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Why Polio, Once Eliminated, Is Testing N.Y. Health Officials

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In Rockland County, six Orthodox Jewish colleges of the 80 within the state database had vaccination charges under 90 p.c, in response to OJPAC, an Orthodox Jewish advocacy group. Taking the scale of every faculty into consideration, 96 p.c of all school-age Orthodox kids within the county have been vaccinated, the group mentioned.

“Since just about all children at Jewish colleges are absolutely caught up with their mandated vaccinations by the point they go to high school, it’s absurd to say that this neighborhood as a collective has extra anti-vaccination sentiments than elsewhere,” mentioned Yossi Gestetner, the group’s co-founder.

In Oneida County, a tiny Amish faculty, Meadow Valley, reported that 11 p.c of its college students have been vaccinated towards polio. Dan Gilmore, the county’s director of public well being, mentioned he wasn’t certain that vaccinations have been required in Amish colleges, although he encourages them. In any case, he added, enforcement would fall to the state. The general public well being director in Cattaraugus County mentioned that some 20 Amish colleges in his space didn’t submit any vaccine data to the state.

The state Well being Division confirmed that it’s chargeable for investigating complaints about vaccination reporting for personal colleges outdoors of New York Metropolis, conducting annual audits of a “choose quantity” of faculties and issuing corrective motion plans. How usually audits happen, nonetheless, is unclear.

After the state eliminated spiritual exemptions for vaccinations in 2019, one Amish household in rural Seneca County sued, saying they opposed vaccination as a result of they believed “God made his kids ‘proper and good’ and to vaccinate his kids is to lose religion in God,” in response to the lawsuit.


Underneath state regulation, the household’s unvaccinated kids ought to have been excluded from faculty. However though the household misplaced in a primary spherical of the courtroom battle, the state backed off and didn’t implement the rule, mentioned James G. Mermigis, the lawyer for the household, who dropped the motion.

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Shooting Suspect’s Video Adds to Questions About University’s Investigation

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Greater than a yr earlier than he was charged with taking pictures and killing three fellow College of Virginia college students, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. appeared in a music video holding a gun and rapping about homicide and his personal psychological troubles.

The video, posted on YouTube on Aug. 15, 2021, options Mr. Jones, one other rapper and others dancing and aiming weapons on the digicam, and it provides to the questions surrounding the college’s investigation of Mr. Jones within the months earlier than the taking pictures. He had left a path of warning indicators, together with a hid weapon violation and a felony cost that was pleaded right down to a misdemeanor.

Whereas the college began investigating Mr. Jones in September, after one other pupil had reported that he had talked about having a gun, officers didn’t interview him as a result of he had refused to cooperate, they mentioned. Nor did anybody from the college search his room, which might have revealed a cache of weapons and ammunition.

Mr. Jones, 23, describes within the video a number of ways in which he would kill individuals, together with taking pictures individuals at a celebration and killing one other individual “in his sleep.” Mr. Jones mentions having psychological issues and says he continuously carries a weapon, themes that echo these in songs posted on the music streaming service SoundCloud beneath his rap moniker way back to 2018.

It’s not clear whether or not the weapons had been actual or props, or whether or not Mr. Jones wrote the lyrics he rapped over two verses within the video. Neither is it clear whether or not the lyrics had been particular threats or blustery nods to the express lyrics and violent imagery generally present in common music. However the presence of the weapons within the video raises questions on whether or not the college knew, or ought to have identified, in regards to the on-line exercise of Mr. Jones because it investigated him.


One other rapper on the music, who mentioned on Fb that he had been in contact with Mr. Jones in custody, declined to remark instantly when contacted by The New York Occasions and didn’t reply to follow-up calls. The videographer who filmed the music video additionally didn’t reply to messages searching for remark.

Requested whether or not the College of Virginia was conscious of the music video, Brian Coy, a spokesman, mentioned the college “gained’t be commenting on these issues” whereas the Virginia State Police conducts a felony investigation into the taking pictures and the state legal professional common’s workplace conducts an exterior evaluate, which the college requested.

Mr. Jones had a semiautomatic rifle, a pistol, ammunition and a tool designed to extend a weapon’s fee of fireside in his dorm room on campus, in response to a police search warrant stock obtained by The Each day Progress, a neighborhood newspaper. A particular agent with the Virginia State Police executed the search warrant on Nov. 14, lower than 12 hours after the taking pictures, in response to The Each day Progress.

After white nationalists rioted in Charlottesville in 2017, the College of Virginia entered right into a contract with an organization, Social Sentinel, that tracks social media in an effort to detect threatening posts after which provides the data to the campus police, in response to The Each day Progress.

JP Guilbault, the chief government of Social Sentinel’s guardian firm, Navigate360, mentioned the corporate had not had a contract with the College of Virginia in a number of years. Mr. Guilbault mentioned the software program labored by in search of sure key phrases, together with places in public social media postings and on a faculty’s community, however provided that the menace was particular.


“If he mentioned, ‘I’m going to kill college students on the College of Virginia,’ that will have been picked up,” Mr. Guilbault mentioned. As for the college, Mr. Guilbaut mentioned, “I’d assume they nonetheless use, and have relevant processes to guage, social channels.”

On Sept. 1, the college police acquired a presentation from a consultant of Meta, titled, “Working With Meta to Improve Your Investigations.” A spokeswoman for Meta mentioned the presentation had targeted on the authorized parameters the corporate labored inside when processing regulation enforcement requests, resembling necessities for acquiring subpoenas.

Mr. Coy has mentioned that on Oct. 26, after Mr. Jones “repeatedly refused to cooperate” with the college’s investigation, a consultant for pupil affairs despatched Mr. Jones an electronic mail warning that his failure to report the hid weapon conviction can be referred to the College Judiciary Committee, the student-run physique that handles self-discipline on campus. However, for causes that stay unclear, that referral was by no means made.

Mr. Jones wouldn’t have been allowed to have firearms on campus, and ammunition is explicitly prohibited in pupil housing, in response to insurance policies listed on the college’s web site. However a number of attorneys mentioned that these insurance policies didn’t give authorities specific permission to go looking pupil rooms for prohibited objects, and {that a} search warrant would probably be wanted.

“A pupil’s dorm room is like anybody else’s house, and so they retain the identical privateness rights as a home-owner,” mentioned Steven D. Benjamin, a distinguished protection lawyer in Virginia. “No entry will be made absent emergency, consent or the execution of a search warrant.”


And he mentioned getting a warrant would have been tough on this case. “Should you took all of these objects collectively,” Mr. Benjamin mentioned, referring to the comment a couple of gun from one other pupil, the invention of Mr. Jones’s previous misdemeanor conviction and the video, “I don’t see any choose issuing a search warrant.”

Virginia’s legal professional common is bringing on a particular counsel to conduct a evaluate of the occasions that led to the taking pictures. Officers on the college have requested that the evaluate focus partly on “efforts the college undertook within the interval earlier than the tragedy to evaluate the potential menace Mr. Jones posed to our neighborhood.”

A lot of Mr. Jones’s buddies spoke about him on Fb within the days after the taking pictures, seemingly in protection of his character. Some pointed to a video interview that Mr. Jones gave whereas attending Petersburg Excessive College, the place he was acknowledged as a pupil who was excelling. Within the video, Mr. Jones mentioned, “I’m right here as a result of I like college. I like the setting of college.” He added: “Don’t give up. When issues get powerful, when issues get exhausting within the classroom, don’t ever surrender. Grind. Go exhausting.” In one other video, he sang a preferred gospel music in an auditorium after receiving some awards.

“He was simply anyone that you’d need round. Like, he was all the time simply strolling round dancing and singing. He was only a joyful individual in highschool,” mentioned Devel Browder, who went to highschool with Mr. Jones. She added, “As a result of from who we all know, Chris, it’s not like him to do that.”

Mr. Jones has been charged with three counts of second-degree homicide, two counts of malicious wounding and 5 counts of utilizing a handgun within the fee of a felony. He has not entered a plea. The lawyer representing Mr. Jones declined to remark.


D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler, all members of the college’s soccer staff, had been killed within the taking pictures on a bus that had simply returned from a category area journey to see a play in Washington. A fourth soccer participant, Michael Hollins, was shot within the again and hospitalized; in response to his father, he’s anticipated to make a full restoration. One other pupil, Marlee Morgan, was additionally injured within the assault. Mr. Jones was additionally on the journey.

Final week, Virginia canceled its soccer staff’s final sport, ending its season.

Campbell Robertson and Stephanie Saul contributed reporting, and Kirsten Noyes contributed analysis.

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Cigars, Colleges, Booze and Blitzes: Investigating the Sports Betting Boom

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So we began to dig by way of his marketing campaign contributions and located six donations, all on the identical day for the utmost quantity allowed underneath Kansas regulation, from corporations {that a} distinguished Kansas actual property developer owned. This identical actual property developer, Robb Heineman, later confirmed to The Occasions that he had pushed for the stadium provision. Thriller solved.

Our investigation of the lobbying efforts in Kansas and different states was simply one of many articles that made up the sequence.

Rebecca Ruiz performed a survey of states with authorized sports activities betting. Can prospects use bank cards to wager? The reply was sure in a majority of locations. Did regulators assessment and approve commercials? Most didn’t. Had playing corporations gotten into authorized hassle once they broke the principles? Not at all times, it turned out. State regulatory watchdogs have been inconsistent in implementing their very own requirements, and a few had little urge for food for punishing corporations that broke the regulation. Rebecca, Ken and Joe Drape explored these questions in one other article for the sequence.

In search of to indicate the potential human penalties, Rebecca and Ken additionally talked to folks in numerous components of the nation who had develop into hooked on sports activities betting after it grew to become authorized.

Our colleague Walt Bogdanich labored with a gaggle of Columbia College journalism college students to dig into offers that universities had signed with playing corporations to advertise on-line sports activities betting on their campuses, together with Michigan State College, the College of Colorado Boulder and Louisiana State College. When the colleges refused to supply granular particulars on these profitable partnerships, the reporting group used legal guidelines permitting public entry to data to request copies of college paperwork, studying for the primary time how deeply the playing corporations had burrowed into college life.


For one more article, Emily Metal targeted on one on line casino firm, Penn Leisure, and its partnership with David Portnoy, the founding father of the media firm Barstool Sports activities. Emily discovered that whilst Mr. Portnoy promoted playing to his tens of millions of followers, he hardly ever, if ever, talked about that he had beforehand gone bankrupt after racking up money owed and $30,000 in playing losses.

Emily, too, despatched a sequence of requests for public data. Among the many 1000’s of pages of paperwork she acquired have been particulars confirming how Penn executives had mentioned their deal to take over Barstool with regulators. She additionally discovered that in 12 of the 13 states the place Barstool or Penn had been licensed, Mr. Portnoy — who has a historical past of misogynist and racist conduct — wasn’t required to bear a proper licensing assessment, a course of regulators use to make sure that playing companies function with good character, honesty and integrity. He now reigns as one of many business’s loudest cheerleaders.

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Sizing Up the First ‘Normal’ School Year

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The busy vacation season is right here, and earlier than we all know it, many people might be gathering for events, visiting kinfolk and ringing within the New 12 months with mates. (Now is an effective time to refill on at-home fast exams and high-quality masks and to contemplate getting an up to date booster, for those who haven’t already.)

Colleges are additionally winding down the primary half of what, by many accounts, was the primary actually back-to-normal college yr because the starting of the coronavirus pandemic.

As we method winter break, we thought we’d check out how the college yr is unfolding throughout this stage of the pandemic. I spoke with my colleague Sarah Mervosh, who covers schooling.

What has the college yr appeared like up to now?

Masks aren’t required in an estimated 99 % of districts, based on Burbio, a faculty monitoring website. I feel by and enormous there’s a recognition in colleges that the coronavirus is right here to remain, and we’re studying to reside with it.


Final yr, we heard rather a lot about behavioral points and psychological well being points. College students have been nonetheless adjusting from the traumas and the disruptions of the pandemic and adjusting to being again within the classroom. However this yr, I’m listening to much less about that and extra concerning the urgency round serving to college students recuperate academically.

How are college students doing academically?

Throughout the pandemic, youngsters realized much less. We received a way of how severely they have been affected this fall with the outcomes of a key nationwide check, the Nationwide Evaluation of Instructional Progress, which exams fourth and eighth graders in math and studying. The outcomes have been fairly devastating.

Eighth grade math scores fell in 49 out of fifty states. Solely a couple of quarter of eighth graders have been proficient, down from a couple of third in 2019. Fourth graders fared a little bit higher: There have been declines in 41 states in math, with simply 36 % of fourth graders proficient within the topic, down from 41 % in 2019. Studying skill declined a bit much less throughout the board, however scores nonetheless fell in additional than half the states. In each fourth and eighth grade, solely about one in three youngsters have been proficient.

The stakes are excessive for teenagers as a result of establishing literacy in early elementary college is essential for his or her future success in highschool and past. Equally, it’s essential for eighth graders to be arrange for achievement as highschool freshmen, an important transition yr. And districts and colleges are on a decent timetable to make use of pandemic reduction cash to assist youngsters catch up.

How so?


There have been three rounds of pandemic reduction funding, and the final one, at $123 billion, was the federal authorities’s single largest funding in American colleges. That’s about $2,400 per scholar. No less than 20 % of the cash needs to be spent on educational restoration and must be allotted by 2024. This can be a huge yr for really spending the cash and getting the interventions that children want.

What approaches are working?

There was lots of give attention to tutoring. When completed in small teams of three to 4 college students with a educated tutor a number of instances per week throughout the college day, it may be fairly efficient. It may be much more efficient than reducing class sizes, for instance, or summer season college.

Some consultants have advocated extending the college day or yr, and many locations are doing summer season college. Nobody technique goes to be the factor that’s potent sufficient to assist youngsters recuperate.

What concerning the argument that each baby skilled the pandemic, so in the event that they’re all a little bit behind, it’d make much less of a distinction?


This can be a essential query. I can see why it’s interesting to say, “Properly, everybody was affected, so why does it actually matter? This entire cohort of youngsters is type of in the same place.” However that’s not really true.

We all know that in fourth grade math, for instance, Black, Hispanic and Native American college students misplaced extra floor than white and Asian college students. This deepened divides in outcomes, as a result of white and Asian college students have been already scoring at the next stage for a lot of causes, which embody structural societal benefits. And we’re additionally seeing a troubling drop-off among the many nation’s lowest-performing college students, notably amongst youthful college students and in studying. So it’s the very college students who have been struggling most coming into the pandemic who have been most affected, and can now want probably the most assist.

What does the long run appear to be?

The pandemic and the whole lot that got here with it disrupted youngsters’ lives in enormous methods. In order that signifies that this restoration goes to have to be long-term. I’ve talked to people who find themselves involved that sooner or later, when that is all type of within the rearview mirror, we’re going to neglect that the pandemic occurred and we’re going responsible some youngsters for being behind. Or we’re going to say, “Properly, these youngsters recovered from the pandemic simply. Why didn’t these youngsters?” It’s essential to keep in mind that some youngsters have the next mountain to climb. They’ve an extended path to restoration, and this isn’t going to be one thing that’s mounted in a single day.

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We lately requested college students how being again within the classroom felt this yr. Due to all of you who wrote in.

“It’s actually disturbing. I’m rising extra nervous, anxious and burdened continually. I sleep much less, continually worrying about the whole lot and nothing. I really feel like I’ve no leisure time, that I can’t breathe. Covid instances has made me extremely anxious, and I don’t know the right way to settle down. My thoughts is just too lively.” — Yuxuan, Paris

“The college yr began off actually robust, however round mid-September the general environment of my campus modified drastically. Everybody started to immediately droop right into a deep depressive state and fall behind of their work. Professors have been affected, too. Lots of them would come to class drained and never even remotely passionate about what they have been educating. I might hear college students discuss failing back-to-back exams and simply not caring.” — Nicholas L., Rohnert Park, Calif.

“The college yr hasn’t been fully horrible, however it hasn’t been good. I really feel like a number of college students misplaced the flexibility to socially mature, leading to a type of break up between their maturity stage and precise grade stage. I used to be within the seventh grade when the whole lot stopped so I missed a piece of center college. Returning to high school has been laborious particularly as a result of I misplaced a lot motivation and I by no means had the need to essentially get it again. My largest concern is that I received’t be ready to enter maturity as a result of there was a niche in adolescent socializing.” — Zen James, Miami

“General, I might say that I’m thrilled to be again at school and am having a enjoyable and enriching expertise. Seeing the complete faces of my lecturers and friends — and being compelled to roll off the bed as a substitute of opening a Zoom assembly on my telephone — has positively helped ideas within the classroom stick. For me, the bigger concern is the decay of my wholesome habits. Covid (and the web college) enabled me to take a seat in my room for hours on finish, virtually growing an leisure dependency. I usually scroll via my telephone or watch movies for hours, and there are various instances I look on the clock in awe at how a lot time has flown proper by me.” — Jake Glasser, Mercer Island, Wash.


“My college yr up to now has been tough. I’ve seen that I’ve distanced myself from my friends. I’m normally a hard-driven scholar with a strict schedule that I push myself to observe. Ever because the pandemic started and my college was pushed on-line, my will to stay to that schedule diminished. I’ve by no means felt burnout this manner earlier than Covid.” — Presha Kandel, Conroe, Texas



Thanks for studying. We’ll be off Friday for Thanksgiving. Keep protected this vacation, and we’ll be again Monday. — Jonathan

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