Today’s Coronavirus Tracker

Current updates on association response to the global COVID-19 crisis, along with a roundup of conference, travel, and business news and information.

Supporting Distance Learning

The National PTA is teaming with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to help support the millions of students who are being left behind by the sudden shift to distance learning.

The two groups this week announced Every Student Connected, an initiative that aims to offer awareness of the students affected by connectivity gaps—an issue that the Federal Communications Commission says affects 12 million students who don’t have home internet access. (Additionally, 35 percent of low-income households don’t have regular internet access or a dependable device at home.)

National PTA President Leslie Boggs says they’re not alone, as teachers face such challenges, too.

“Far too many students are being left behind from distance learning as they lack internet access at home and a dependable device. Many teachers also lack the connectivity they need to deliver remote instruction and support student learning,” Boggs said in a news release. “National PTA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation share a sense of urgency around closing the connectivity gap as part of our nation’s response to COVID-19.”

(Adene Sanchez/E+/Getty Images Plus)

The campaign will work with state and local affiliates to better understand connectivity challenges their respective communities face, and advocate to leaders at the state and national levels on solutions to the issue.

“While there are high quality and trusted online learning tools available, they are powerless if we do not solve this foundational issue,” saidCheryl Oldham, the senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce, in a statement.

Associations Now recently highlighted the challenges of connectivity, which exist for adults as well.

Recent Headlines

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What Your Youngest Employees Need Most Right Now (Harvard Business Review, 06/03/20) “And while the immediate concerns of skyrocketing unemployment and a stalled economy must be addressed today, employers also need to begin considering how to rebuild for the employees returning to the workforce—or entering it for the first time. This includes Gen Z, the youngest members of the workforce and those currently in secondary school or college. Many who were just beginning their career journey have been furloughed or fired. Those in school were suddenly confined to their homes. Collectively, they are experiencing the greatest national trauma since the Great Depression and World War II.”

Five Ways Leaders Can Support Remote Work (MIT Sloan Management Review, 06/03/20) “When employees work from home, they can feel disconnected from their organizations, and nearly half (47 percent) of participants in our survey cited effective communication as crucial to their transition to remote work. Using natural language processing to identify key themes in responses, we determined that the most effective communication has five characteristics: It’s frequent, transparent, part of a two-way dialogue, easy to navigate, and consistent. These communication principles are useful in general, but they’re crucial when a company’s workforce is distributed.”

Answers to Your 3 Top Questions About Facemasks in the Workplace (Inc., 06/01/20) “Whether your employees need to wear masks might also depend on your location. Right now, for instance, cities including San Francisco and Los Angeles require citizens to wear masks in public. Other areas and states “strongly recommend” them, but they’re not mandatory. Tennessee, for example, does not require the use of protective equipment like facemasks, and an employee would have to prove that he or she fell ill in the workplace to receive workers’ compensation. Your business would need to comply with local mandates, says Janie Schulman, a partner in the labor and employee practice at the San Francisco-based law firm Morrison & Foerster.”

Current Incidence Statistics

Source: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Data sources include the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, as well as local authorities, medical sources, and news reports.