In latest round of COVID-19 business, council outlines CARES Act money and gets briefings on JMU and EMU
The Harrisonburg City Council on Tuesday took up several tactics to mitigate the effects of the pandemic: a plan for how to distribute more than $3 million more in federal CARES Act funding, an emergency ordinance to allow the Open Doors shelter to open October 1, as well as protocols to slow the virus’ transmission among college students.
Even before many of its students even reached campus, Eastern Mennonite University sought to quash an outbreak this week when four students tested positive, although without showing symptoms. But the students’ interactions with others, who also now must be quarantined, set into motion a ripple effect, prompting EMU to delay its move-in date from this weekend until Sept. 3-6 and forcing classes online to start the semester.
When Alexa Lorenzana found out the way EMU would be holding classes partially online and partially in person this fall, the rising EMU junior decided to take a semester off and work instead.
Weeks before students return to Harrisonburg schools and universities for the first time since March, educators have begun implementing safety measures for classes to resume, which includes measures to help students with disabilities navigate the educational landscape amid the pandemic.
As a lesser-publicized consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities stopped paying for certain on-campus work-study jobs when classes shifted online in March. For many of these students, the checks that were supposed to come until May abruptly ended two months early, creating a cash crunch for those students — and uncertainty about regaining those work-study positions in the fall.
As federal funds arrive, some Harrisonburg residents, businesses and agencies are getting a little relief
Millions of dollars from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act, will trickle into Harrisonburg over the coming months in various forms — through money to the city government, as stimulus checks and unemployment payments to residents and as loans and grants to businesses and organizations.
With countries banning mass gatherings and governments and health organizations are urging people to practice social distance to stop the spread of COVID-19, people are having to get creative to make contact with each other and unite amid being quarantined.