“In order to mitigate negative staffing impacts on Texas healthcare systems and EMS agencies, the state of Texas will only allow personnel deploying for this emergency response to be NON-RESIDENTS of Texas only and to have not been employed by a Texas Acute Care hospital or EMS agency within 30 days.

This is mandated from the state of Texas. All healthcare workers with applicable licensure are eligible for ANY Krucial Staffing contract opportunities that are direct agreements and not directed by entities outside of the healthcare facility,” Krucial Staffing posted on Instagram.

A quick search on several travel nurse job boards will find many job postings stating that Texas is not currently accepting nurses who are residents and who work in Texas to work for FEMA or government-funded disaster contracts. Here is one such job posting. 

We reached out to Krucial Staffing for information on the mandate and instructions on how out-of-state nurses can apply. Here is their response,

We are following the mandate from the state of Texas that those healthcare personnel Krucial Staffing recruits for deployment in Texas must be non-residents of Texas and cannot have been employed by a Texas Acute Care hospital or EMS agency within 30 days.

All healthcare workers that meet this standard and have applicable licensure are eligible for any Krucial Staffing contract opportunities that are direct agreements and not directed by entities outside of the healthcare facility.

Our mission is to help the hospitals and ultimately the individuals who are suffering in their greatest time of need. If you are interested in applying with Krucial Staffing, please go to this link. 

Details

Governor Abbott passed a mandate that prohibits Texas residents who are currently employed from working for FEMA or state-funded disaster response agencies. The problem apparently lies in this sentence from his August 9, 2021 press release announcing the actions he planned to take in response to rising COVID-19 cases: “The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will be utilizing staffing agencies to provide medical personnel from out-of-state to Texas health care facilities to assist in COVID-19 operations.”

Apparently, that little stipulation that the medical personnel is from out-of-state has resulted in current employed Texas nurses or current travelers based in Texas being unable to work government-funded disaster response contracts if they have been employed at a hospital within the state in the past 30 days.

Texas in Dire Need of Thousand of Nurses

Texas is looking to fill 6,500 healthcare positions from out-of-state or unemployed Texas nurses to help with the COVID-19 response. Texas is dealing with a record number of ICU hospitalizations from COVID-19 and thanks to a severe shortage of nurses, the state has extended its state of emergency. 

Last Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott requested help from the Texas Department of State in dealing with the surge in cases. Part of that help included funding to hire travel nurses as outlined in the document titled, “Governor Abbott’s Proactive Response To The Coronavirus Threat.”

However,

KANKAKEE — After being a state-recognized school for nearly all of its 40-year history, Kankakee Trinity Academy was moved to “unrecognized” status for not enforcing the state mask mandate, and its leaders have decided to seek accreditation elsewhere.

The private pre-K – 12 school was notified of the change in status in an Aug. 30 letter from the Illinois State Board of Education, which indicated that the school had lost access to state funding and its ability to participate in Illinois Elementary School Association and Illinois High School Association competitions.

In response, school leaders said they will not implement the mask mandate, and instead they have begun the process to gain accreditation with the Association of Christian Schools International.

Tom Brands, president of the KTA Board of Directors, said the board discussed seeking accreditation with this organization several years ago, but the move was tabled.

In light of the mask issue, that option became a more serious consideration, he said.

“We are so closely aligned with what we require, that we do not believe there will be much to this process,” Brands said. “In other words, we already have a lot of things in place that they require.”

In a letter to parents regarding the decision, the board said the school has begun the “Crosswalk to Accreditation” process and anticipates KTA will gain full accreditation with the organization by Jan. 1, 2022.

“Full accreditation with ACSI means that your child will have access to any college or university throughout the world,” the letter states.

Higher education institutions require high school diplomas from schools with official accreditation and/or state recognition.

Principal Brad Prairie added that the school has been a member of the ACSI for at least 20 years, but it has not pursued accreditation from the organization until now.

KTA was founded in 1981, and in February 1983, it was evaluated and granted full recognition status by ISBE following a visit from the state, according to the school’s website.

“It’s been a blessing for us to be recognized [by the state] for 40 years,” Prairie said. “We are appreciative of that.”

Prairie said the only state money KTA receives is Title II funding, which is designated for training teachers and principals, but the school does not rely heavily on state funds in the same way public schools do.

The letter from ISBE also indicated the school would no longer be eligible for the Children’s Tuition Fund, a tax-credit program for private schools, Prairie said.

“[State funding] is very minimal,” Brands added. “It’s not anything that impacts our decision whatsoever. The state does almost nothing for us.”

For athletics, Prairie said students will still compete against other Christian schools.

“It would involve some travel,” Prairie noted. “We would definitely be traveling more than if we were playing locally. You have northwestern Indiana schools, the suburbs of Chicago; there’s lots of directions where there’s Christian schools.”

School officials declined to comment on COVID-19 concerns or other precautions the school is taking in

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) – Malaysia plans to reopen the tourist haven of Langkawi islands as it renews efforts to rebuild parts of the economy worst hit by the pandemic.

Langkawi, in the state of Kedah, will open to locals under a travel bubble plan from Sept 16, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 2). Other destinations will be allowed to operate when the locality’s vaccination rate hits 80 per cent, he said.

Malaysia is preparing for life with Covid-19 even as daily cases remain elevated, mirroring Thailand’s tourism-reopening plan based on a pilot project in the popular resort island of Phuket.

Covid-19 will be treated as endemic and it is time for Malaysians to learn to live with the virus, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said at a briefing on Wednesday.

New infections have soared despite the containment measures, hitting a record 24,599 in a single day late last month and turning the country into South-east Asia’s Covid-19 hot spot. The nation added 20,988 cases on Thursday.

Still, the virus’ effective reproduction rate, or R-naught, has fallen below 1 nationwide for the first time in few months, Ismail Sabri said, amid an increase in vaccination.

More than 84 per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose, and 64 per cent has been fully inoculated, according to the health ministry.

Based on projected data, the average vaccination rate among adults in each state is expected to reach 80 per cent by month-end, and 100 per cent by end of October, Ismail Sabri said.

“Eventually we have to live with Covid-19 as is the case around the world,” he said.

Meantime, Melaka state will move into the second phase, and Negeri Sembilan into the third stage of the national recovery plan from Saturday after meeting the threshold limits in reducing Covid-19 infections, the prime minister said.

The decision was made by the National Security Council, which will now be renamed as the Special Committee on Pandemic Management, he said. The committee will include representatives from opposition parties as well.

Glynn Academy’s softball team has started their season on a roll under third-year coach Dawn Ketcham.

They’ve rallied off four straight wins after starting the season off with two straight losses.

“The girls are doing a great job of buying into what we have going on,” Ketcham said. “They are really coming together as a team. This year, we are a small team. We have 10 for junior varsity and 10 for varsity but everyone is working hard to get us to come together and make the varsity team better.”

For many, 10 players might seem like a struggle to get quality performances out of players.

Before COVID-19, Ketcham liked having her roster size around 11 players as she found it to be the perfect number for her. This year she has had to make do with the small roster size.

“Right now, with us having so much sickness that travels around with everybody,” Ketcham said. “The fact that we also have a few injuries that have come up, a couple of extra girls would have been great. That was just the number that we had come out, so that’s what we had to work with.”

Glynn Academy has made the most of its small roster size as the season has progressed into the last month of regular season play. Ketcham knows her players are fundamentally sound both offensively and defensively. All it took was meshing personalities and clicking as a group.

“I think we are finally getting to the point where we are seeing that click,” Ketcham said of her team. “Over the summer, nothing is mandatory it’s all optional. I understand because it’s time for families to go on vacation, it’s when they go to softball camps and travel teams finish up their seasons. It’s really hard for us in July when we need to start coming together, it’s hard for us to get everyone there. It took a minute to see how we were going to play as a team,”

“It could have taken a lot more than two games, but those first two games were kind of ugly. Once the girls realized what their roles were going to be, I think that they’ve seen what they are going to do and where they are going to be, this is what we need to make happen.”

The players have bought into their roles under Ketcham as she has her players play specific roles under her.

A few of the specific players that have seen improvement over the course of the season are ones who started the season with the junior varsity team.

“We have had a couple of players that were on the JV team to start with, and they have stepped it up,” Ketcham said. “I’m carrying them and they are playing some JV time, but they have stepped it up enough that I’m also carrying them with the varsity team. Which has helped with us having some girls that have been sick or injured, it’s

Florida has recovered more than 950,000 jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy last spring with mandatory business shutdowns that inflicted sudden but enduring damage on the Sunshine State’s $90 billion tourist/hospitality industry.

According to Florida Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, the state has come a long way since the mass furloughs and layoffs of April 2020, which temporarily cost as many as 1.3 million Floridians their jobs.

“We still have a few more (jobs to gain) to go get back to the peak of 9 million non-farm jobs” in the state, Parrish said in a recently-posted August edition of the Chamber’s Florida By the Numbers video presentation.

Get more from the Citrus County Chronicle

Citing the metrics in the Chamber’s Florida Scorecard, Parrish said about 315,800 jobs that existed before the pandemic have not, thus far, been “recovered,” even though the number of jobs available in the state now exceeds job openings prior to March 2020.

“Of the 315,800 jobs we are still trying to recover,” Parrish said, 63% – or about 194,000 jobs – are in the economy’s leisure and hospitality sector. The state has not recovered 30,000 education and health service jobs or 27,000 jobs in the trade and transportation sector, according to the Chamber.

Since January, Florida businesses have restored 264,300 jobs of the 950,000 that have been recovered since April 2020. That pace is accelerating, especially in the leisure/hospitality sector, Parrish said.

“In the last two months, there has been a recovery of nearly 140,000 jobs,” he said.

Parrish said despite the loss of more than 300,000 former jobs, Florida employers still face a “workforce crisis as we work our way back to pre-COVID numbers” because they are finding it difficult to fill new positions.

“Currently, we have 545,200 jobs looking for people, an increase from last month’s 528,300, and 530,000 people still looking for jobs – simply not enough Floridians with the proper skills to fill in the gaps,” Parrish said, citing last week’s unemployment figures posted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor that said Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.1%, more than 1.2% higher than February 2020.

Florida’s June unemployment rate was 5%, reflecting that an estimated 523,000 Floridians qualified as unemployed from a workforce of 10.398 million. That rate was 5.1% in July with 530,000 qualifying as unemployed.

State officials, repeatedly pointing to businesses struggling to find workers, in June reinstated a “work search” rule that requires people claiming unemployment benefits to apply for five jobs a week.

Gov. Ron DeSantis also suspended Florida’s participation in a federal program that offered $300 a week to unemployed people on top of the maximum $275 a week in state benefits.

The fact that “the unemployment rate is going up just means more people are looking forward jobs,” Parrish said, noting the rate “is not something to worry about” because, in the grand scheme of things, Florida is expecting 4 million new residents who will create the need to

HAHIRA – The Valwood Valiants officially kick their season off this Friday as they travel to St. Simons Island to battle their rivals, the Frederica Academy Knights.

The Valiants hope to have the same success they had last season in their season opener as they beat Georgia Christian to get the football season underway. The 1-0 marker didn’t last long due to the Knights coming in the following week to hand them their first loss.

The Valiants and Knights are well-acquainted with each other over the past four years, with some of their meetings happening in the playoffs.

The Vailants have won three of the last four games in the series with the Knights taking a road win last year at Goddard Field.

Payback could be served Friday night as the two teams square off once again.

Gearing up for his fourth season at Valwood, head coach Justin Henderson has the utmost respect for the Knights.

“It’s been a tough one the last couple years,” Henderson said. “They have done a fantastic job building their program over there and the play a good, physical brand of football. It’s always a great early season test for both programs. The last four years, one of these teams has played for the state championship.”

The Knights, coached by Brandon Derrick, are coming off of a 9-4 season and looking to repeat the same output they got from last year.

Sophomore running back Jordan Triplett, who had a field day with the Valwood defense last year, is back. Triplett scored two touchdowns and posted 167 yards of total offense against the Valiants last year.

In preparation for the Knights, Henderson knows his defense must come at the young back tougher this year.

“We have to tackle their running back Triplett, who had his way with us last year,” Henderson said. “He’s big, fast and physical, so we have to get him down on contact.”

The Valiants will have Dru Womack leading the team at the quarterback position this year as he looks to lead Valwood past the Knights this Friday.

Womack was big last year for the Valiants in the passing game as a pass-catcher. This year, he will be delivering the ball to his weapons.

Friday’s game will be the season opener for both teams and each will be looking to see what they need to fix and what they are great at to start the season.

Henderson wants his quarterback to have good day this Friday.

“I hope he leads, keeps his composure and has a good mental day,” Henderson said. “When we call on him to pass, I’d like to see him get the ball out on time and make the correct reads.”

Kickoff for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.



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Fishers Sports Academy Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Writer / Ryan Kennedy
Photographer / Eli Beaverson

Fishers Sports Academy

Five years ago, Ed Woolwine saw a need in his community and decided to address it.

“At that time five years ago, or actually even before that, I used to be the travel director for youth sports here in Fishers,” says Woolwine, an Ohio native who moved to Indiana in 1994. “It was hard for teens to find indoor practice space and training. At that time when I was the travel director, I would sublet places that had open space during the winter. I would sublet back to leagues so they could have their travel teams in there, and it was cost efficient.”

Woolwine was introduced to co-owner Kyle Bach, who he says was looking for space in the community and had interest in opening up a place of his own. The two men decided to become business partners, and opened up Fishers Sports Academy.

“It’s a baseball and softball academy, along with movement, speed and agility training,” Woolwine says. “We opened it as a community-based program. For the first two years it went well. We developed this for the need of our community – a training facility that’s in close proximity to Fishers. We went to the baseball board and we had all the travel teams come into our facility. We also tried to reach out to softball, and at first we had a few, but not many to come into Fishers Sports Academy. In recent years, people have wanted bigger and better.”

Woolwine says that over time, Fishers Sports Academy lost the travel teams it relied on for business to other, larger facilities around central Indiana.

“Then COVID happened,” he says.

Because of this, according to Woolwine, Fishers Sports Academy has not grown in the way he and Bach anticipated five years ago. While Fishers Sports Academy still trains full teams, the facility has come to rely on its personal training program.

“We do a very good job personal training – one on one training,” Woolwine says. “We have wonderful instructors. They’ve helped us sustain that market through personal relationships, strong training and development, and withstanding the competition with our staff. Personal training doesn’t leave because the place is bigger. Personal training stays from the expertise and the energy you give to a young man or young woman.”

Fishers Sports Academy

The 10 trainers on staff work with individual clients on everything from pitching and hitting to speed and agility. Each training regimen is customized specifically to address each client’s needs.

“I and my instructors evaluate them on their first session, either on hitting or pitching, and then we have a conversation even on our movement training, which is speed and agility,” Woolwine says. “Then we have a discussion with their parents on the best avenue to follow and cost associated with that.”

Woolwine says this attention to detail sets Fishers Sports Academy apart from its competition and, more importantly,

NORMAL — The Danville girls tennis team pulled off all the stops in its Big 12 Conference opener on Wednesday.

The Vikings got four singles wins and two doubles wins as they beat Normal Community 6-3.

Ava Towne, Brooklyn Behrens, Cici Brown and Reese Randle each had singles wins for Danville, while the teams of Towne and Josie Hotsinpiller and Brown and Randle each had wins in doubles.

The Vikings travel to Olney on Saturday.

Schlarman 5, Watseka 4

WATSEKA — With three singles wins and two doubles wins, the Schlarman girls tennis team defeated Watseka 5-4 on Tuesday.

Maya Jenny, Caroline Bogen and Anjoelina Anderson each won singles matches for the Hilltoppers, while Jenny and Bogen teamed up to win in doubles and Madi Watson and Lilli Perez also teamed up to win in doubles.

PREP BOYS GOLF

Schlarman, Salt Fork compete in meet

DANVILLE — Marcus Provost shot a 30 for the Hilltoppers in a rain-shortened triangular meet with St. Joseph-Ogden and Salt Fork at Danville Country Club.

Adam Watson had a 35 for Schlarman Academy, who had a total of 139, while Adam Duncan and Will Stout each had a 37.

Brock Wantland had a 32 for Salt Fork, who had a total of 141, while Sam Pearman had a 33, Hunter Wantland scored a 37 and Davis Canady carded a 39.

Jacob Kern had a 30 for St. Joseph-Ogden, who won the event with a 129.

Westville, Oakwood competes in meet

WATSEKA — The Tigers and Comets were in a triangular meet with Watseka and Milford at Shewami Golf Course on Tuesday.

Kyle McFarland had a 45 for Oakwood, who had a team score of 213, while Case Kopacz had a 48, Mason Goodner scored a 55 and Nate Stewart added a 65.

Westville had a team score of 275 and was led by Ty Williamson at 53, while Gage Hatcher had a 70, Caleb Howe had a 71 and Garyson McBride had an 81.

Watseka won the tournament with a 174 as Hagan Hoy had a 41 and Milford was second at 202 with Adin Portwood getting a 44.

PREP BOYS SOCCER

Hoopeston Area 8, Watseka 0

WATSEKA — The Hoopeston Area soccer team got the season off to the right foot on Tuesday with a 8-0 win over Watseka.

Ben Brown had three goals for the Cornjerkers, while Isaias Diaz and Talen Gredy each had two goals and and assist, Harrison Woods had a goal, Nick Hofer had two assists, Kamerin Cade had one assist and Owen Root had an assist, along with two saves in goal.

The Cornjerkers will have their first home match of the season today against Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Westville.

Oakwood/SF 5, Schlarman 1

OAKWOOD — The Oakwood/Salt Fork soccer team picked up its first win of the season with a 5-1 win over Schlarman Academy on Tuesday.

Reef Pacot had two goals and a assist for the Comets, while Macen Phillpis had a goal and and a assist, Carlie Thompson had

BLUE BELL/POTTSTOWN — Once their feet were planted firmly back on the ground after having reached a comfortable cruising altitude of about 1,300 feet, twin brother and sister Zoe and Zaire Gryga, of Norristown, shared their thoughts on their first time ever flying in an airplane.

“It was awesome,” said Zoe. “I want to go again. The turns made me nervous. I thought I was going to fall out.”

“It was cool,” said Zaire. “My favorite part was when the pilot went up and down.”

The two rising sixth-graders at Eisenhower Middle School in Norristown were among a group of 31 children who took flights inside a single-engine airplane flown by pilots from the EAA Chapter 1250 at KPTW – Heritage Field Airport in Pottstown on July 29.

Campers also learned about aviation and aircraft by talking to pilots and aircraft owners. The trip was organized as part of Janet’s Planet STEAM/Astronaut Academy Summer Camp hosted by Montgomery County Community College.

MCCC’s Cultural Affairs Department hosted Janet’s Planet during the weeks of July 19-23 and July 26-30 for youth ages 7-14. Each day, the campers experienced a new mission with expert guests from the scientific community, conducted experiments and learned about science and space.

MCCC collaborates with Janet Ivey to bring these educational, enriching summer camps to the community’s youth. Janet’s Planet presentations have been a favorite of Montgomery County Community College’s Young Arts Explorer Series  for numerous years as part of the Lively Arts Series.

Ivey, an award-winning science educator, is the creator and CEO of Janet’s Planet, a dynamic series that focuses on science, space, history and exploration. The series, which aired on 140+ public television stations nationwide, has won 12 Regional Emmys and five Gracie awards. She also serves as the president of Explore Mars, is an active NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador and serves on the Board of Governors for the National Space Society.

Ivey said she’s always amazed at how much campers know about space exploration and science at the beginning of each camp but the focus is on educating children to be the best version of themselves.

“The best kind of astronauts are kind and compassionate,” she said. “And goodness and compassion is what makes people great.”

Iain Campbell, program coordinator for MCCC’s Cultural Affairs, praised Ivey’s connections to the NASA community, by having astronauts and related guests talk to campers virtually.

“Space has so many possibilities and it’s what engages kids’ imaginations,” said Campbell. “They talk about this being a STEM camp, science, technology, engineering and math, and it’s all of those things. But it’s also imagination. And getting that collective want to do something. She’s really great at tapping into that. It’s a lot of hands-on activities and what educators would call active learning.”

Children who attend the Janet’s Planet Astronaut Academy have the opportunity each year to visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., for a weeklong experience there. Former campers-turned-volunteers Alexander Kreitz, 15, of

School is back in session, but for some families that might look different as Colorado enters a new stage of the pandemic.

On July 3, Gov. Jared Polis’ office celebrated a milestone in Colorado’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic as the state met President Joe Biden’s July 4 deadline for 70% of the state’s population to be inoculated with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.


Colorado hits President Biden’s 70% vaccination goal

Still, that announcement came as cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant have exploded in Colorado in recent weeks, becoming the dominant variant of the virus throughout the state. In El Paso County, Delta variant cases have exploded from around 34 in mid-June to 246 as of July 5.


El Paso County again a hot spot for new COVID variant of concern

Persisting concerns over the pandemic, ranging from trouble accessing vaccines to fears over contracting the virus, are among the reasons families want their students to continue learning from home, district officials said.

But for some families, the decision to stay home goes beyond the pandemic, Harrison District 2 spokeswoman Christine O’Brien said, because the remote learning model just works better for them.

That includes students who travel frequently or who use certain learning accommodations, as well as those who juggle jobs and athletics. Families have also cited being able to access their students’ education from anywhere as a reason for wanting to stick to remote learning, because that accessibility allowed students to travel back and forth between family members that were out of town as they needed to. The issue is a prevalent one for districts in and around Colorado Springs. In Colorado Springs District 11, around one in four families said they’d rather stick to online learning if given a choice.

After District 2 officials polled families in January, O’Brien estimated that between 1,000-1,200 families were interested in forgoing in-person learning in favor of online options.

But in several districts in the Pikes Peak region, students that want to stay at home are being funneled into new online schools, like District 2’s Aspire Online Academy, which is opening for the upcoming fall semester.


New multi-district online school to open in Harrison School District 2

“The online academy’s response — our district’s whole response — is that it’s another option in order to support diversity and variety in learning styles,” Aspire Online Academy principal Talya Young said. “So our goal is to provide an opportunity — that is, to have another choice.”

For now, many of these online schools have set up shop in temporary homes, like Aspire Online Academy, which will headquarter elementary school teachers in Centennial Elementary School and junior high teachers in Pikes Peak Elementary.

That’s just a temporary measure for the 2021-2022 school year, Young said. After that, districts have planned for online schools to be housed in brick-and-mortar schools.

In Colorado Springs District 11, that plan for traditional buildings for online schools is a part of the district’s master plan