NEWS GLEAMS | Fall Changes to COVID-19 Policy, Homework Help Returns With Free Tutoring

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

🖋️Letter From the Editor🖋️

A number of changes are anticipated this upcoming fall around COVID-19. To help you prepare better, this installment of News Gleams is focused largely on what one can expect moving forward with vaccines, boosters, at-home tests, and more.

Furthermore, with school coming back into full swing, free homework help and mentorship are now available for students K–12.

—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Sea

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Image is attributed to The Focal Project (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-NC 2.0 license).

Federal Government Will Soon Shift COVID-19 Costs and Coverage to Private Insurance

Since the onset of COVID-19, the U.S. federal government has purchased vaccines, boosters, tests, and health care at heavily subsidized rates and offered them for free to the public. As infections are declining and the pandemic is becoming endemic, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is in the beginning stages of planning a shift from federal government subsidies and coverage to individuals and private insurance.

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

According to WSJ, both the Trump and Biden administrations have always planned to make this transition and that it would take months of planning. Officials must now consider the 30 million Americans who are presently uninsured. Some argue the shift may also result in larger profits for vaccine manufacturers like Moderna and Pfizer.

Last Call to Order Free COVID-19 At-Home Tests

Relatedly, 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, “Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday, September 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.”

All U.S. households can order their third round of COVID-19 tests between now and Sep. 2, or while supplies last.

WA State Prepares for Fall COVID19 Booster Shots

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

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

Homework Help Returns With Free Drop-In Tutoring at Six Seattle Public Library Locations

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

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

Homework Help will be available at the six locations which previously offered the service. These libraries serve more students and families from historically under-served communities than other locations. They are:

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

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