• 59°

Darts and Laurels: Technology fee waiver will help during virtual learning

Laurel to the Rowan-Salisbury School Board for waving technology fees for students this year.

Particularly during a changed class schedule because of the continuing COVID-19 outbreak, devices — iPads or laptops — will make learning possible. Standard procedure in a normal year would be to deprive the student of the ability to take his or her device home until the fee is paid. A previous proposal would have lowered the fee to $20, but even that would have excluded some students to whom $20 is a significant amount of money when their family is living paycheck to paycheck.

The waiver approved Monday will contribute to what’s expected to be a $700,000 shortfall in the district’s budget, which is expected to require a transfer from savings. But this is a scenario where the cost is worth the potential benefit.

For many students, at-home learning three days per week is going to be a significant barrier to normal progress. So, it was good to see one hurdle removed.

Laurel to Rowan County, which plans to release a weekly case positive rate that more accurately reflects all COVID-19 testing here.

For too long, data released by Rowan County, through no fault of its own, has not provided a complete picture of testing. The percent of positives has hovered in the teens, a worrying percentage if true. The issue, however, was that the county was not receiving all negative results.

Now, a section of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website says about 7% of tests conducted here have returned positive and county spokesman T.J. Brown says the Rowan County Health Department is working to provide a weekly number that reflects many more negative test results that had previously not been received by local officials.

Particularly because the country remains fundamentally divided over basic facts about COVID-19, more transparency is needed. And the positive rate is a good example of much-needed transparency.

Dart to the unsurprising development that Congress is bickering over details of how much to help struggling Americans as extra, coronavirus-induced benefits are scheduled to run out this week.

House Democrats passed a $3 trillion package in May, which went nowhere in the Senate. And Senate Republicans just offered their plan this week. Among other things, they argue that $600 in extra benefits is too high for many. Being unemployed has paid better for some workers than the job they lost. That’s a fine argument to make, but it didn’t need to wait until a deadline to decided what comes next.

If those elected to represent us are actually interested in keeping the country afloat rather than playing partisan politics, they’ll compromise quickly and ensure much-needed relief continues in some form.

Comments

Elections

Requests for absentee ballots top 9,000 in Rowan

Local

Spencer approves supplemental USDA loan for Park Plaza project

Business

11 locals will make up Empire Redevelopment Task Force

Local

New finance director excited to prove himself, continue on path set by predecessor

Coronavirus

County health officials report four new COVID-19 deaths

Elections

Trump promotes health care ‘vision’ at stop in Charlotte but gaps remain

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with stealing mom’s dog

Business

Rowan County hires Howden as new finance director

Local

Exhibit about Jim Crow-era travel on display at NC Transportation Museum

Elections

GOP elections board members resign over absentee settlement

Crime

Drive-by shooting injures 24-year-old Salisbury man

Crime

Highway Patrol: Vehicle fled after striking, killing pedestrian on Camp Road

Local

Locals to be inducted into NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

Business

Fall fun, with a twist: Patterson Farm adjusts to guidelines, offers new version of traditional events

Nation/World

Sayers, Piccolo friendship lives on in ‘Brian’s Song’

Education

Partners in learning passes last year’s special needs fashion show fundraiser with all-virtual event

Education

Shoutouts

Elections

Former history teacher to use ‘working knowledge of the issues’ in state House race

Business

Chamber adds more than 50 new businesses during Total Resource Campaign

Education

School board candidates for Salisbury seat split on consolidation

Education

Virtually no internet: Rural NC families struggle with online access for school-age children

Education

Horizons Unlimited taking learning to students this semester

Nation/World

NTSB: Pilot’s actions likely caused Earnhardt Jr. plane crash

Nation/World

2 Louisville officers shot amid Breonna Taylor protests