State Government
State Launches COVID-19 Testing Program For Schools PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:46
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is launching an expanded COVID-19 screening testing program to support public, charter and private K-12 schools in protecting students and staff from the spread of COVID-19. The program will launch in fall 2021 and schools can register to participate beginning in early July. 
 
"COVID-19 screening testing can help protect our school communities and help keep students in the classroom," said Ann Nichols, State School Nurse Consultant at NCDHHS. "We encourage everyone, including students, to get vaccinated if they are eligible, but students under 12 don’t have that option yet. This testing program will help keep our schools safe and our students learning."
 
Supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program will provide participating schools with access to COVID-19 rapid tests and other testing options. Public school districts and charters will also have the option to receive financial support to hire additional school health team staff to facilitate the screening testing program and response.
 
A statewide vendor to provide COVID-19 testing services that follows CDC guidance will be available to all schools, public and private. 
 
Schools choosing to hire additional school health team staff through this program will be able to increase their ability to provide health services to students. This may include enhanced capacity for important services that regularly occur in our schools — and have largely been interrupted during the pandemic — such as management of health conditions, hearing and vision screenings, vaccination support and connecting students to services that work to eliminate health inequities. 
 
"We hope public schools will opt-in to the increased staff support," said Ellen Essick, Section Chief, NC Healthy Schools at the NC Department of Public Instruction. "Today, not all public schools have a school nurse onsite. This means students are missing critical health supports, not only for COVID-19, but also for overall well-being concerns. We are thrilled that this expanded program gives our public school students and staff resources to ensure they can keep students healthy and learning in the classroom." 
 
This summer, NCDHHS will pilot the expanded COVID-19 screening testing program in several summer school programs and work with a team of community stakeholders in preparation for the 2021-22 school year. 
 
Registration for schools to participate in the program will open in early July. Information will be sent to superintendents this summer.  
 
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:48
 
Realtors Call For End Of Eviction Moratorium PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:40

The NC Association of REALTORS® issued the following statement accompanying a letter to Governor Cooper today regarding the ongoing eviction moratorium expiration on June 30, 2021:

"As the country and North Carolina continue to make significant strides recovering from the pandemic, the NC Association of REALTORS® is asking Governor Cooper to end the moratorium on evictions in North Carolina. The Governor continues to adapt numerous pandemic related emergency actions to reflect the current progress of North Carolina's diminishing pandemic emergency, including lessening mask mandates as well as business, event and school reopenings. It is also time to adapt the ongoing moratorium on evictions and refocus efforts on distributing the hundreds of millions of federal dollars that have been designated to states for rental assistance.

North Carolina has seen an improving economy, with thousands of job openings and vaccines broadly available statewide. Businesses by and large are operating normally again, contributing to their and the state’s recovery. The same cannot be said for small business housing providers, who continue to operate under severe restrictions. But the improvements in conditions that have allowed the rest of the economy to open up should allow housing to do the same. Asking small business housing providers to indefinitely suspend their ability to collect rent puts a disproportionate burden on their ability to participate in the economic recovery and has created a severe financial burden which threatens their businesses and livelihoods. The Governor has recently touted the revamped NC HOPE 2.0 rental relief fund to assist those with true continuing COVID-related rental needs. With this safety net in place, it is unfair to extend this economic burden on small business property owners. Failing to transition to economic recovery will not only burden these individual businesses, but also could have the unintended outcome of preventing full recovery in the housing sector, a key North Carolina industry. Now, more than ever, we need financially healthy housing providers to serve North Carolina’s growing housing needs."

 
Cooper Launches $4 Million Cash And College Tuition Drawings To Encourage COVID-19 Vaccinations PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:04

Governor Roy Cooper announced $4 Million Summer Cash and College Tuition drawings to motivate those who have not yet been vaccinated — and thank those who have. Four vaccinated North Carolinians 18 and older will win $1 million each and four North Carolinians ages 12 to 17 will win tuition for post-secondary education. Executive Order 219, which has concurrence from the North Carolina Council of State, authorizes the drawings.

North Carolinians 18 and over who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered into four drawings for a chance to win a $1 million cash prize. Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be automatically entered into four drawings to win $125,000 towards post-secondary education. The $125,000 can be used at any post-secondary institution and is awarded in the form of a NC 529 account.

“This is your shot at a million. Regardless of who wins, there’s no way to lose,” said Governor Cooper. “A chance at a million dollars is pretty good motivation. But even if your name isn’t drawn, the worst you’ll do is get strong protection from a deadly virus.”

The $4 Million Summer Cash and Summer Cash 4 College Drawings will run from June 23 through Aug. 4. All North Carolina residents 12 and older who have been vaccinated with at least one dose are eligible, some restrictions may apply. Those vaccinated on or after today’s announcement, Jun10, will be entered twice for each drawing increasing the chance of winning for the newly vaccinated. Drawings will take place every other week on Wednesdays with the first drawing on June 23. New entries will close at midnight on the Sunday prior to the Wednesday drawing. Winners will be verified and then announced.

“Everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccination is a winner,” said Dr. Mandy K. Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “They protect themselves, their loved ones and others from severe illness, hospitalization and death. Millions of people have already taken the vaccines. These summer cash drawings add another reward to the many that come with getting a COVID-19 vaccination.”

The drawings are part of the state’s  get-out-the-vaccine campaign to increase awareness of the availability and safety of COVID-19 vaccines and encourage North Carolinians to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they can. The vaccines have been thoroughly tested and found to be safe and effective for anyone 12 and older.

North Carolina joins other states that announced million-dollar drawings to promote vaccinations. Ohio, the first state to launch such a program, reported a 28 percent increase in vaccinations among those 16 and older in the first two weeks following the announcement. 

The $4 Million Summer Cash and Summer Cash 4 College drawings will use federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to fund the program. The drawings will be supported by the North Carolina State Lottery Director. The scholarship funds will be managed by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 June 2021 10:06
 
House And Senate Agree To Budget Amount Of $25.7 Billion PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 08 June 2021 12:34

North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) announced an agreement on next year’s budget total.

General Fund spending for the fiscal year 2021-22 will not exceed $25.7 billion, a 3.45% increase in spending. The fiscal year 2022-23 expenditures will increase by 3.65%, to not exceed $26.7 billion.

In a joint statement, Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore said, "This agreement builds on the last decade of responsible Republican-led budgets resulting in a boom decade that put North Carolina on a strong trajectory to recover from the recession. As we work out the details of the budget, we intend to fulfill our commitment to balance the budget while saving for future needs and cutting taxes for the vast majority of residents. 

"The agreement dedicates at least $4.2 billion in new capital spending funded through the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund to support critical needs across the state, including several transformational projects."

Along with the topline budget figure, budget writers have agreed to terms that replenish the state's "Rainy Day Fund," significantly reduce taxes, and fund the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund. House and Senate budget writers have also agreed that their budgets will not include a bond or Medicaid expansion.

The latest projections from the nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division estimate revenues will total $27.4 billion next year.

The $25.7 billion figure does not include payments for the state’s debt service, which will come from the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 June 2021 12:35
 
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