, but he finds the company's failure to answer his questions alarming.
'Hurting her own people': Mike Espy blasts Cindy Hyde-Smith over COVID-19 response
Mike Espy, in a new television ad that first aired Thursday, sharply critiqued U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Espy, the Democratic former congressman who's running against the Republican senator in the November election, attacked Hyde-Smith over comments she made in March in which she said the coronavirus pandemic would be "over in two weeks." The first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Mississippi the same week she made that comment. "Hyde-Smith has simply not done her part to stand up for Mississippi," Espy said of the senator's COVID response in a fundraising email on Thursday morning. "This is a sitting senator who is actively hurting her own people." Espy also said Hyde-Smith "voted to take money away from unemployed workers while our unemployment rate doubled, and took off for summer recess without providing any additional relief for those struggling." When asked for comment, a spokesman for the Hyde-Smith campaign fact-checked several lines of the ad and said of the unemployment critique: "Not true. (Hyde-Smith) supported unemployment benefits. It is Democrats who are blocking the latest relief bill."
Wicker, Hyde-Smith, Palazzo, & Guest Announce $16.02 Million for Mississippi Road Improvements
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Representatives Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., and Michael Guest, R-Miss., Thursday announced the award of $16.02 million in federal grant funding for road improvements in Hattiesburg and the Jackson metro area. "I'm proud to work with our delegation and USDOT to revitalize our aging infrastructure in Mississippi. This project would provide much-needed relief for the Ross Barnett Reservoir dam structure while maintaining the critical traffic corridor between Madison and Rankin Counties, which provides an easily accessible route connecting residential and business hubs in the Jackson Metro area," Guest said. The $2.8 million grant to the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District will support the initial planning for a project to replace the Bob Anthony Parkway, also known as Spillway Road, which carries more than 30,000 cars daily across the Barnett Reservoir dam through Rankin, Madison, and Hinds Counties. The proposed new roadway would relieve pressure on the dam and facilitate freight movement throughout the region.
Joe Biden says Rep. Bennie Thompson called him after attending local protest: 'Things are changing, Joe!'
In a recent interview with rapper Cardi B for Elle magazine, Joe Biden said that he is seeing a change in America in the wake of recent protests surrounding racial equality. This led him to reference a phone call he received not too long ago from Mississippi congressman, Bennie Thompson. "I have a friend who is a congressman in Mississippi, Bennie Thompson," Biden said. "A very well-known congressman. An African-American. He called me two weeks ago and said, 'Joe, I just came from a protest in Mississippi.'" Thompson told Biden that there were as many "white kids" marching as "Black kids." "This is Mississippi, Joe!" Thompson told Biden. "Things are changing, Joe!" Biden went on to say that he is optimistic about future generations and that they will be the ones to "change things." Thompson endorsed Biden for president in March of this year, calling him, "the steady leader we need to move us beyond these uncertain times."
Joe Biden and Donald Trump mark Sept. 11 -- and are marked by it
Joe Biden was on an Amtrak train on Sept. 11, 2001, when his wife called to tell him about the attacks on the World Trade Center, and when he reached Washington, he grew frustrated that he couldn't get to the Senate floor for a speech because the U.S. Capitol had been evacuated. Biden nonetheless found ways to make his point -- that institutions like Congress and NATO are bulwarks against such assaults on democracy. "I refuse to be part of letting these bastards win," Biden said that day. Hundreds of miles to the north -- and four miles from Ground Zero -- Donald Trump was sitting in a tower bearing his name, watching CNBC and preparing to call a local TV station to offer his own commentary, including a lament that the stock market was forced to close. Nineteen years later, Trump and Biden are their respective party's presidential candidates, and both will visit Shanksville, Pa., on Friday, the place where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field. It will bring the two candidates to the same place on the same day, a rare occurrence, and it comes less than three weeks before they face off in their first debate. The Sept. 11 attacks targeted the cities that molded the two men, Washington and New York, reinforcing the clashing worldviews they now offer the American electorate: Biden's embrace of U.S. institutions and global alliances, Trump's distrust of foreigners and insistence that America must go it alone.
Ivanka Trump visits NC Farmers Market to tout program that helps with food insecurity
Ivanka Trump visited the N.C. State Farmers Market in Raleigh Thursday to tout a U.S. Department of Agriculture program meant to provide hungry families with food boxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump, President Donald Trump's daughter and one of his advisers, was joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, wearing a mask with the U.S. flag, and Rep. David Rouzer, a Wilmington Republican, in a Farmers to Families Food Box distribution event. Before delivering a set of prepared remarks, the group walked the length of the Farmers Building. Several vendors stopped to have their pictures taken with Trump, who was wearing a floral mask. The group stopped for a few minutes at Lee's Produce stand, where Steve Troxler, the N.C. agriculture commissioner, rued that Perdue wouldn't be able to taste a Cherokee purple heirloom tomato. With the 2020 presidential election less than two months away, the Trump campaign, and members of the Trump family, are showing a renewed focus on North Carolina, which is expected to be a swing state.
Hangover From Alcohol Boom Could Last Long After Pandemic Ends
When the coronavirus swept the country, a lot of things government did in response were controversial. Politicians fought over mask-wearing rules and quarantine restrictions. But one policy, making sure Americans have ready access to alcohol, was truly bipartisan. "The state liquor authority is going to change its rules that will allow bars, restaurants and distilleries to sell their products off-premises," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in mid-March. Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis followed suit in mid-May. "I allowed [bars and restaurants] to deliver alcohol, I think that's been pretty popular, we're probably going to keep that going," he told reporters. It worked. While many bars and clubs faced new restrictions for dine-in customers, a lot of Americans still found ways to have a drink or two with friends. Quarantine cocktail parties became a new thing online. The pandemic also drove a surge in online sales using phone apps that connect consumers with local liquor stores for home delivery. It's been an economic lifeline for many businesses, but health care experts caution there could be serious consequences for millions of Americans that linger long after COVID-19 has passed.
CDC report: dining out increases risk of contracting coronavirus more than other activities
Dining out is one of the riskiest possible activities during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, citing the fact that masks are not used while people are eating and drinking. CDC officials interviewed about 314 people who experienced symptoms of the virus and got tests, about half of whom were positive. Both the positive and the negative subjects said they had engaged in activities such as attending church and in-person shopping. However, people who tested positive were about twice as likely than those who tested negative to say they had dined at a restaurant. People who tested positive but could not identify a specific occasion when they were exposed to the virus were also more likely to have recently visited a bar or coffee shop. "If people are going to eat out, they need to be thoughtful about how they're going to do it," study co-author Todd Rice told NBC News.
Oxford ranks near top of list nationally for COVID-19 cases based on population
Oxford ranks number three in the nation for COVID 19 cases according to published reports. It's home to the University of Mississippi, with an enrollment of more than 19,000 students. Joshua Mannery is Associated Student Body President. He says the university has a COVID-19 education campaign in place and strict guidelines on campus. He believes many of the students who gather off campus are freshmen, but says they're not alone. "You can't expect them to just immediately fall in line and buy into this campaign. They're freshmen and for a lot of them it's their first time being on campus, being at the university and we can't just expect them to comply. And then you have a lot of older students too who I think the mindset is 'we're going to have fun,' said Mannery. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says Mississippi's universities are doing a good job of putting preventive measures in place, but keeping students from gathering is proving tough. "It's the off-campus stuff, it's the parties, you know, it's really just going to be one of our biggest challenges. It's a real concern it's going to seed into the community," said Dobbs.
U. of Mississippi maintains plans for in-person class of 2020 graduation
When the COVID-19 pandemic swiftly cancelled most scheduled events in the spring, the University of Mississippi class of 2020 left Oxford with a virtual ceremony replacing its in-person graduation. According to a university spokesman, though, the university still plans to hold an in-person commencement ceremony. "We remain committed to holding an in-person ceremony for the Class of 2020," university spokesman Rod Guajardo said in a statement. "Currently, these restrictions prevent us from celebrating the number of people who graduated in 2020. Once we know when it will be safe to host large events in compliance with executive and local orders, we will announce the new date for an in-person commencement." Guajardo said any in-person events on campus, including commencement, must comply with current executive and local orders and guidelines -- including the Safe Return order of Gov. Tate Reeves's reopening plan, the City of Oxford's Serving Oxford Safely plan and public health recommendations.
UM Suspends Two Bus Routes Due to Low Ridership
Fewer students on campus and low passenger numbers have caused there to be fewer Oxford-University Transit bus routes, buses, and ultimately, fewer bus drivers on the road. On Wednesday, OUT Manager Donna Zampella told the OUT Board of Directors the University of Mississippi has decided to suspend the Gold and Silver routes due to low ridership. The Gold route services the South Lot Park-N-Ride parking lot. Park-N-Ride permit holders who utilize the South Lot will need to park at alternate locations like the Jackson Avenue Center Park-N-Ride areas or the South Campus Recreation Center Park-N-Ride areas. The Silver route goes between the South Campus Recreation Center and Kennon Observatory. Riders between these locations should use the Old Taylor Road Express route or the Green route buses. The two routes will end on Sept. 14 and begin again at the start of the spring semester. Gameday shuttles are still being discussed and waiting on word from the University.
USM launches Everbridge app for COVID symptom checks, contact tracing
While researching more tools in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, officials from the University of Southern Mississippi recognized that 18-24 year-olds are very mobile-driven – whether that be through phone apps or mobile websites. With that in mind, it was discovered that many of those individuals are going to Bluetooth and other Wi-Fi means for information distribution, which led to the development of Everbridge, a free mobile app that allows students, staff and faculty to take a symptom quiz for the virus and helps keep track of contact tracing. "We were able to get information about that, and realized that it was a possible tool that we could put into our tool chest," said Denny Bubrig, assistant vice president for student affairs at the university. "The app is a general all-purpose application. If you feel like you are potentially on the fringe, or if you feel like there's an issue with your health that you're just not sure about, then that is a resource that you can use to give some sort of gauge to see if maybe you need to go ahead and get tested."
USM fraternity lets kids paint lion statues after learning of social media post
An emotional social media post inspired the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Southern Mississippi to give a few kids an opportunity to learn while having fun. In that social media post, a mother said when her little boy is having a bad day, it's always made better by seeing the pair of lion statues on the front lawn of the SAE fraternity house, which sits across the street from The Children's Center for Communication and Development on the University of Southern Mississippi campus. This prompted the fraternity to invite him, along with several others from The Children's Center, to help paint the iconic pair of lions Thursday. The director of The Children's Center, Sarah Myers, says this was a perfect opportunity for the children. "They learn well through tactile experiences," Myers said. "So they like to use their hands and get in and learn through doing, and so they may not realize it, but it's actually a therapy activity for them to paint and talk about all the parts of a lion and take turns with their friends and meet new people, and all of that is therapy."
Special Voting Polls at JSU on Standby, More Workers Trained for Election
In Hinds County, voters may have to use Jackson State University locations as emergency polling places for the Nov. 3 general election, the Hinds County Election Commission Chairwoman Toni Johnson said at a press conference Wednesday. Jackson State is partnering with the commission by offering the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center on campus and the nearby Mississippi E-center as emergency polling centers. The commission will train 50 JSU students to stand by to serve as poll workers if needed. "The AAC is approximately 111,000 square feet," Johnson said. "The students of Jackson State University will be voting in the AAC this November due to COVID-19." JSU Acting President Thomas K. Hudson told the press that he hopes the partnership will encourage more students to vote. "We are very proud to partner with Ms. Johnson and the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, in offering this opportunity for the university to really help in this voting process," he said. "We felt this will encourage more people to come out, more of our students to come out (because there will be) social distancing,"
New partnership between Jones College and West Alabama to benefit transfer students
A new partnership between Jones College and the University of West Alabama will benefit eligible students who are looking to transfer to a four-year university. Letters of agreement were signed by both presidents, Jesse Smith from Jones College and Ken Tucker from UWA, during a brief ceremony held on campus at Jones in Ellisville Thursday. It offers students who are looking to transfer to a university incentives, including scholarships and a personal academic advisor, to help them transition seamlessly to UWA. Tucker says this is a good fit for both UWA and the students who are coming from Jones College. "When you're moving from home to college and one college to another, there's a certain amount of stress related to that, and in the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, that's just another layer of stress," Tucker said. "So our goal is to encourage students to pursue as much education as they can. So we're trying to make it easier and more financially sustainable for them to do that."
U. of Alabama issues hundreds of COVID-19 sanctions against students
At least 639 University of Alabama students have been sanctioned in recent weeks for breaking COVID-19 restrictions in Tuscaloosa. A UA spokesperson said Thursday that a suspension of one student organization is pending, while 33 individual students have been "effectively" suspended from campus while their "conduct cases proceed through due process." The university did not respond to a question on how many of the sanctions related to on-campus or off-campus infractions. UA did not identify the student organizations under investigation. "Student suspensions could range in length depending on the severity of the conduct," spokesperson Deidre Stalnaker said in an emailed statement. "... If a student is suspended, they will not be allowed on the UA campus during their suspension, including any on-campus residence."
Gov. Kay Ivey earmarks $72.3 million in coronavirus aid for Alabama higher education
Gov. Kay Ivey Thursday announced $72.34 million of coronavirus relief money will go toward Alabama's higher education institutions. More than $27 million will be pumped into the state's community college system, with $25 million to its four-year institutions, and the state's independent colleges getting $20 million. The money will in part go towards beefing up technology and infrastructure to help with remote instruction and distance learning. Ivey said the state has awarded more than $432 million since July to help continue education during the pandemic. Requests are still coming in for aid, she said. The state received $1.8 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. "My office has received numerous CARES Act funding requests, and we are eager to help as many folks as possible," Ivey said. "We are still reviewing them to ensure they meet eligibility under the letter of the law and will be forthcoming when finalized."
U. of Tennessee announces COVID-19 restrictions on dining, dorms and events
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville in putting in place new restrictions for students, including no longer allowing visitors in dorms, making all dining carryout only and canceling all indoor on-campus events. In-person classes and research will continue. The restrictions will be in place until at least Sept. 27. As the number of active COVID-19 cases and people in isolation has continued to rise at UT, Chancellor Donde Plowman warned students new restrictions could be coming. There are 662 active cases and 2,023 people in isolation as of Thursday. "I appreciate the majority of Volunteers who are masking up and spreading out to keep themselves and their friends safe," Plowman said in an email to students. "Unfortunately, the number of active cases continues to go up, more than doubling in the past week alone, and we must flatten the curve." Additionally, the Tennessee Recreation Center for Students (TRECS) will be closed for two weeks.
Federal 'surge' team coming to Columbia for COVID testing as White House expert visits U. of South Carolina
South Carolina's capital will get help testing people for COVID-19 from a federal "surge" team, a top White House official overseeing the nation's response to the pandemic said Thursday, even as she praised the University of South Carolina's handling of cases. "We want to ensure that cases are found because people will be enormously responsible if they know that they're positive and they will do the actions that they need to protect others," said Dr. Deborah Birx, the lead coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force. Visiting USC's campus Thursday, Birx praised the school's leadership, saying the state's largest college "tackled a very difficult issue head on with a very dynamic plan." School administrators continue to plead with students to be responsible by avoiding mass gatherings at off-campus parties and inside bars. So many students needed to go into quarantine that USC rented all rooms at a hotel near campus for a month. More than half of the 20 houses in the Greek Village are under quarantine.
System Chancellor John Sharp touts Texas A&M's pandemic response
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp spoke Thursday morning at the all-virtual Texas Tribune Festival 2020 with the chancellors of the University of Houston and University of Texas systems to provide an update on how public high education institutions in the state are operating amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "At Texas A&M Bryan-College Station, we have had not one single member of the faculty test positive this fall," Sharp said, before going on to outline numerous safety precautions on the flagship campus. Texas A&M University reported 1,032 positive coronavirus tests between the start of August and Sept. 5, and an additional combined 55 tests on Sept. 6 and 7, according to its online dashboard. "There's nothing that's happened so far that we didn't expect. We expected an uptick," he said. "Our goal is to make sure that they are safer here than they would be at home in Dallas, Houston or any place else." "We obviously can't control what happens off campus," Sharp said, noting that since the start of the fall semester, off-campus gatherings have been a larger concern than in-class behavior among students. He said about 40% of classes are being held in person.
U. of Missouri spokesman: Threat of lawsuit pushed Mun Choi to relent on Twitter blocks
Under the threat of a lawsuit, University of Missouri President Mun Choi late Wednesday reversed course after blocking numerous Twitter accounts from students and others that criticized him or, in some cases, only mentioned him. Students on Wednesday began posting screenshots that Choi had blocked them from viewing his Twitter account, @munychoi4545. Some of the blocked accounts used obscenities or insults in their posts mentioning Choi, while others, including Tribune freelance reporter Madeline Carter, made more innocuous comments. "He decided to reverse his actions because the university does not need the distraction caused by this matter," university spokesman Christian Basi said Thursday. An attorney and MU graduate working in Texas, Christopher Bennett, saw the tweets from students who were blocked and reached out. Several agreed to let him represent them at no cost and he sent a letter demanding that Choi unblock the accounts.
U. of Missouri says there's still plenty of quarantine housing for students
The University of Missouri was using less than half of quarantine housing on campus and about three-fourths of contracted off-campus hotel rooms as of Tuesday, MU spokesperson Christian Basi said. Quarantine housing is only for students who live on campus and test positive for COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who has the virus. As of Tuesday, 93 students were in isolation -- meaning they tested positive -- and 16 were in quarantine, meaning they had close contact. Sections of residence halls and hotel rooms in town are being used. Basi said the number of rooms being used changes based on need. "It changes weekly and sometimes daily," he said. Basi said off-campus students are viewed as regular members of the community and should quarantine in their homes. Some students go to their hometowns to recover, he said. Student quarantine housing is an issue all over the country.
Higher education workers gave five times as much to Joe Biden as to Donald Trump
Though the nation finds itself deeply divided, it's clear whom employees at the nation's higher education institutions are supporting financially in the presidential race. According to federal elections records, those who listed their employer as a college or university have given Democratic candidate Joe Biden about $4.9 million in contributions, more than five times as much as the $890,000, including donations from for-profit college executives, that they have given President Trump. The contributions to Biden have come widely, from about 8,800 donors, compared to the 2,800 higher education employees who want to see another four years of a Trump administration. Even more pronounced are whom those college or university employees, who listed their occupation either as professor, instructor or teacher, are giving to. The educators have given about $2.7 million to Biden, according to Federal Election Commission records in the election cycle beginning in January 2019 -- or seven times as much as the $353,00 they have to Trump.
Facebook Starts an Ad-Free Section for College Students
Facebook Inc. introduced a new section of its platform to cater just to college students. Called Facebook Campus, the new section will not have ads, said a spokeswoman. "We're focused on building a great product experience, and at this time have no plans to introduce advertising," she added. But Facebook will be able to track users' activity to inform the ads that it shows the students elsewhere, a second Facebook spokeswoman confirmed. Campus joins Facebook Dating and Groups as another ad-free section of the platform. Facebook described Campus as a way for college students to meet each other and connect over shared interests, classes and campus life. That harks back to the company's 2004 roots as a way for Ivy League students to socialize. Dozens of colleges are participating in Campus at launch, including Duke University, University of Pennsylvania and Vassar College. Facebook described the current crop of schools as pilots for the program, which it will seek to expand upon in 2021.
Students in great need of mental health support during pandemic
While the country continues to battle the coronavirus, college health professionals are also monitoring a growing crisis among young adults struggling with mental health problems, including suicidal ideation, anxiety and depression related to the pandemic. Several recent surveys of students suggest their mental well-being has been devastated by the pandemic's social and economic consequences, as well as the continued uncertainty about their college education and postcollege careers. Still reeling from the emergency closures of campuses across the country during the spring semester and the sudden shifts to online instruction, students are now worried about the fall semester and whether campuses that reopened for in-person instruction can remain open as COVID-19 infections spread among students and panicked college administrators quickly shift gears and send students who'd recently arrived back home.
Why an Obama Loyalist Is Speaking at Liberty University About Moral Leadership
Friday morning at Liberty University, the Christian school that Jerry Falwell Jr. ran until scandals forced him out, the more than 100,000 students enrolled at the conservative bastion in Lynchburg, Virginia, will listen to a convocation address about the importance in leadership of "character, integrity and morality" -- delivered by a trusted lieutenant of Barack Obama. Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for the last three years of the preceding administration, is the featured speaker, setting up an unlikely show of comity in the homestretch of one of the most consequential and bitterly partisan elections in American history. His speech, a draft of which Johnson shared exclusively with me, comes on the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that briefly roused a semblance of national unity before exacerbating longtime fault lines. And it's happening, notably, at a place that's been rocked of late by a series of tawdry revelations that added up to impel the resignation of Liberty's Donald Trump-devoted now former president.
US revokes visas for 1,000 Chinese students deemed security risk
The US says it has revoked the visas of more than 1,000 Chinese students and researchers who are deemed to be a security risk. The move follows a proclamation by President Donald Trump in May aimed at Chinese nationals suspected of having ties to the military. He said some had stolen data and intellectual property. China has accused the US of racial discrimination. Nearly 370,000 students from China enrolled at US universities in 2018-19. A state department spokeswoman described those whose visas were revoked as "high-risk graduate students and research scholars". She said they were a "small subset" of the total number of Chinese students. "We continue to welcome legitimate students and scholars from China who do not further the Chinese Communist Party's goals of military dominance," the spokeswoman said. Some Chinese students in the US say they are facing increased hostility and suspicion on university campuses, and their reasons for studying being questioned.
What Will the Workforce Look Like for Gen Z?
The future of work is rapidly evolving. The adoption of new technologies, along with COVID-19's impact on the global economy and workforce, has created greater demand for jobs that require select technical, industrial and business skills. A recent World Economic Forum report found that more than 42 percent of all jobs will change significantly by 2022, placing greater emphasis on skills such as analytics, design thinking and complex problem-solving. Data and AI, engineering, cloud computing and product development were among the top industries that will see continued growth in the next few years. But today's students may not be ready for these up-and-coming careers, according to a recent survey conducted by IBM and Morning Consult. The survey asked 300 U.S. secondary school students age 14 to 18 about their interest in and knowledge of emerging technology skills and fields. Despite over half of the students reporting interest, at least 80 percent have received little to no training in key areas such as cybersecurity, cloud technology or artificial intelligence.
A teacher's role expands beyond the classroom
Angela Farmer, an assistant clinical professor in the Shackouls Honors College at Mississippi State University, writes: COVID-19 has tested the entire world. It has challenged citizens' concepts of health and safety as well as reframed communications and interactions. Nowhere is this more apparent than within the context of the typical American classroom. While teachers have always been tasked with teaching content and evaluating students' understandings, the reality is that their impacts occupy a much larger space within the students' lives. With the adjustment to online learning, modified class sizes, and the omnipresent masks, student-teacher relationships are being challenged to maintain the same connections they formerly enjoyed. For example, first grade teacher Eileen Wood recently shared the following in a Washington Post article: "We are the one constant for some of these kids. They come to school and they know what to expect. It's the stability, the repetition. They have art, they have gym, they have lunch, and they have teachers they know. And now, it's all taken away."

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott on why he opened up on depression, brother's suicide: 'Being a leader is about being genuine'
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott knew he'd never felt this way before. But he wasn't quite sure how he was feeling. Anxiety, he started to suspect, had engulfed him. Then came depression, Prescott struggling to sleep and grasping for substitutes to the remnants of pre-quarantine life that brought him fulfillment. Days later, on April 24, Prescott awoke to his father and best friends in his bedroom. Their message: Dak's 31-year-old brother Jace had shot himself and was dead. "Some of the worst news I'll ever get," Prescott told journalist Graham Bensinger in a video interview that will air on TV this weekend and was posted to YouTube in clips this week. Prescott said Thursday it was important to him to speak publicly about the mental illness he battled. He wanted to show people that even he, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, has needed and sought help. "Mental health leads to the health of everything else," Prescott said from the Star after the Cowboys wrapped practice and completed installation of their Week 1 game plan. "Before I can lead, I have to make sure my mind is in the right place to do that and lead people to where they want to be. I think that it's important to be vulnerable, to be genuine and to be transparent. I think that goes a long way when you are a leader and your voice is being heard by so many and you can inspire."
No alcohol will be sold at Tiger Stadium for at least the season opener against Mississippi State
There will be no alcohol sold at Tiger Stadium for at least LSU's first football game of the 2020 season, an athletic official confirmed Thursday afternoon. The athletic department informed season-ticket holders about the decision on Thursday. The news comes a day after LSU announced it will reduced stadium capacity to 25% and ban tailgating on campus. The decision to not sell alcohol is among several limitations LSU has self-implemented in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Season-ticket holders were told the decision is subject to change. Single-game tickets won't be available for purchase when LSU opens the season by hosting Mississippi State at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 26. The estimated 25,000 people will mostly be made up of season-ticket holders and students.
'It's time to put action to our words': Auburn launches 'Together We Will' initiative
In an effort championed by head football coach Gus Malzahn and head men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, Auburn athletics launched a new initiative dubbed 'Together We Will' on Thursday, aiming to raise money for new scholarships and resources created to support diversity on campus. Auburn sports legends Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley and Tim Hudson threw their support behind the effort, as did fellow famous Auburn alums in Apple CEO Tim Cook and Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer. Auburn launched the sale of new T-shirts featuring two hands together, noting that a portion of proceeds from the shirt will go to the program's new 'Together We Will' Scholarship. Supporters can also contribute directly to the scholarship fund through donations. Auburn athletics teams are set to use the new symbol promoting unity on their uniforms, equipment and warm-up gear soon, as a way to raise awareness for what the program says is a call for people from all walks of life to come together and unite as one.
'As of now, no dog on the field': UGA football mascot won't be at games amid COVID-19
Georgia football games this season will be missing a well-known attraction. Uga, the iconic live Bulldog mascot, won't be present because of COVID-19 protocols. "It's my understanding the SEC and NCAA consider the field a 'bubble,' and the only people allowed in the bubble are essential," said Charles Seiler, the white English bulldog's handler and owner. "As of now, no dog on the field." Uga X, whose name is Que, assumed the mascot role on Nov. 21, 2015, after three months of an audition of sorts. There is no plan to have the dog in Athens elsewhere in the stadium as of now. "The whole idea is to have people not to congregate," Seiler said, "and if you know anything about the dog he's kind of a magnet and he draws people, and they're trying to avoid that." Seiler, whose family has owned and cared for the line of bulldogs since 1956, has sent photos and videos to the school of Uga X from his home in Savannah to use. He was live during part of the virtual G-Day game in April and did two nights in a row at an alumni association event.
Return of football brings big bucks to Coast sportsbooks
Sports books are set to shine in the months ahead as the NFL and SEC kick off football seasons. Surprisingly, sportsbook numbers weren't down in August. Usually, baseball is the only sport to bet on in the late summer months, but COVID-19 has changed everything. It has even kept the sports books a little bit busier than usual. "Bringing back football is almost the icing on the cake," said Scott King, Golden Nugget Vice President of Marketing. "Having a strong start to August with people still having the ability to bet on baseball and the novelty of having basketball in August gave us a good warm up. Now that we are here in September, people are really excited about betting on football -- both NFL and college -- so tonight is a big night." Thursday's NFL kickoff between the Texans and Chiefs may just be an appetizer for sports bettors in South Mississippi. "I think that the crowds will continue to ramp up with tonight only having one big game on the docket," said King. "I think that by the time you get to Saturday, you'll see our hours expand to where, by the time SEC kicks off in late September, we will be ready to handle all that action."
NFL Season Begins With Protests at Texans-Chiefs Game
Before the Kansas City Chiefs began their Super Bowl defense Thursday night against the Houston Texans in the first game of the 2020 NFL season, there was a question for both teams: How would they protest against racism in America? The answer was complicated. The Texans left the field entirely before both the national anthem and the playing of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song sometimes referred to as the Black national anthem. Their demonstration echoed a tense weekend in 2017, when several teams stayed in the locker room after President Trump used a speech to criticize players who kneel during the anthem. The Chiefs stayed on the field, where one player took a knee and raised a fist during the anthem. When the Texans returned to the field, both teams lined up and linked arms before the coin toss. That demonstration kicked off a new era in the NFL, which is now embracing the right of player protest after a contentious period of years in which the league discouraged it, once tried to ban it and more broadly tried to root politics off the playing field. The actions kicked off an NFL season that again has the potential for political tumult.

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