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5 Things To Know: Group 4 To Become Eligible for Vaccine in North Carolina

…and four more stories from March 7-13, 2021

vaccine in North Carolina
Thomas Anderton Jr. gets vaccinated at a recent mass vaccination held by Atrium Health at Bank of America Stadium. (Photo by Dan Fogleman/Atrium Health)

Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday that some members of Group 4 will become eligible for vaccines in North Carolina on Wednesday, March 17, rather than March 24 as originally scheduled. According to Cooper’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan, Group 4 consists of people at high risk of becoming seriously ill from the COVID-19 virus, among others.

The group includes people with asthma, cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, neurological conditions such as dementia and Down syndrome, people in immunocompromised states and others. It also includes smokers both current and former, defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. Find a more comprehensive list here

Also eligible for a vaccine in North Carolina as part of Group 4 are people living in congregate settings such as prisons, jails and homeless shelters that may put them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Essential workers included in Group 4 who did not qualify as frontline essential workers included in Group 3 will be eligible for a vaccine in North Carolina on April 7.

Members of Group 4 will be able to get a vaccine in North Carolina next week. Photographed:  Casandra Newkirk, Ph.D, gets her vaccine at BofA Stadium. (Photo by Dan Fogleman/Atrium Health)

Vaccines are currently being offered at Bojangles through a partnership between Mecklenburg County and StarMed, as well as through private health-care providers, various mass vaccination sites as well as at participating Walgreens. Also, beginning today, CVS has joined the vaccine game in North Carolina. 

According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), as of Thursday at midnight, the state had administered 3,162,635 total vaccination doses to residents, an increase of 655,299 since the same time last week. According to the NCDHHS Dashboard, 18.6% of the North Carolina population has been at least partially vaccinated and 11.5% has been fully vaccinated. In Mecklenburg County, 148,496 people (13.4%) have been at least partially vaccinated while 88,401 (8%) have been fully vaccinated. 

Gov. Cooper To Sign Bipartisan Bill to Reopen Schools

At a separate press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Cooper announced he will sign the Reopen Our Schools Act into law, ordering all public schools to reopen in full by early April. The legislation requires all elementary school students to operate under Plan A, or full in-person learning, while middle and high schools will have the option to operate under Plan A or Plan B, a hybrid of virtual and in-person learning. 

Gov. Roy Cooper announces he will sign the Reopen Our Schools Act. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Cooper’s Office)

“Getting students safely back into classrooms must be our shared priority. Today I announced an agreement with education, health and legislative leaders that will return schools to in-person learning while retaining our ability to protect students and educators in an emergency,” Cooper wrote in a statement on Wednesday. 

As part of a compromise agreement that saved the bill from a veto, Cooper reserves the authority to order a closure, restriction or reduction of operations within schools but can only do so on a district-by-district basis. According to plans already in place before Cooper’s announcement, all K-5 and K-8 schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will return to in-person learning four days a week starting March 22 until the end of the school year on May 11. Wednesdays will be reserved for remote-learning.

Waxhaw Elementary Assignment Leads to #SlaveryForLife Tweets

An incident in Union County has led one misguided teacher to surely wish that schools had never reopened there in the first place. Parents and social media users alike were outraged this week after word spread about a history assignment for students at Waxhaw Elementary School that assigned fourth graders to certain historical figures from North Carolina, including Confederates from the Civil War, then create “tweets” on paper supporting a perspective from said historical figure.  

Not surprisingly, this did not end well, as one of the sides in the Civil War was, after all, in support of slavery. Top choices from the students’ hypothetical tweets were placed on the wall in a hallway for all students to see, and none of those choices were anti-slavery; one even included the hashtag #SlaveryForLife. School leaders apparently still didn’t see an issue with this, as they posted a picture of the wall on the school’s Facebook page (the post has since been deleted), and that’s when parents and others voiced their concern. 

Waxhaw Elementary School principal Yubely Zolke sent out the following statement to parents after the controversy spread online: “I understand you have questions regarding the activity our fourth-grade students participated in when they were studying the unit, North Carolina History: Statehood and the Civil War. In this activity, students learned about key people, significant events and the causes of the Civil War. Most events and people discussed within this unit related directly back to North Carolina, although students learned about some events that affected our country as a whole.

“Students completed a variety of activities that included analyzing primary sources and ‘tweeting’ from the perspective of a key historical figure. Many of the comments were offensive to our parents and members of our community and for that, I apologize. I am taking this matter very seriously and it is being addressed. The Twitter Wall has been removed and I plan to address this matter with our faculty. Again, I am deeply sorry for how this instructional activity resulted in a negative perception about our school.”

Man Arrested After Woman Escapes Kidnapping Attempt

Police have arrested a 19-year-old man after they say he tried to kidnap a woman in an Uptown parking garage early Thursday morning. According to a CMPD report, the woman, who is in her 20s, was walking to her car in the Museum Tower parking garage near the intersection of West 1st and West Stonewall streets when a masked suspect approached her, held a knife to her throat, blindfolded her and bound her hands behind her back with rope.  The victim was somehow able to free herself and call 911.

Officers located the 19-year-old suspect a few blocks away by utilizing the Real-Time Crime Center, and police say he was still in possession of the knife and ligature used in the kidnapping.  The suspect, whose record shows no previous arrests in Mecklenburg County, was arrested on scene, interviewed by detectives and has since been charged with attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree kidnapping and communicating threats.

Applications Open for Minority-Owned Business Growth Program

The City of Charlotte, in partnership with AvidXchange, is accepting applications to join the fourth AMP Up cohort, a business growth education program that helps small-business owners increase their revenues, create jobs, and positively impact their community.

Program participants complete Interise’s award-winning and internationally recognized StreetWise ‘MBA’ curriculum and learn how to scale up their business model. The curriculum includes business development, mentoring, targeted training, and access to large corporations for contract and procurement opportunities. AvidXchange will partner with the city to lead seminars as part of the curriculum, sharing first-hand experiences and insights to help participants realize long-term success as entrepreneurs. At the conclusion of the program, business owners will know how to create and manage a customized, three-year strategic growth plan.

Based on 2019 data collected by Interise, business owners who graduated from the program have reported 21% revenue growth and garnered $526 million in government contracting. 

Applications are open until April 30. Program eligibility requirements include: ethnic minority business owner with 51% or greater ownership of the business, a minimum of $175,000 in annual gross revenues, employ one other worker beside the business owner or owners, and been in business for at least two years. The city will provide more information about the program at an open house session on April 13. Interested business owners can register for one of the open house sessions or apply for the program by visiting the AMP Up website.

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