Sen. Jeff Jackson: NC COVID Trends, Lottery Winners, Car Inspections, Dentists, Getting Married, Teacher Evaluations, the Law Banning Wearing Masks in Public

Published Friday, May 8, 2020 at 3:00 pm

NC STATS

  • 14k cases
  • 525 hospitalizations
  • 529 deaths
  • 7,300 tests done yesterday

MAJOR TRENDS

DHHS is looking at a number of metrics to make decisions about reopening.

Two of those metrics are hospitalizations and testing capacity.

Hospitalizations appear to be flattening:

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Data source: NC DHHS

Testing capacity is a little erratic, but it’s trending up slightly:

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Data source: NC DHHS

Neither of these metrics shows clear victory or clear defeat. This is what being in the middle of a battle looks like. We are going to see some amount of reopening this week. That’s going to bring a heightened level of risk. We genuinely don’t know yet how much risk we’re taking, so we’re trying to start slow and get more data before we go bigger. The outcome is not determined. Things really could go either way.

NEW LAWS

In addition to a lot of obvious relief measures that are needed, there a lot of less-obvious fixes that have become necessary.

So after we passed the $1.5b relief bill, we passed another bill that changed a few dozen laws that needed modification to fit our current situation. (You can read the full bill here.)

Here are 19 of those changes:

  • If your car inspection or registration is due after March 1 and before August 1 you now get an extra five months from the expiration date.
  • Driver’s licenses are now good until 30 days after the date the Governor ends the state of emergency or the date the DMV reopens all of its offices, whichever is earlier.
  • No interest on unpaid income tax will accrue until July 15.
  • Notarizations can be done by video until August 1 (specific procedures for that).
  • North Carolina will now develop its own strategic stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supplies.
  • Dentists are now authorized to conduct COVID diagnostic and antibody tests.
  • Each school district must set an opening date for students of August 17, 2020 and a closing date no later than June 11, 2021. Doesn’t apply to year-round schools. (There is ongoing discussion about the start date specifically for Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, given the RNC. More to follow on this front.)
  • We directed all school districts to develop a Remote Instruction Plan for the 2020-2021 school year, in case the virus makes remote learning necessary again.
  • Teachers get a one-year extension to meet licensure requirements.
  • High school students will not be required to have instruction in CPR prior to graduation.
  • Normally there are special rules that discourage social promotion out of third grade because of a concern for establishing fundamental literacy skills, but for next year principals can make third grade promotion decisions in the same manner as for other grades.
  • When the fall semester begins, fourth graders must be given a reading assessment within 10 days to assess reading ability and identify remediation needs.
  • Teacher evaluations will be based on observations completed prior to March 13, 2020.
  • Schools normally get their own report cards based on the test scores of the student population. But they won’t this year, because we don’t have enough data.
  • In North Carolina, it’s against the law to wear a mask on a public street or walkway. It’s a law that’s been around since the 1950’s and was originally intended to hamper the activities of the KKK. It has several exceptions, but one of them wasn’t “to ensure the physical health or safety of the wearer or others,” so we added that. Now you can wear a mask for public health purposes on a public street or walkway.
  • Marriage certificates can now be received via remote audio-video communication provided the register of deeds can “positively identify” each applicant. (Very important to marry the right people!). Expires August 1.
  • Lottery winners now have extra time to claim their prize.
  • DMV headquarters was supposed to move to a new location by October 1. That has been delayed.
  • If a sheriff has to serve judicial notice on a resident of a senior living facility (it happens!) they can now leave a copy of the notice with the employee in charge of the office or who has authority to receive documents intended for residents. Expires August 1.

The next post will include an update on DES. The situation there is totally unacceptable and I am speaking with their leadership about changes that we need to see immediately.

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More soon,

Sen. Jeff Jackson
 
District 37
Mecklenburg
 
 
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