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John Lee

Students going to community colleges graduate at lower rates than their counterparts at four-year schools. They often are holding down a job or raising a family. Now, add COVID-19 to that day-to-day stress.

The Community College of Baltimore County is taking steps to try to help those students stay in school.

AP/Mark Lennihan

Restaurants throughout Maryland are still open, but operating only as carry-out establishments under emergency orders because of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning many residents are turning to delivery apps to bring meals to their door. 

The problem, some restaurant workers say, is that the fees the delivery services charge greatly reduce the already razor-thin margins that most restaurants skate by on. 

YouTube

Maryland public schools will be closed through May 15, three weeks longer than previously announced, due to the coronavirus pandemic, State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced at a press conference Friday.

Salmon said local schools will continue online instruction, and they are developing plans to make up lost instructional time during the summer.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Four hundred viewers logged on Thursday night to hear Baltimore City Schools Superintendent Dr. Sonja Santelises and her leadership team answer questions about the city’s distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis.

John Lee

 

Baltimore County is to open its first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site Thursday. It will be at the Timonium Fairgrounds.

But the county can only offer it two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, because of the shortage of testing kits.

YouTube

Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that it is too soon to start lifting restrictions closing schools and businesses and keeping people at home. But he laid out the steps needed to get to that point.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Maryland’s top judge ordered state courts on Tuesday to consider releasing potentially thousands of inmates in prisons and jails to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The move comes after a coalition of advocates spent weeks submitting legal filings and letters to elected officials. They warned that detention facilities need to reduce their populations to prevent a widespread outbreak because unlike in the outside world, inmates at Maryland’s prisons and jails can’t socially distance themselves.

Patrick Semansky / AP

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young announced Wednesday the city’s new tax sale date. It will be July 20 instead of the originally scheduled date of May 18.  

Under the mayor’s order, thousands of homeowners whose properties are on the city’s tax sale list now have until June 30th to pay down their tax bills and get the properties off that list. The original date was April 30. Once that date passes, however, the city won’t accept any more payments, says Amy Hennen of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.  

SCREENSHOT VIA PERISCOPE

  


  Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order Wednesday afternoon requiring all Marylanders to wear masks or other face coverings when inside retail establishments or when riding public transportation in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

His order will go into effect at 7 a.m. Saturday. It also directs essential businesses to put social distancing measures, such as markers directing customers where to stand at a check-out line, into place. 

Joel McCord

  Maryland’s commercial crab season opened April 1, but those in the business, from watermen to processors, say they’re in uncharted waters because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Normally, there would be as many as 500 seasonal workers, most of them guest workers from Central America, picking crabs in the packing houses of the Eastern Shore this time of year and sending the meat on to restaurants and grocery stores.

Sean Naron, Baltimore County

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Tuesday laid out a proposed $3.9 billion budget for the county for the next fiscal year far different from what he expected it would be just one month ago.

Olszewski said the COVID-19 pandemic in the blink of an eye has created a new reality.

Lee Krempel

Teachers across Maryland are learning a new way of teaching students.  Distance learning is a huge challenge for teachers, students and their families.

Maryland’s special educators have an even steeper hill to climb and it boils down to one word: individual.

screenshot via Emily Sullivan/WYPR


    The Baltimore City Council heard a series of coronavirus measures during its second-ever virtual meeting Monday night. 

City Council President Brandon Scott introduced an ordinance that would make the acts of impersonating an official and issuing “false statements” during a declared state of emergency a misdemeanor. 

Rachel Baye / WYPR

An inmate at the state-run Jessup Correctional Institution has died as a result of COVID-19, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services confirmed Monday. 

 

The inmate, a man in his 60s with “serious underlying medical conditions” died Saturday after spending several weeks hospitalized. He was one of 93 people — including 18 inmates and 47 correctional officers — confirmed to have COVID-19 across the state prison system as of Sunday night. Jessup Correctional Institution alone has had 33 confirmed cases.

Heidi Sheppard/WYPR

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young closed city playgrounds in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic last month, but residents continued to visit them and use park exercise equipment.

On Monday, he ordered new measures to secure park equipment so residents are more inclined to stay away.

Elizabeth Miner

Hospitals across the country are in short supply of essential medical equipment critical in the fight against COVID-19. Top on that list is ventilators. 

A typical ventilator costs anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000. 

Now a team of engineers in Southern Maryland have figured out a way to convert an item often found in the back of a mother’s closet into a ventilator: a good old reliable breast pump.  

AP Photo/Steve Ruark

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is asking President Trump to force General Motors to reopen its plant in White Marsh so it can make ventilators.

Rachel Baye

Maryland officials announced on Friday that they are expecting a $2.8-billion drop in revenues for the three months that end June 30. In response, Gov. Larry Hogan announced a state budget and hiring freeze.

Sean Naron, Baltimore County

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski  announced a hiring freeze Thursday of non-essential positions in county government.

Maryland State Department of Health

Black Marylanders are disproportionately represented among confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19, according to state data released Thursday.

Black residents make up just under a third of Maryland’s population, but represent 42.7% of COVID-19 cases and 44% of the deaths from the illness among cases for which race data is known. 

Gov. Larry Hogan said the figures reveal “troubling disparities and points to a persistent public health challenge that we must address.”

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

On a typical day in the Baltimore City school where she’s a therapist, Maggie Schultz sees up to eight kids ranging in ages from five to 14, all of them with emotional and behavioral issues.

But ever since schools have been shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number has been sliced dramatically. The most she saw over a recent week was four in one day. 

And that was mostly because she could go online to connect with her kids after the administration of Gov. Larry Hogan loosened restrictions around telehealth.

Baltimore County

More than 100,000 Marylanders have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But many of them can’t get through to the state’s unemployment office to file a claim.

The Edward A. Myerberg Center

Passover, the celebration of the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt, normally begins with great family dinners, the seder. But this year, with the coronavirus pandemic raging and stay-at-home orders in place, many Jewish families are turning to virtual seders.

The Edward A. Myerberg Center in Northwest Baltimore put on its own virtual seder earlier this week.

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski made few promises Tuesday night, as he held a virtual town hall and heard from residents about what they would like to see in next year’s budget. 

Olszewski presents his proposed budget to the county council next week.  The high cost of the coronavirus pandemic is wrecking what Olszewski had hoped would be in that spending plan.

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Baltimore’s Taxpayer Night was held virtually for the first time ever on Tuesday due to the coronavirus pandemic — the economic impact dominated discussion from the city’s spending board, budget department and residents alike. 

The annual event, hosted by the Board of Estimates, allows Baltimore residents to lobby for the priorities they think should be reflected in the city budget. 

The city is collecting less money due to the pandemic’s grip on daily life, especially in four areas: transportation, tourism, income and investment earnings. 

 

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Tuesday the creation of new statewide “strike teams” to help nursing homes that have been overwhelmed with cases of COVID-19.  To date, 90 Maryland nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have confirmed cases of the disease.

AP/Patrick Semansky


  The Baltimore City Council held its first ever virtual meeting Monday evening, convened over a video conferencing website as the novel coronavirus pandemic worsens and gatherings of 10 or more are banned.

The pandemic was the subject of discussion and legislation, including a bill that would require the Baltimore City health commissioner to report patients’ races and ZIP codes -- data that has not been publicly available in the state of Maryland.

Rachel Baye

Analysts are warning that the COVID-19 epidemic will be disastrous for the state’s budget and for all the services state and local governments provide.

The budget Maryland lawmakers passed last month estimates that about 85% of state revenues will come from sales and income taxes, Warren Deschenaux, the former longtime chief fiscal analyst for the state, said Monday during a Zoom call hosted by the Maryland Center on Economic Policy.

Baltimore County

 

Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is blowing a hole in the budgets of local governments nationwide, and Baltimore County is no exception.

In advance of a virtual town hall meeting Tuesday night on the budget, county officials said everything needs to be on the table as they look for ways to cut spending.

SCREENSHOT VIA EMILY SULLIVAN/WYPR


Jessica Hyman, a Baltimore artist who performs under the name DJ Trillnatured, started off her Saturday night set like she would any other: by playing a cascade of feel-good beats designed to get her audience moving.

But unlike most nights, that audience wasn’t flanked around her. Instead, they were dancing on Zoom, a free video conferencing website that’s hosted scores of virtual happy hours and celebrations, and now, makeshift Baltimore clubbing. 

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