Distributive policy

NEW SHINES | Fall changes to COVID-19 policy, homework help returns with free tutoring

A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to lose in the ever-changing news cycle!

Organized by Vee Hua 華婷婷

🖋️ Letter from the editor 🖋️

A number of changes are planned this fall around COVID-19. To help you better prepare, this episode of News Gleams largely focuses on what to expect moving forward with vaccines, boosters, home testing, and more.

Plus, with the start of the school year, free homework help and mentoring is now available for K-12 students.

—Vee Hua 華婷婷, Acting Editor for South Sea

✨ Shine this week ✨

Federal government will soon transfer COVID-19 costs and coverage to private insurance

Since the onset of COVID-19, the US federal government has purchased vaccines, boosters, tests, and health care at heavily subsidized rates and offered them free to the public. As infections decline and the pandemic becomes rampant, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is in the early stages of planning a shift of federal government grants and coverage to individuals and private insurance.

“The Department of Health and Human Services intends to hold a planning session on August 30 that would bring together representatives from drugmakers, pharmacies, and state health departments with an interest in a COVID treatment industry -19,” writes the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

According to the WSJ, the Trump and Biden administrations have always planned to make this transition and it would take months of planning. Officials must now take into account the 30 million Americans who are currently uninsured. Some say the change could also lead to bigger profits for vaccine makers like Moderna and Pfizer.

Last call to order free COVID-19 home tests

Similarly, the federal government has been providing free COVID-19 test kits since January 2022, but this offer will soon be suspended due to a lack of funding. Their COVID-19 website writes, “Orders through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress has not provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s testing stockpile.”

All U.S. households can order their third round of COVID-19 tests by September 2, or while supplies last.

WA State prepares for COVID19 booster shots in the fall

According to KUOW reports, “Federal approval is expected in the coming weeks, according to Lacy Fehrenbach, chief of prevention, safety and health at the state Department of Health…Fehrenbach said that the state had already ordered 191,900 boosters that will be pre-positioned around Washington in anticipation of approval.

Offer will be limited when new boosters first become available and may be subject to the above changes as they transition from free federal government distribution to private insurance. The new boosters target the original COVID strains as well as the omicron subvariants and are more effective than current vaccines. Those who are not eligible for the first round of fall boosters are recommended to get boosted with current vaccines; it would not make them ineligible for future rounds.

Photo depicting the exterior of the Douglass-Truth branch of the Seattle Public Library.
The Douglass-Truth branch of the Seattle Public Library. (Photo courtesy of Seattle Public Library.)

Homework help returns with free tutoring at six Seattle public libraries

Starting the week of September 12, the Seattle Public Library will return with its free after-school tutoring service, Homework Help, after a hiatus of more than two years due to the pandemic. Through this service, K-12 students can receive academic coaching and homework help, as well as read and play learning enrichment games with trained volunteer tutors.

The library will also continue to offer one-on-one virtual tutoring through Tutor.com seven days a week.

Homework help will be available at the six locations that previously offered the service. These libraries serve more students and families from historically underserved communities than other locations. They are:

  • Colombia branch
    Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    4721 Rainier Avenue S.
  • Douglass-Truth Branch
    Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
    2300 E. Yesler Road
  • High Point Branch
    Tuesdays, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, from 4 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
    3411 SW Raymond St., 206-684-7454
  • Lake City Branch
    Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
    12501 28th Avenue NE, 206-684-7518.
  • NewHolly Branch
    Tuesdays, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    7058 32nd Ave S., 206-386-1905
  • Rainier Beach Branch
    Mondays, from 4 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
    9125 Rainier Ave S., 206-386-1906

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