Your local health and human services news is made possible with support from: Tagged: andrew cuomo, Coronavirus, COVID-19, mask mandate, tompkins county, vaccination TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the end of New York’s mask mandate, beginning on Wednesday, May 19. The move follows last week’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control that masks and social distancing are no longer necessary indoors and outdoors for people who are fully vaccinated. The CDC’s guidance last week has led several states to announce the end of their various mask mandates, though there were several caveats to the initial guidance—one of which was that local and state mask mandates still applied. Cuomo had declined to end the mask mandate last week, though pressure had mounted over the weekend from county executives statewide eager for the economy to continue to reopen. Like the CDC, New York State’s guidance still says that unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks for the protection of others. Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at [email protected] More by Matt Butler Matt Butler In New York, Cuomo’s office said that there would still be mask mandates and social distancing requirements in place at the following locations: “Pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings will continue to follow State’s existing COVID-19 health guidelines until more New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.”Tompkins County, where masks have been a relatively quiet issue since the beginning of the pandemic, will also follow the lead of Cuomo and the CDC. “Tompkins County will follow New York’s guidance for mask wearing and social distancing,” said Tompkins County Director of Communications Dominick Recckio. “We will be updating the Health Department’s website and sharing the new guidance with the community on Wednesday when it goes into effect.”In terms of tangible change, it may be difficult to assess exactly how much Cuomo’s announcement will change mask usage, particularly considering a crucial piece of information in the state’s press release on the announcement: “Department of Health strongly recommends masks in indoor settings where vaccination status of individuals is unknown. Mask requirements by businesses must adhere to all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.”More details are available at this link for what Cuomo’s announcement applies to, particularly large and small events, and it’s likely the local impacts will be even further clarified on Wednesday when the Tompkins County Health Department’s guidance is posted.
Gavel GamutBy Jim Redwine(Week of 06 June 2016)FURTHER UP THE LAW’S BEANSTALKBefore we take another rung up the ladder of the law’s litigiousness I’d like to reflect on the proximity of Memorial Day and D-Day. I know we honor all of our deceased on Memorial Day and acknowledge the beginning of the end of WWII on D-Day. However, it seems appropriate that these solemn celebrations are only a week apart. Our Pantheon of loved ones and heroes includes family, friends, saviors and unknowns. As we remember and honor them we affirm our own worth.So far we have discussed ways to completely avoid the legal system. If possible, this is always best. Unfortunately life often places such decisions beyond our control. That’s why systems of law were initiated. No rational person would choose even the simplest legal proceeding over a fair resolution of a dispute without resort to court. But just as sure as youth will fade, life has a way of demanding we sometimes pay tribute to Caesar, or at least to our lawyer. When the once avoidable controversy becomes “un”, that is, after we have ignored a problem as long as we can, is all out legal conflict our only option? No.Let’s assume the highly unlikely possibility you actually read this column last week. If so, you may recall I suggested attempting to resolve legal problems by first informally talking about them with those who are of the opinion you may be wrong. In other words, no attorneys and certainly no judges should be consulted before a good faith attempt is made to swallow one’s pride and save one’s time and money. However, this may not work.A reasonable next step is to consult a trusted clergy person or mutual friend. Then perhaps one might consult their family attorney who could give objective advice on whether a letter will suffice or if a lawsuit is necessary.After all good faith effort has been expended to avoid the angry bowels of the courthouse, all is still not lost. Upon filing suit and the receipt of a response from one’s adversary a judge may order informal, face-to-face meetings where settlement is discussed. If no resolution is reached, early mediation before a trained mediator often helps parties settle their difficulties.Almost every legal controversy in America is settled by the end of mediation. Therefore, the earlier problems are addressed the more money and time are saved and the less angst is endured.You might wonder about cases that are settled but which have problems afterwards. Child custody cases are the most frequent to fall in this category but many other cases have on-going agreements which may need maintenance. Such matters as business relationships or injunctions come to mind.Once again, instead of a first response of resort to court, an informal attempt to talk the matters out may work best for everyone. Of course, the courtroom will always be available if good faith and reason fail.– 30 –FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
The State University System of Florida is asking a Leon County circuit judge to throw out a potential class-action lawsuit in which students are asking for partial refunds of fees they paid for the spring semester.Their lawsuit, which was filed in May, results from the public universities shutting down their campuses and shifting to online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.In the complaint, the plaintiffs argue that they should receive partial refunds of expenses including activities fees, athletics fees and transportation fees.However, in a motion to dismiss the case which was filed last week, attorneys for the university system’s Board of Governors argued that the system’s fee structure is established in state law.“Importantly, nowhere in the fees rubric established by the Legislature is there any provision that sets out a prorated refund of fees if an enrolled student contends they have not used a particular service or engaged in a particular activity because they are not physically on campus,” the motion says.The Board is currently considering approval of the State University System of Florida Blueprint for Reopening Campuses. Tune in to listen live via https://t.co/fh22c7KQqM or visit our website for more information. https://t.co/cyLInYWRmR— Board of Governors (@FLBOG) May 28, 2020 It continues, “Student fees are used for the benefit of all students throughout a particular institution. In addition to being totally unworkable, it would defeat the statutory framework … if students could select which fees they want to pay based on which facilities, activities or services they may or may not use during their enrollment at a university.”The lawsuit is one of several cases filed here and in other states seeking refunds for students.The named plaintiffs in this case are University of Florida graduate student Anthony Rojas, Florida Atlantic University undergraduate Amanda Heine and Florida Atlantic graduate student Jordan Sperling.“FBOG’s (the Florida Board of Governors’) decision to transition to online classes and to request or encourage students to leave campus were responsible decisions to make, but it is unfair and unlawful for FBOG to retain fees and to pass the losses on to the students and their families,” the lawsuit adds.