At least 1,000 schools around the country have closed due to coronavirus infections since the end of July when schools began to reopen, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Illinois, Indiana, and New York.
- Illinois: Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) last month signed a law allowing students to take up to five "mental health days" off from school beginning in January. According to USA Today, the law applies to all students in public schools between the ages of 6 and 17. In addition, the law states that students who take more than two of the approved mental health days should be referred to appropriate support services in the school. "As society continues to increase the importance of addressing mental health as a part of health care, we must ensure that our students have the ability to address issues they are dealing with," State Sen. Robert Marwick (D) said. "This bill removes the stigma and allows students to prioritize their mental health and stability." (Santucci, USA Today, 9/2)
- Indiana: IU Health has placed workers who did not meet the system's Sept. 1 deadline for Covid-19 vaccination on an unpaid two-week suspension, Becker's Hospital Review reports. According to the health system, fewer than 300 of its 36,000 employees have been suspended, and employees may return to work after receiving at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. In contrast, employees who remain unvaccinated are at risk of losing their jobs. In a statement, IU Health said, "Vaccinating team members is a safe and effective way to protect patients and help reduce the spread of Covid-19 in facilities and in the community." (Ellison, Becker's Hospital Review, 9/3)
- New York: At least 1,000 schools in 31 states have closed due to Covid-19 since late July when schools started reopening, based on information from Burbio, a data service based in New York that is tracking school closures in 1,200 districts nationwide. According to the Wall Street Journal, the closures have been particularly prevalent in Southern states, where schools were among the first started opening, and other states may face similar issues as their schools open this month. While it is difficult to determine how badly schools have been affected by the coronavirus due to variations in reporting, an analysis of data from several state health departments found that infections among students have rapidly increased in states where students are already back in school. In addition, a survey by the National Parent Teacher Association found that a majority of parents in the United States no longer want their children to attend school full-time, The Hill reports. (Koh, Wall Street Journal, 9/5; Choi, The Hill, 9/5)