July 8 Biweekly Round-Up: NEC Members Contribute to COVID-19 Crisis Response

As our region and our nation continue to grapple with the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, The New England Council is using our blog as a platform to highlight some of the incredible work our members have undertaken to respond to the outbreak.  Twice weekly, we’ll post a round-up of updates on some of the initiatives underway among Council members throughout the region.  We are also sharing these updates via our social media, and encourage our members to share with us any information on their efforts so that we can be sure to include them in these biweekly round-ups.   

You can find all the Council’s information and resources related to the crisis in the special COVID-19 section of our website.  This includes our COVID-19 Virtual Events Calendar, which provides information on upcoming COVID-19 Congressional town halls and webinars presented by NEC members, as well as our Federal Agency COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses page. 

Here is the July 8, 2020 roundup: 

Medical Response 

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Says Telemedicine Has Silver Lining for Pregnant Women– While this has been an incredibly stressful time for pregnant women, Blue Cross Blue Shield has found some bright spots while using Telemedicine in OBGYN care. Physicians have found that telehealth has drastically reduced the cost of healthcare for pregnant women, and make it easier for doctors to interface with their patients electronically. Read more here 


Economic/Business Continuity Response 

  • People’s United Bank Offering Identity and Credit Protection Service Amid COVID-19 Scams – People’s United Bank has rolled out a new digital identity and credit protection service aimed at monitoring a customer’s account on a single dashboard. The Bridgeport-based bank, a subsidiary of People’s United Financial Inc., on Monday announced it partnered with Irish consumer credit reporting company Experian plc to offer the so-called AlwaysChecking service to all personal account holders and for those opening a new account. AlwaysChecking also provides Internet surveillance and detection of stolen personal information such as passports, license and credit cards, among other items. Read more here 
  • Boeing Dreamlifter Transports 500,000 Protective Face Masks for Utah Students and Teachers– Boeing completed it’s 12th COVID-19 transport mission, using a Boeing Dreamlifter to transport 500,000 masks for students and children returning to classrooms this fall. Working in partnership with the State of Utah,  Atlas Air WorldwideH.M. ColeCotopaxiFlexport and UPS to transport the masks, where they will be distributed free of charge. To date, Boeing has helped transport more than four million units of PPE. Read more here.
  • Brown University will Have Three Semesters this Year to Reduce the Number of Students on Campus– In order to reduce student density on campus, Brown will be implementing a three-semester school year. Freshmen will wait until the spring semester to start classes, and all students must be tested for COVID-19. If the coronavirus is still a threat in the spring, sophomores may skip the spring semester and attend in the fall. In addition, students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing, along with numerous other changes to protect students and faculty. Read more here. 
  • MIT Announces Only Seniors Will Return to Campus this Fall– The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will invite only seniors to return to campus in the fall. Given their proximity to graduation, seniors were given priority in order to finish experiments and theses in order to receive their degrees. The university will also give undergraduates a $5,000 coronavirus grant to help offset costs, as well as offering both on-campus and remote research or teaching opportunities. In addition, all classes with more than twenty students will be taught remotely. Read more here. 


Community Response 

  • Portland to Start Providing Rental Assistance with $500,000 Fund– The Portland City Council approved a plan to use federal funds to assist families and individuals who have lost income due to the pandemic. The program will provide up to $2,250 per household, as well as up to $250 to help pay utilities. The funding comes from the federal CARES Act, passed this spring, and Portland city officials stated that they will use the rest of the $1.4 million for food assistance programs and the city’s Parks Department. Read more here 
  • Assumption University Coronavirus Financial Aid Relief Fund– The Assumption University Board of Trustees has authorized the creation of a $3 million relief fund for current and incoming students and families affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The resources from this fund will take the form of need-based room and tuition grants. Read more here. 
  • University of New England Pharmacy Student and Faculty Member Make Hand Sanitizer for Distribution During Campus VisitsUniversity of New England (UNE) pharmacy student Sandra Schipelliti and Professor George Allen, have been producing hand sanitizer in the school’s Hannaford lab to distribute to students and families during campus tours this summer. Allen and Schipelliti will produce 50 two-ounce bottles per week for the UNE admissions office. Both Allen and Schipelliti state that they were happy to help their school and visitor’s piece of mind. Read more here 

 Stay tuned for more biweekly updates, and follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates on how Council members are contributing to the response to this global health crisis. 


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