Rep. Brian Cina and Rep. Selene Colburn
As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, the State must take stronger action to flatten the curve of infection through social distancing, increased testing, and other harm reduction measures. The State must also plan for the economic impact and work to build social safety nets.
Increased Access to Testing
The Commissioner of Health announced on Friday, March 27, that the State will increase access to testing. The state will continue to prioritize testing for vulnerable populations, which includes health care workers and patients who are hospitalized, in long-term care facilities or with underlying health conditions. However, doctors will now have more latitude to order tests for patients with mild and moderate symptoms.
- You still need to CALL your health care provider to be evaluated and determine if you need a test. DO NOT go to a testing site without an order from your provider.
- Tests will still be prioritized, and patients who are NOT experiencing symptoms will not be tested.
“Stay Home, Stay Safe” Order
Governor Phil Scott issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order and directed the closure of in-person operations for all non-essential businesses. These restrictive measures are in place to minimize all unnecessary activities outside the home to slow the spread of this virus and protect the public. The Governor’s order directs Vermonters to stay at home, leaving only for essential reasons, critical to health and safety. If leaving the home, Vermonters should adhere to social distancing policies, including remaining six feet from others (except for those with whom they share a home) and thoroughly and regularly washing hands.
The Order provides exemptions for businesses and entities providing services or functions deemed critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. For a full list, please review the order at https://governor.vermont.gov/content/addendum-6-executive-order-01-20.
School Dismissed for Remainder of School Year
Governor Phil Scott directed schools to remain dismissed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Districts will close schools for in-person instruction and be required to implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning. The Agency of Education will provide technical guidance to districts on how to implement continuity of learning plans, specifically looking to address challenges around equitable access to learning opportunities, Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities, continuation of school meals, and school attendance and school calendar requirements.
Read the full directive here: https://governor.vermont.gov/content/directive-5-continuity-learning-planning-pursuant-eo-01-20.
General Assembly Passes Emergency Bills
The Vermont General Assembly passed two COVID-19 emergency response bills, and has resumed work using remote methods, including publicly accessible Zoom meetings and secure remote voting. See http://legislature.vermont.gov for access to committee agendas and livestreams.
The legislature passed a bill to ease restrictions and regulations in the health care system in order to maximize flexibility and adaptability. We also expanded access to unemployment benefits and adapted components of open meeting law to allow groups, including municipal governments, to conduct essential business while observing public health guidelines and maintaining public access to their work.
Here is a useful webpage posted by Building Bright Futures with links to a wide variety of resources: https://buildingbrightfutures.org/coronavirus/
The Peace and Justice Center continues to update this large list of mutual aid efforts and other resources: https://www.pjcvt.org/mutual-aid-and-other-resources-related-to-covid-19/
Virtual Zoom Meeting with State Representatives (Cina, Colburn, and Gonzalez) next Friday at 5 PM
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 339 947 005
One tap mobile
+16468769923,,339947005# US (New York)
+13126266799,,339947005# US (Chicago)
Dial by your location
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 253 215 8782 US
+1 301 715 8592 US
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 339 947 005
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aeHGVgZKnP