Despite calls from the White House last week to reopen schools in the Fall, California's two largest school districts made a joint statement on Monday afternoon that the school year will resume on schedule in an online-only capacity. The San Diego and Los Angeles Unified school districts represent some 825,000 students. This announcement was made after Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a statement last week suggesting that federal funding to states who do not follow the administration's wishes would be cut. District leaders however, reiterated, "One fact is clear: those countries that have managed to safely reopen schools have done so with declining infection rates and on-demand testing available. California has neither. The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control."
Both Los Angeles County and San Diego have seen a resurgence of covid-19 cases in recent weeks. As of July 13th, Los Angeles County reported there were 2,056 people hospitalized, 28 percent of these people are confirmed cases in the ICU and 20 percent are confirmed cases on mechanical ventilators. Both the Los Angeles and San Diego districts state they will continue planning for a return to in-person learning during the 2020-21 academic year, as soon as public health conditions allow.
While medical advocacy groups are continuing to petition Congress to clarify what was assumed to be an oversight in drafting the Provider Relief Fund legislation, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has updated its Frequently Asked Questions page with a new clarification. The document now states that payments from the Fund count towards gross income under section 61 of the Internal Revenue Service's Code. It goes on to state that while a federally tax-exempt entity that receives a disbursement under the program is still exempt, certain uses for the money may be viewed as taxable. Since the tax rate for such funding can be as high as 21 percent, the need for further clarification from Congress remains. Various.