At the end of a week full of talk about bailouts and stimulus, President Trump said Friday afternoon that he was waiving interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies. Right away, the most obvious question was this: How much would monthly payments fall for the tens of millions of borrowers?
By nightfall, the Department of Education had a surprising answer. Monthly payments aren’t going to go down at all. Instead, the entire payment will go toward paying down the principal amount on the loan.
The result will be little short-term relief for many of the borrowers who celebrated the announcement. Instead, they will benefit later — say, if they pay enough principal during the waiver period to shorten the scheduled term of their loans.
There is a group of borrowers who could benefit a great deal: those whose incomes have fallen, or might fall soon, because of the economic contagion of the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump is asking Congress to unleash a torrent of emergency economic aid — including direct checks to Americans — an effort unseen since the Great Recession to shore up households and the economy amid the coronavirus crisis.
Trump wants checks out to the public within two weeks as part of what officials said could approach a $1 trillion package. Congressional leaders vowed swift action. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appeared on Capitol Hill to brief Senate Republicans as state and local officials acted more forcefully to restrict gatherings and mobility in the face of growing sickness.
Scientists and government officials fighting the coronavirus epidemic say they have a problem: Carefree youths.
As authorities moved to restrict social gatherings last week, bars and restaurants from New York to Berlin filled up with revelers, illegal “lockdown parties” popped up in France and Belgium, and campuses in the U.S. lit up for end-of-the-world dorm parties.
What weeks ago seemed unthinkable is now a reality for many professors: take all your courses online, suddenly and indefinitely, due to COVID-19. And while technical and other practical challenges abound for instructors in all fields, those in the humanities face some particular ones: creating virtual classroom environments that foster the deep and often intimate discussions that promote trust and learning.
Humanists and instructional design experts don’t underestimate this task, as research suggests that training and having time to plan are crucial to leading successful online humanities courses. Time to plan is, of course, off the table in sudden coronavirus-related campus closures. Most humanities professors likely do not have ideal training: according to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ most recent survey of humanities departments, 70 percent were not offering a single online course as of 2017. Technical and instructional design support will be helpful but may be limited during this time due to a variety of factors, including demand.
Despite these daunting conditions, but with their choices being few, professors are, by many accounts, forging ahead -- step by step.
Experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advising people who are mildly sick with what might be COVID-19 to call a doctor about the symptoms but stay home. That’s because of the scarcity of tests for the novel coronavirus, even in the Seattle area, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.
Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 is important, but medical providers say they need to save tests and treatment right now for the sickest of the sick. They also say a trip to a clinic or hospital could be dangerous because of possibly getting exposed to the virus or spreading it.
If you develop a fever, cough and shortness of breath, the CDC says, call your doctor. Get immediate help if you have “emergency warning signs” such as trouble breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion, or “bluish lips or face.”
But numerous Seattle-area residents have said they’ve called their health care provider with those symptoms and been told to stay home, isolate and come back only if they get worse.
Washington leaders on Monday called on residents of the state to avoid any unnecessary interactions over the next two weeks, as the state pulls out nearly every measure at its disposal to stem the growth of the novel coronavirus.
“It is time right now for people to assume that they and everyone they meet has been exposed and is potentially infected,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine at a livestreamed news conference, at which reporters listened in on conference lines, to avoid any physical interaction.
In an otherwise empty classroom on the ground floor of Gould Hall on Monday, Rick Mohler leaned back in a chair and addressed his class of graduate students through a big screen TV.
On the right side of the screen was a live feed of moving faces — University of Washington students in their apartments, homes or dorm rooms, tuning in from around the city. Most of the screen was taken up by architectural renderings, as students in the class Architecture 507 displayed their drawings electronically and took turns talking about them.
In the span of just a few days, this has become the new normal at the UW, the first large university in the country to switch to online classes because of the coronavirus outbreak. By Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee had restricted all of the state’s colleges and universities to online-only classes through at least April 24.
In an effort to help prepare the city to respond more quickly to Whatcom County’s to the novel COVID-19 outbreak, Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood signed a proclamation of local emergency on Thursday.
The Bellingham City Council also announced in a second release March 12 that it is taking precautionary measures and conducting only essential business at meetings.
Fleetwood announced the proclamation signing in a city of Bellingham press release Thursday evening.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday that he is mandating the closure of all Washington schools from March 17, through at least April 24.
He added that he was going to “restrict activities” at colleges, saying there would be no in-person courses through that date. Labs and clinics, he said, can continue if social distancing is imposed.
In the same announcement, he made his existing efforts to slow the virus down even more drastic, expanding his restriction on meetings of over 250 to the entire state.
Western Washington University announced Friday that it will delay the start of its spring quarter by nearly a week and will continue to utilize remote teaching through April 24 in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The school, which has already canceled its Winter Commencement and moved the final weeks of the winter quarter online, outlined its plans for the spring quarter in a letter from President Sabah Randhawa emailed March 13.