Headlines December 9, 2020

Headlines December 9, 2020

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Report: Low-Wage Workers Suffer More in the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted workers in lower-wage jobs. That’s the finding of the Talent Pipeline Report released yesterday.

Lee Wheeler-Berliner, Director of the Colorado Workforce Development Council¬–told the Denver Post that with a job recovery rate of only about 64%, now is the time to invest in the strategies help Coloradans transition to new jobs and industries that will have growth potential during this stage of the pandemic and beyond.

According to the findings, the pandemic has scrambled expectations for how quickly shifts in the workplace would take place. That in turn has left the state struggling to make sure lower-wage workers, hard hit by the downturn, aren’t left behind as the recovery takes hold.

While jobs have been posted by employers for truck drivers, registered nurses, software developers, and retail salespersons and order fillers, average monthly postings in most of those categories were down by as much as 43% from the same period in 2019.
The report notes that trends that were thought would take more than 10 years to occur happened in a matter of weeks. The report says those trends require workforce training and education to quickly adapt to the current reality.

First Gentleman Released from Hospital

Colorado’s first gentleman Marlon Reis, was released from the hospital yesterday. Over the weekend Reis experienced worsening COVID-19 symptoms but now is back home in Boulder, according to Governor Jared Polis’ office.

The first gentleman was treated at UC Health in Aurora, and Polis drove him home Tuesday morning.

Polis and Reis announced about 10 days ago that they had tested positive for COVID-19. The governor’s office reports that Polis has at no point suffered any more than minor symptoms.

Worship Capacities Dropped

Health officials in the state have dropped coronavirus capacity limits for houses of worship and religious events, including weddings and funerals. The move comes after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling cast doubt on the legality of such restrictions.

The Colorado Sun reports that officials are still recommending that houses of worship limit the number of people attending services.

But an amended order released late Monday night appears to concede that the state likely cannot enforce capacity caps following the Supreme Court’s decision.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said that weddings and funerals are now classified as “essential” meaning that they must do their best to follow public health recommendations, and may exceed recommended caps on the number of attendees. However, they still must require masks and social distancing when indoors, and outdoor activities are strongly preferred.

Denver Public Schools Plan for Return to Classrooms

Denver Public Schools released new plans last night. Elementary school students will return to classrooms Jan. 11, and secondary students will do the same by Feb. 1, if health conditions allow.

Superintendent Susana Cordova told families last night that the district would continue to work with public health officials to monitor changing coronavirus conditions, and will adjust the January return plans, if needed.
Chalkbeat reports that the schedule calls for students to continue learning at home from Jan. 5 to 8, with all elementary students returning to the classroom Jan. 11.

Secondary schools will develop their own schedules and gradually bring students back to the classroom between Jan. 19 and the end of the month.
Most Colorado students are learning from home now, as school districts around the state have switched to remote classes in the face of rising COVID cases.

But Denver, the state’s largest district, has changed plans more than most over the course of the summer and fall, leaving many parents frustrated.

Denver Police Chief Responds to Scathing Report

Denver’s police chief promised yesterday to implement sweeping changes about how the department handles protests.

Chief Paul Pazen’s pledge comes in response to a report from the city’s Independent monitor that slammed the department’s response to the George Floyd protests earlier this year.

The Chief agreed to 15 of 16 recommended policy changes and said that he takes responsibility for the departments’ actions.  He added that they will use the monitor’s report to improve.

The report’s recommendations were broad— from creating a system to track the use of less-lethal weapons – to participating in crowd-control trainings with other law enforcement agencies in the Denver area.

The monitor also recommended that the department keep track of which officers are responding to a demonstration, which it did not do during the George Floyd protests.

During a news conference, the Denver Post reports that Pazen repeatedly blamed mistakes on the unplanned nature of the protests and their enormous scale.  He said the department did not have time to prepare, even though the protests lasted several days.

No officers have been disciplined in connection with the protests except one who was fired for a social media post.  However, more than 50 internal affairs investigations are ongoing.

Colorado Election Results Certified

Secretary of State Jena Griswold certified Colorado’s 2020 election results yesterday.  She celebrated the second-highest turnout rate in the nation, and called it a special day that “commemorates the will of the people and the strength of our democracy.”  As most know, all 9 of the state’s electoral votes will go to Biden who easily beat Trump in Colorado.