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What The COVID Relief Bill Could Mean For Mass.

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Also: Takeaways from Oprah's big interview with Harry and Meghan; a push to get teachers vaccinated

Also: Takeaways from Oprah's big interview with Harry and Meghan; a push to get teachers vaccinated in schools by first responders ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  [Donate [WBUR]]( [View in Browser](  [WBUR]( March 8, 2021 Good Morning Boston, 🌞 Sunny, with a high near 41. I know Twitter is [feverishly chatting]( about the Royal family and Oprah's big interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (don't worry, we'll get to that below). But first, let's start with news about this side of the pond: - The Senate [approved]( President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan Saturday. The package would deliver a new round of financial assistance to Americans still dealing with the impact of the pandemic, including $1,400 direct payments, an extension of supplemental unemployment benefits and an increase to the child tax credit. All Dems voted in support of the measure; all Republicans opposed. Now, the bill is heading back to the House for a final vote, since it was amended in the Senate. If passed, the bill would likely hit Biden's desk before current federal unemployment benefits expire on March 14. - What does this mean for Massachusetts? The state will get about $7.5 to $8 billion to support local governments, small businesses, schools and individuals, according to Sen. Ed Markey. With that money, vaccination efforts will be a priority, helping the state to launch more pop-up vaccination sites. More shots into arms – just the news we like to hear. - ICYMI: On Friday, the state [ordered]( public schools in Massachusetts to begin offering in-person learning to elementary school students five days a week, starting April 5. There has been a wide range of opinions on the policy from teachers and parents since the announcement. State officials said the plan allows districts who have been remote-only for most of the school year to take a more graduated approach to fully reopening their buildings. Parents will still have the option to choose remote learning for their children until the end of the year. - If teachers are being put back into the classroom five days a week, they want to be vaccinated – and soon. Teachers, school staff and day care workers can start signing up for vaccine appointments at state-run sites starting this Thursday, but teacher and firefighter unions are making a push to allow first responders to vaccinate teachers and other school employees in school buildings. The union leaders will meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Lou Sudders on Wednesday to make their case. - Nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester are on strike this morning. The nurses union is calling for more staffing, especially amid the pandemic, but the hospital's owner, Tenet Healthcare, says staffing is appropriate and on-par with other local hospitals. Replacement nurses have been brought in to take care of patients during the strike. WBUR reporter Lynn Jolicoeur is [at the strike](. [Follow her on Twitter]( for updates. - By the numbers: More than 700,000 people in Massachusetts are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. And the seven-day positive test average is now at 1.6%, the lowest it's been since late October. We're going in the right direction, but be sure to keep this Monday mantra in mind: Keep your distance from others, wear your mask and wash your hands. The pandemic isn't over and these things are all still vital to keep infection rates low. P.S.– It's time to fact up! The science strongly supports the safety and efficacy of COVID vaccines, but many of us still have questions about its side effects, its ability to protect us and for how long. WBUR reporters and health experts want to help. They'll be taking your questions in a virtual town hall starting at 6 p.m. tomorrow night. They'll also discuss vaccine misinformation and ways to mitigate hesitancy in your personal circle. [Learn more and register for the free event here.]( — Meagan McGinnes [@meaganmcginnes]( newsletters@wbur.org The Rundown [1.](url)[House Poised To Pass Biden's $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill On Tuesday]( Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for bipartisan support for the upcoming House vote on the Senate-amended legislation. Such support is unlikely, as Republicans are fiercely opposed to the package. [Read more.](   #%23%23[Twitter](  #%23%23[Facebook](    2. [A Look Back At A Challenging Year In Chelsea With City Manager Tom Ambrosino]( Chelsea has been especially hard hit by the pandemic. People in the city just north of Boston have been disproportionately affected by the crisis. As the anniversary of the coronavirus shutdown approaches, Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino spoke with WBUR. [Read more.]( 3. [Several Student Leaders In Boston Resign, Citing Disrespect And 'Adultism']( Between six and a dozen high school students resigned from the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC), a body that aims to give students a voice in district decision-making through 49 student representatives. [Read more.]( 4. [Massachusetts Explores The Advantages And Potential Challenges Of The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine]( We have some information about how hospitals, health centers and other vaccination programs plan to integrate J&J, but first, let’s look at some numbers that are getting a lot of attention. [Read more.]( 5. [Biden Will Establish A Gender Policy Council Within The White House]( Under former President Barack Obama, the office was called the White House Council on Women and Girls. The name change to the Gender Policy Council is intentional, the administration official said, "to reflect the fact that gender discrimination can happen to people of all genders." [Read more.]( Support the news Anything Else? - Did you miss Oprah's big interview with Harry and Meghan? [Here are the main takeaways.]( - Allan McDonald, the man who refused to approve the Challenger launch and later exposed NASA's cover-up, has [died]( at the age of 83. - #MeToo has at long last demanded accountability from those accused of sexual harassment, writes Leigh Gilmore [in this commentary](. Andrew Cuomo’s non-apology represents the expectation of impunity. [WBUR] Your Daily Must Listen [What's An NFT? And Why Are People Paying Millions To Buy Them?]( [Listen]( VACCINES [Clinical Trials, Speed And Special Technology: Developing The COVID Vaccines]( What To Know About Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution In Mass.[Read more.]( Here's Why COVID-19 Vaccines Are Safe. [Read more.]( Asked & Answered: Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions.[Submit questions here.]( 📬 Get the latest on vaccine safety protocols, side effects, local distribution plans & more in your inbox. [Sign up for our coronavirus newsletter and alerts.]( What We're Reading - How Supreme-Style Merch Drops Took Over Corporate America ([Marker]( - Maryland’s governor says Black residents don’t want to get vaccinated. But thousands are seeking shots ([The Washington Post]( - Lost in the Brine ([Eater]( Tell Me Something Good [In First Test Drive On Mars, Perseverance Rover Makes A Short But Significant Trip]( "This was our first chance to 'kick the tires' and take Perseverance out for a spin. The rover's six-wheel drive responded superbly. We are now confident our drive system is good to go, capable of taking us wherever the science leads us over the next two years." Before you go: A note for whomever runs The Freedom Trail's Twitter account: [Well done.]( 😎 Forward to a friend. They can sign up [here](. 📣 Give us your feedback: newsletters@wbur.org 📨 Get more WBUR stories sent to your inbox. [Check out all of our newsletter offerings.]( Support the news [WBUR]( [95289b97-66e8-43d4-a174-3bc3520a79a9.png]( [Instagram](  [Twitter]( [Facebook]( Want to change how you receive these emails? [Stop getting this newsletter by updating your preferences.]( I don't want to hear from WBUR anymore. [Unsubscribe from all editorial newsletters.]( Interested in learning more about corporate sponsorship? [Click here.]( Copyright © 2021 WBUR-FM, All rights reserved. You signed up for this newsletter at wbur.org. Our mailing address is: WBUR-FM 890 Commonwealth AveBoston, MA 02215-1205 [Add us to your address book](

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