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Governor Walz has issued several Executive Orders to deal with COVID-19.
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Action Alert
Week 7 - March 25, 2020
SPECIAL EDITION
Distance Learning Until May 4
Governor Walz issued his 19th Executive Order (EO 20-19) Wednesday afternoon, implementing distance learning from March 30 until May 4.

The order states staff are to report to their respective school buildings on Friday, May 1 to plan and prepare for students' return to school buildings, however, the order does allow the Commissioner to "extend the Distance Learning Period for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year calendar if it is deemed necessary for the health and safety of students and staff."
Click to See Entire Executive Order on Distance Learning
 
The Governor also issued two orders to keep Minnesotans at home and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. "Modeling released today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and University of Minnesota predicts that more than 70,000 Minnesotans could die from COVID-19 if we take no action. The Governor's two-week order to stay home is forecasted to significantly slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow the state time to better prepare for the pandemic. These preparations include building hospital capacity, increasing access to life-saving equipment like ventilators, increasing testing, planning for how to care for vulnerable populations, and assessing public health data to determine which community mitigation strategies are most effective."  
 
 
Federal Stimulus Bill  
Late last night, the U.S. Senate passed a $2 Trillion Coronavirus Economic Stimulus Bill, 96-0. The bill will now go to the House for a vote, which is expected Friday morning.   
 
The education components include:
 
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
$13.5 billion through formula-grants to States, at least 90 percent of funds of those funds must support local educational agencies to use for coronavirus-response activities, such as planning for and coordinating during long-term school closures; purchasing educational technology to support online learning for all students served by the local educational agency; and additional activities authorized by federal elementary and secondary education laws. It will be distributed to states using the ESSA Title II-A formula.

Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF)
Governors in each state will receive a share of $3 billion to allocate at their discretion for emergency support grants to local educational agencies that the State educational agency has identified have been most significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Child Nutrition Programs
For an additional amount for ''Child Nutrition Programs'', $8,800,000,000 to remain available until September 30, 2021, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally: Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985." 
 
Other general key components of the bill include: 
 
Direct payments to taxpayers from government. 
$1,200 in direct payments to taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 per year before starting to phase out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000. Families would receive an additional $500 per child.
 
Unemployment benefits. 
Unemployment benefits will expand by extending unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and will include a four-month "enhancement" of benefits. The program will include freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers, such as Uber drivers.  
 
Provisional small business emergency loans. 
The bill provides federally guaranteed loans, available at community banks, to small businesses that pledge not to lay off their workers. The loans would be available during an emergency period ending June 30 and would be forgiven if the employer continued to pay workers for the duration of the crisis.
 
Loans for distressed companies. 
$425 billion would be available for loans for distressed companies and an additional $75 billion would be available for industry-specific loans - including to airlines and hotels. These funds would be controlled by the Federal Reserve.  
 
Hospital aid.  
$100 billion for hospitals and health systems across the nation. These funds would help supply personal and protective equipment, testing supplies, and new construction to house patients. Increased Medicare payments to all hospitals and providers would also be included.  

Upcoming Meetings and Events **TODAY**
The past two weeks the Legislature has navigated unchartered waters. Today, it will continue with floor sessions that will no doubt be historic. The House and Senate will act on additional legislation to help the state combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both bodies will follow guidelines from the Department of Health to keep members, staff and the public safe.

Thursday, March 26 - Noon - House Floor Session
Thursday, March 26 - 2 PM - Senate Floor Session
 
Please watch Twitter for updates.    

Minnesota School Boards Association | 507-934-8133 | msba@mnmsba.org
145 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55103