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Hale County Animal Shelter
Pet of the Week
Lulu is a 2-3 year old, female Staffordshire Terrier/Boxer mix who is very reserved and submissive. Lulu has a rather severe underbite but it doesn’t impact her ability to eat and drink, does okay with other dogs that are calm and laid back, and will be fearful of younger, high energy dogs. Lulu is not cat friendly but she is very laid back and would do best in a home with no children/ limited excitement and noise. This sweet girl is available now and the shelter is open Sat. 10 a.m-2 p.m and Mon. 10 a.m-12 p.m. Submitted by Bryanne Oaks

Alabama Summter Learning Challenge
The traditional school year is about to end as our nation continues to adjust to COVID-19. Online resources, technology, and distance learning opportunities are providing American families options to expand their children’s learning opportunities. Keeping students engaged during the summer months is vital – they must have access to fun learning resources that inspire them. Now for an exciting eighth year, the Alabama State Department of Education has partnered with some of the country’s leading education organizations to “minimize the summer learning slide.” The 2020 Alabama Summer Learning Challenge is being held May 18 until July 31. See the official Alabama Summer Learning Challenge webpage at: https://www.alsde.edu/sec/comm/Pages/summer-learning.aspx Alabama parents now have access to many online resources, which can help continue student learning and skill building in reading, math, and science! These resources are easy-to-access and will encourage K-12 students throughout the summer, while they are away from the classroom: The Lexile-based “Find a Book, Alabama” tool (www.Lexile.com/fab/Alabama) offers students over 260,000 books to choose from. This book-search tool allows students and parents to build custom reading lists based on the student’s Lexile range and personal interests. Students can also pledge to read this summer by using the “Find a Book, Alabama” tool. The Summer Learning Challenge also includes a fantastic online math skill builder to help remedy the summer math slide. MetaMetrics is offering the FREE Summer Math Challenge, a math maintenance program based on student grade-level standards. This program is focused on students who have just completed first through eighth grades. It is designed to help them retain theclassroom skills learned during the previous school year. Visit https://www.guantiles.com/parents-students/find-math-resources-to-support­classroom-learninq/summer-math-challenqe/ to register! This summer, Stride by Fuel Education is FREE to all students in the state from May 1 to July 31. Prevent “summer slide” with this cool blend of online math, reading, language arts, and science skills practice, spectacular video games for every student interest, and peer competitions to pass the summer days. Students and parents may access this learning platform anytime (24-7) on tablets and PCs. Register and login at https://www.fueleducation.com/alsummerlearning. Big Universe by Fuel Education allows students to access 18,000+ eBooks and essential literacy tools, from any smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other computer. Its powerful search functions help identify eBooks by genre, grade level and other filters. Big Universe will be FREE to all students in Alabama today until July 31. Register at https://www.fueleducation.com/alsummerlearning. Additional learning resources are also being offered for students to participate in this summer: https://www.alsde.edu/sec/comm/Related%20Documents/More%20Summer’%20Learninq%20Resources.pdf Alabama Public Television (APT) is allowing students to discover their full potential through its Learn at Home educational program – https://apt2.orq/education/. Parents can also make learning fun this summer for students by utilizing the great opportunities and events at Alabama’s local libraries. See the great information at http://www.publiclibraries.com/alabama.htm.
Young Lawyers Offer Free COVID-19 Legal Assistance
The Young Lawyers’ Section of the Alabama State Bar (ASB) in partnership with the ASB Volunteer Lawyers Program has launched a free legal assistance hotline for individuals and families throughout Alabama who are confronted with legal problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. People may call the hotline at 334-517-2250 any time. When connected to the hotline, callers should leave a voice mail message providing brief details about the type of assistance needed due to COVID-19, the county they are calling from along with contact information to receive a return call. Individuals will be matched with Alabama lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal advice or assistance. The types of legal advice or assistance available include: Assistance with securing government benefits; Assistance in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures; Counseling on mortgage-foreclosure problems; and Counseling on landlord-tenant problems. Callers should be aware that there are limitations on legal services. The Alabama Young Lawyers’ Section volunteers are primarily offering legal advice. If additional services are needed, callers may be directed to the Volunteer Lawyers Program or Legal Services Alabama. More information about pandemic-related legal resources can be found at www.alabar.org/covid19/.
Black Belt Community Foundation Counterbalance to COVID: Help Artists and Spread Joy
Through support from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and a national donor, the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) has been funded to create two new grant application opportunities to help individual artists and arts organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis across BBCF’s 12 county service area of the Alabama Black Belt. BBCF’s “Artist Relief Fund” allows individual, professional working artists (age 18 and older) who are having trouble meeting their basic needs to apply for up to $575 in a one-time grant. The second grant application announced is BBCF’s “Black Belt Joy” grant whereby arts organizations can receive up to $1,000 each by sharing creative ways to spread joy across the Black Belt through the arts. This special grants process also includes a video application option. In addition, BBCF will be offering extension support to arts grantees already funded in the last 2019 Arts Grants cycle. This support helps arts projects already underway to continue operations during this crucial time where all cultural activity has been critically impacted or, in many cases, grounded to a complete halt. How to apply? Applications are available online at the BBCF website. These can be filled out and submitted in real-time on the website (www.blackbeltfound.org). There are two different applications available. All of the requirements and rules for the grant applications are outlined there. How to Connect in this Crisis? How to Help?- If you are an organization or someone that is actively working in the community looking to join forces for greater outreach, BBCF wants to hear from you. E-mail BBCF at info@blackbeltfound.org. Individual donors can immediately contribute to the COVID-19 Relief Fund here: http://www.blackbeltfound.org.
UWA Announces Free Online ACT prep sessions
The University of West Alabama is extending a helping hand to high school students preparing to take the ACT soon through a series of help sessions that will be offered online as webinars with no cost to the student. Three sessions are scheduled already, and more support resources are expected to be developed. The first in the series, “The ACT – What is it?” is set for May 26 at 6 p.m. The session will offer students and parents basic information on the ACT, a standardized test used for determining college admissions. Participants will learn how and when to register for the ACT as well as the structure of the test and its importance. The second in the series, “The ACT – How to Prepare,” is set for June 2 at 6 p.m. The session will offer students and parents information on other free ACT prep resources, study tips, and best practices on increased performance that leads to higher scores. The third in the series, “ACT Boot Camp,” is set for June 8 at 6 p.m. This all-inclusive session is a one-hour crash course that explains the structure of the ACT, many ways to prepare, and practice questions as examples. At UWA, unconditional admission begins at a score of 19 or higher on the ACT and a 2.0 GPA. Conditional admission begins at a 17 and a 2.0 or better GPA. For more information on UWA, including admission requirements, or to know more about ACT Prep webinars, contact UWA Admissions at admissions@uwa.edu or 1-800-621-8044. To register for the webinars, visit www.uwa.edu/actprep. Students may sign up for any or all of the sessions and explore available ACT resources.
Shelton State Community College’s Adult Education Online Programs
At no cost, students can join a digital literacy class to prepare for college and the workplace. With only six hours of study per week required, this desktop, laptop, and tablet-friendly instruction offers online tutoring and is SNAP and A-RESET approved. Completion of the course earns the student a Shelton State Digital Literacy Certificate and up to twelve Northstar Digital Literacy Certificates. (Northstar Digital Literacy Certificates include standards for essential computer skills, essential software skills, and essential technology skills.) Digital literacy courses run in cycles, and the next cycle begins May 26. Students may also register for a workplace success class focused specifically on preparation for commercial driving. With only nine hours of study per week required, this desktop, laptop, and tablet friendly instruction also offers tutoring and is SNAP and A-RESET approved. Additionally, costs are covered for the Department of Transportation’s physical exam along with the student’s motor vehicle record, permit testing, and ID. Workplace success courses for pre-CDL run in cycles, and the next cycle begins June 1. In addition to digital literacy and workplace skills, classes are ongoing for GED preparation and English as a second language (ESL). The GED course of study is free and designed specifically to prepare adult learners to pass the GED test and earn their high school equivalency diploma. The GED test covers the following four subject areas: language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics. Students in ESL courses will improve English skills through real life situations, civics lessons, and an integrated education and training curriculum. ESL classes are available at no cost to the student and provide instruction in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English. Classes are available now. For more information on Shelton State Adult Education and to register, contact Kristen Bobo at 205.391.2638 or kbobo@sheltonstate.edu.

Dr. Steven Jones from the University of Alabama is conducting a study called “Travel Impacts of the COVID-19 response in Alabama”.  The goal is to learn how travel was impacted so that transportation organizations can be better prepared for future emergency situations. The survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this research study is completely voluntary. You must be at least 18 years of age to participate in the study. All information you provide will be anonymous and will remain confidential. In order to participate in the survey please click the link below:

Please help us learn how the shelter-in-place order due to the COVID-19 situation affected how you travel.  Dr. Steven Jones from the University of Alabama is conducting a study called “Travel Impacts of the COVID-19 response in Alabama”.  The goal is to learn how travel was impacted so that transportation organizations can be better prepared for future emergency situations. The survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this research study is completely voluntary. You must be at least 18 years of age to participate in the study. All information you provide will be anonymous and will remain confidential. In order to participate in the survey please click the link below:

https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5dsRKTZ8O8rDlHL

SSCC Offers Free Online Tutorials for Workplace Skills
Now through June 30, 2020, Shelton State Community College is offering ten FREE self-paced tutorials in conjunction with the ed2go online platform. As a response to the impact of COVID-19, these tutorials are available to the public at no charge. The free, self-paced system of tutorials includes a mix of hard and soft skills that apply to today’s changing job market. “We believe that having the right skills and knowing how to utilize them is vital for both job seekers and those currently employed,” states Rachel Waldrop, Continuing/Community Education Specialist at Shelton State. “We recognize that these are challenging times, and we want to do what we can to help our community members adjust to what is happening around us.” A large selection of topics are available. Subject areas include accounting, real estate, medical coding, grant writing, website creation, computer skills, and many more. To select and register for one of the available free courses, visit sheltonstate.edu/ed2go.


Red Cross
Heroes of all blood types, especially type O, are urgently needed to provide hope and help for patients across the country. Make an appointment now by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.


USDA Announces Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $900,000 for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The cooperative agreements will support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. The agreements are offered through USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.
USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight June 26, 2020. Projects should span two years with a start date of October 1, 2020 and completion date of September 29, 2022. Cooperative agreements support projects led by local governments that: 1) generate compost; 2) increase access to compost for agricultural producers; 3) reduce reliance on, and limit the use of, fertilizer; 4) improve soil quality; 5) encourage waste management and permaculture business development; 6) increase rainwater absorption; 7) reduce municipal food waste; and 8) divert food waste from landfills. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide assistance for conservation related activities.
Priority will be given to projects that anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits; incorporate plans to make compost easily accessible to farmers, including community gardeners; integrate other food waste strategies, including food recovery efforts; and collaborate with multiple partners.
USDA Offers Farm Loans for Farmers Facing Covid-19 Related Challenges
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers that FSA offers farm ownership and farm operating loans to agricultural producers who may not find success obtaining loans from their traditional financial institutions because of COVID-19. Farmers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank can apply for FSA direct or guaranteed loans.
USDA offers a variety of loans to meet different production needs. Direct loans are made to applicants by FSA. Guaranteed loans are made by lending institutions who arrange for FSA to guarantee the loan. FSA can guarantee up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. The FSA guarantee allows lenders to make agricultural credit available to producers who do not meet the lender’s normal underwriting criteria.
The direct and guaranteed loan program offers two types of loans: farm ownership loans and farm operating loans.
Farm ownership loan funds may be used to purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch; purchase easements or rights of way needed in the farm’s operation; build or improve buildings such as a dwelling or barn; promote soil and water conservation and development; and pay closing costs.
Farm operating loan funds may be used to purchase livestock, poultry, farm equipment, fertilizer, and other materials necessary to operate a farm. Operating loan funds can also be used for family living expenses; refinancing debts under certain conditions; paying salaries for hired farm laborers; installing or improving water systems for home, livestock or irrigation use; and other similar improvements.
Repayment terms for direct operating loans are scheduled from one to seven years. Financing for direct farm ownership loans cannot exceed 40 years. Interest rates for direct loans are set periodically according to the government’s cost of borrowing. Guaranteed loan terms and interest rates are set by the lender.
For more information on FSA’s farm loan programs, please contact your local FSA office or visit farmers.gov.


USDA Offers Farm Loans for Farmers Facing Covid-19 Related Challenges
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers that FSA offers farm ownership and farm operating loans to agricultural producers who may not find success obtaining loans from their traditional financial institutions because of COVID-19. Farmers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank can apply for FSA direct or guaranteed loans.
USDA offers a variety of loans to meet different production needs. Direct loans are made to applicants by FSA. Guaranteed loans are made by lending institutions who arrange for FSA to guarantee the loan. FSA can guarantee up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. The FSA guarantee allows lenders to make agricultural credit available to producers who do not meet the lender’s normal underwriting criteria.
The direct and guaranteed loan program offers two types of loans: farm ownership loans and farm operating loans.
Farm ownership loan funds may be used to purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch; purchase easements or rights of way needed in the farm’s operation; build or improve buildings such as a dwelling or barn; promote soil and water conservation and development; and pay closing costs.
Farm operating loan funds may be used to purchase livestock, poultry, farm equipment, fertilizer, and other materials necessary to operate a farm. Operating loan funds can also be used for family living expenses; refinancing debts under certain conditions; paying salaries for hired farm laborers; installing or improving water systems for home, livestock or irrigation use; and other similar improvements.
Repayment terms for direct operating loans are scheduled from one to seven years. Financing for direct farm ownership loans cannot exceed 40 years. Interest rates for direct loans are set periodically according to the government’s cost of borrowing. Guaranteed loan terms and interest rates are set by the lender. For more information on FSA’s farm loan programs, please contact your local FSA office or visit farmers.gov.

UA OLLI Provides Free Online Educational Opportunities for Adults
n response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The University of Alabama’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is offering free online educational opportunities for adults throughout May. While in-person lectures are suspended until further notice, OLLI instructors will use Zoom to provide online courses at no cost. OLLI courses are developed by a curriculum committee that looks for topics that are timely, newsworthy and of interest. Once identified, educators, professionals and experts are selected for instruction. Upcoming online course topics range from coronavirus, cybersecurity, nature and history, among others. A complete list of online courses and registration instructions can be found at www.olli.ua.edu/news-and-events.

Older Americans Month 2020: Make Your Mark
Around the nation, older adults make their marks every day as volunteers, employees, employers, parents, grandparents, mentors, and advocates. They offer their time, talents, and experience to the benefit of our communities. For 57 years, Older Americans Month (OAM) has been a special time to recognize these contributions. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) each May, OAM also provides resources to help older Americans stay healthy and independent, and materials to help communities support and celebrate their citizens. This year’s OAM theme, Make Your Mark, highlights older adults’ unique and lasting contributions to their communities—everything from sharing a story with grandchildren to leaving a legacy of community action. In the spirit of this theme, here are a few ways to make your mark this May and all year long: Volunteer your time. Local non-profits, shelters, food kitchens, and hospitals always need support. Help a neighbor by prepping a meal, picking up groceries, or giving them a ride. Even during this time of social distancing, there are ways to get involved. Share your story. There are so many ways to do this, from talking to your grandkids by phone or facetime, to writing a book. Take an online class and learn how to express yourself with the arts! Or, assemble a photo album of important moments in your life. Get involved in your neighborhood. Organize a virtual book club or other on-line social group. Have a green thumb? Small projects like planting flowers in your yard or cleaning up the community park have a big impact. Communities that support and include all their members are stronger! Please join the Alabama Tombigbee Area Agency on Aging in strengthening our community – follow us on Facebook for more ways to Make Your Mark during Older Americans Month.
Mental Health Month
This May is Mental Health Month and the Alabama Department of Mental Health is highlighting #Tools2Thrive – what individuals can do daily to prioritize their mental health, build resiliency in the face of trauma and obstacles, support those who are struggling, and work towards a path of recovery. Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. This May, we are also exploring topics that can help you build your own set of #Tools2Thrive – recognizing and owning your feelings; finding the positive after loss; connecting with others; eliminating toxic influences; creating healthy routines; and supporting others – all as ways to boost the mental health and general wellness of you and your loved ones. For each of us, the tools we use to keep us mentally healthy will be unique. The Alabama Department of Mental Health would like all to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. Gradually making small changes and building on those successes can be achieved. By developing #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, and physical health and mental health – and set yourself on the path to recovery. Also, May 11-15 is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, emphasizing the importance of an integrated approach to caring for the mental health needs of children, youth, and young adults who have experienced trauma, as well as their families. Wings Across Alabama selected the artist, an individual served at East Alabama Mental Health Center. This year’s theme is “Bringing Children’s Mental Health into Focus Perfect Vision in 2020.”
Red Cross
Heroes of all blood types, especially type O, are urgently needed to provide hope and help for patients across the country. Make an appointment now by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Tuscaloosa: 5/22: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., University Mall, 1701 East McFarland Blvd.
Hale County Chamber Offers Small Businesses Virtual Support Program to Address Pandemic Impact
As part of an effort to support area businesses, the Hale County Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the University of West Alabama (UWA) and CO.STARTERS, is presenting the REBUILD program. The program is a 10-week facilitated support group that helps business owners build plans for long-term recovery resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Online weekly sessions begin Thursday, May 14th at 3PM. Through the collaboration the cost of the REBUILD program, which is valued at more than $550, is being offered to local businesses at a discounted price . To make the program accessible to anyone, a limited number of full scholarships are available for businesses severely impacted by the pandemic, to cover the entire costs of the program. Registration is open now and will be capped at 20 people per group. To register for the REBUILD program, go to: https://costarters-rebuild.dreamseedo.org/f/3751268665. For more information on REFOCUS go to: https://costarters.co/opportunity/refocus-workshop/2020-05-07/ The Chamber may be reached at (334) 352-9080 or @halecountychamber on Facebook.

AlabamaWorks Replaces Alabama JobLink as State’s Free Online Jobs Database
The Alabama Department of Labor would like to announce the launch of AlabamaWorks.alabama.gov, the new free online jobs database that is replacing Alabama JobLink. The Alabama Career Center System is ready to implement the services of this new database. For years, Alabama JobLink has served Alabama employers and jobseekers. AlabamaWorks offers the same great services plus some new, innovative services. There will be a mobile application that will allow account management from any mobile device. The AlabamaWorks app can be found on iPhone and Android app stores: Apple store ALAWorks – no space; Google play ALA Works – with space. For existing JobLink registrants (employers and job seekers): Usernames will remain same; you will receive an email with a default password; passwords will have to be reset; questions? Email HelpDesk@AlabamaWorks.alabama.gov. “ADOL is constantly looking at new ways to connect employers and job seekers. This new database and its mobile app is a big step in that direction,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. This transition is the result of an ongoing effort for more than two years and is unrelated to any COVID-19 response, nor are any COVID-19 dedicated funds being used for the new website.
Red Cross
Heroes of all blood types, especially type O, are urgently needed to provide hope and help for patients across the country. Make an appointment now by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Tuscaloosa: 5/12: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Keller Williams Realty-Tuscaloosa, 1490 Northbank Pkwy. #180; 5/22: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., University Mall, 1701 East McFarland Blvd.

Refusal Of Work Can Cause A
Disqualification In Unemployment
Compensation Benefits
The Alabama Department of Labor is reminding unemployment claimants that if their employer calls them back they must accept work. To remain eligible for unemployment benefits, federal law requires that those who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to the COVID-19 pandemic must return to work if called back.
Not returning to work when there is available work could be considered a “refusal of work” and could potentially disqualify claimants from receiving unemployment insurance benefits. “It’s important for workers to know that if their employer reopens or otherwise calls them back to work, they must do so, unless they have a good work-related cause for not returning,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “Quitting work without good cause to obtain additional benefits under the regular unemployment program or CARES Act programs qualifies as fraud.”
The CARES Act specifically provides for serious consequences for fraudulent cases including fines, confinement, and an inability to receive future unemployment benefits until all fraudulent claims and fines have been repaid.
ALEA Reminder: Federal Government has Extended STAR ID Deadline to October 2021
The Alabama Law Enforcement reminds the public the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, at the direction of President Donald J. Trump, has extended the STAR ID enforcement deadline to Oct. 1, 2021, in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). STAR ID, which stands for Secure, Trusted and Reliable Identification, is Alabama’s version of the federal REAL ID program. ALEA began modifying its Driver License Division operations in mid-March. The agency then shut down public access to Driver License locations at the end of March 26. Driver License Division personnel have continued to serve customers online and via phone and email. ALEA’s Secretary Hal Taylor said, “As always, we are dedicated to serving the citizens of this state, but we must make the health and safety of our customers and our personnel a priority. The federal deadline extension should relieve some of the wait time at ALEA’s DL offices to obtain a STAR ID during the next several months.” During the closure, ALEA’s Driver License personnel continue to contact customers who scheduled appointments for services prior to the pandemic. Until operations are back to normal, Driver License Division customers still may:
• Renew DL/CDL/ID online
• Renew by mail – for Alabama drivers out of state for military, employment, missionary work, under a physician’s care or other issues on a case-by-case basis
• Request a hearing online or by mail/fax. We will not take any law enforcement actions until hearing can be held.
• Change address by mail/email/fax. Address change document available online.
• Change name by mail/email. Contact ALEA DL for instructions.
• Renew hardship license
• Have license reinstated by mail/email/phone. May use credit card.
• Order MVR (driver history) by mail/email/phone. May use credit card.
• Order crash reports by mail/email/phone. May use credit card.
• Submit medical cards by fax/email
• Submit medical unit forms – fax/email
• Handle Mandatory Liability Insurance – online/mail
• Renew vessel registration online
Once ALEA’s Driver License Division resumes normal operations, customers may schedule an appointment on the agency’s website to obtain a STAR ID and conduct other driver license business. In addition, Secretary Taylor would like to remind the public of the 60-day grace period for driver licenses (Code of Alabama, 32-6-1), but customers who would like to renew during the pandemic are encouraged to do so online. Individuals whose driver licenses must be reinstated may contact the Driver License Division to handle it by phone. For more information on STAR ID, online renewals and other services, and the latest on Driver License Division office closures, please visit www.alea.gov.

Shelton State Community College to virtually recognize high school seniors on June 1
Shelton State Community College will recognize high school seniors planning to attend the College on June 1, 2020, through Virtual Decision Day 2020. Traditionally held annually on May 1, this year’s celebration has been postponed to accommodate those experiencing hardships related to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic.
High schools seniors who have been accepted to Shelton State are asked to submit a photo of themselves holding their acceptance certificate. If a certificate has not yet been received, future SSCC students may also use a photo in their cap and gown, high school teamwear, or Shelton State clothing. Entries may be submitted to mediacom@sheltonstate.edu or on social media by using the hashtag #SheltonStateDecisionDay. Photos will be accepted through Sunday, May 31.
“The graduating seniors of 2020 have not only experienced an unprecedented event in COVID-19, they’ve also seen an abrupt end to a very special year,” said Tennyson Smith, Shelton State Director of Recruitment. “We understand that we cannot ease their disappointment, but we want all graduates – particularly those who will be joining us in the fall – to know that we celebrate this step in their lives.”
In addition to those already accepted, Shelton State continues to process admission applications for the summer and fall semester. For more information, visit sheltonstate.edu/register.


Alabama Announces Support for Workers Impacted by COVID-19
Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 will be eligible to file for unemployment benefits. Based on current guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Alabama Department of Labor is modifying existing unemployment compensation rules to allow workers to file a claim for unemployment compensation benefits who are affected in any of the following way: Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency, those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, those who are diagnosed with COVID-19, or, those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19. The requirement that a laid-off worker be “able and available” to work while receiving unemployment compensation benefits has been modified for claimants who are affected by COVID-19 in any of the situations listed above. Additionally, claimants will also not have to search for other work provided they take reasonable steps to preserve their ability to come back to that job when the quarantine is lifted or the illness subsides. The waiting week, which is typically the first week of compensable benefits, will also be waived. Certain criteria and exceptions may apply, and are subject to change. Verification of illness or quarantine may be required. Workers can file for benefits online at www.labor.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382. Online filing is encouraged.

All Ala. Career Center locations will close to the public; services still available by phone or email Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, all of Alabama’s 51 Career Centers will close to the public in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This closure will be in effect until further notice.
Alabamians in need of Career Center services will still be able to receive them via telephone calls with their local staff, or through email correspondence.
Additionally, job search services and many other resources are available for self-service at www.joblink.alabama.gov, Alabama’s free online jobs database.
Please note that Career Centers are NOT “unemployment offices.” There are no “unemployment offices” in Alabama. The only ways to file an unemployment compensation claim are by calling 1-866-234-5382 or by visiting www.labor.alabama.gov. Online filing is strongly encouraged.
A listing of all Career Centers and their contact information is available at www.labor.alabama.gov or at www.joblink.alabama.gov/ada/r/contact. The ADOL Central Office in Montgomery will also be closed to the public until further notice.

ALDOT operational plans in response to COVID-19 outbreak The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is announcing how it will conduct operations during a national effort to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19.) The safety and protection of motorists using ALDOT facilities and the transportation network is a top priority. ALDOT is committed to providing essential services, while following state and federal guidance regarding COVID-19.
Restrooms will remain open at ALDOT rest areas across the state. A deep cleaning will be performed on the restrooms each week. Throughout each day, staff will clean and sanitize the areas used most frequently by travelers, including door handles, counters, faucets and toilets. Rest areas will be staffed to provide cleaning and with a point of contact for emergencies only.
Active construction and road maintenance projects and supporting ALDOT functions will continue, including scheduled bid openings for new projects. Work to repair slides and other roadway failures resulting from the recent record rainfall will continue.
ALDOT personnel will continue to monitor and respond to traffic incidents and roadway issues. ALDOT traffic operations and Alabama Service & Assistance Patrol (ASAP) responders will continue serving in areas where they currently operate.
All ALDOT public involvement meetings are postponed until further notice.
Local ALDOT offices will continue to receive and process permits for work on ALDOT right of way. The ALDOT Oversize/Overweight Permit Office will continue to accept and process applications for oversize/overweight vehicles on Alabama highways.

The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles has set up special toll-free number for probationers and parolees to call to get information about reporting requirements during the State of Alabama’s coronavirus emergency. This number is specifically for the more than 20,000 people supervised by parole and probation officers throughout the state. For more information on supervision over the next few weeks, parolees and probationers should call 1-800-269-5081. They can also email Questions@paroles.alabama.gov .

School Events

4-H Activity Guide
Looking for some easy ways to keep your kids engaged and learning at home? Check out the 4-H #InspireKidstoDo Activity Guide to find 60 hands-on learning activity ideas! Download now: http://bit.ly/38NioDF

Students can continue to access e-books through the MES library. Simply type ebooks in the search bar to access the e-books. https://hcsdlibrary.follettdestiny.com/common/welcome.jsp?context=saas08_0130191&fbclid=IwAR3wPReXmAEQWG5i63QsJVFJi8-CEQKXJp51tMZ-cYa7o1644Aw-0OAsXss
Storyline Online
With school closures around the country due to #coronavirus, please use our FREE children’s literacy resource featuring the world’s best storytellers reading books aloud. Each video includes an activity guide with lessons for K-5 students to do at home. https://www.storylineonline.net/
Discovery Ed https://www.discoveryeducation.com/coronavirus-response/
BrainPop https://educators.brainpop.com/2020/02/19/free-brainpop-access-for-schools-affected-by-the-corona-virus/?utm_source=organic&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_content=free-access
Kahoot https://kahoot.com/blog/2020/02/27/kahoot-free-access-schools-higher-education-coronavirus/
Pronto https://pronto.io/coronavirus/
BookCreater App https://bookcreator.com/2020/03/support-for-schools-affected-by-coronavirus/
Google for Edu https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/education/distancelearning-covid19
Tynker https://mailchi.mp/tynker/in-support-of-schools-facing-health-related-closure
Buncee https://blog.buncee.com/supporting-remote-student-learning/
Pear Deck https://www.peardeck.com/staying-connected
Kami https://blog.kamiapp.com/remote-learning-with-kami-during-school-shutdowns/
Parlay https://parlayideas.com/school-closure-support/
Elementari https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJ1LAywQdwvNKN_SpsypVA48XOaoCTQoGhuaP7e12fgwPnWA/viewform
EdPuzzle https://support.edpuzzle.com/hc/en-us/articles/360039805612-Help-for-schools-affected-by-Covid-19
Wakelet https://wakelet.com/wake/3af73ea4-a652-4e38-934d-765aefe0f35b
Twinkl https://www.twinkl.com/blog/how-to-utilise-twinkl-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown-a-guide-for-schools?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=corona
Hapara https://hapara.com/from-home/
Manga High https://www.mangahigh.com/en-gb/blog/2020-03-06-free-access-schools-online-maths-coronavirus
ListenWire http://blog.listenwise.com/2020/03/listenwise-support-for-schools-affected-by-the-coronavirus/
MobyMax http://press.mobymax.com/mobymax-to-provide-all-k-8-schools-and-school-districts-closed-by-covid-19-with-free-internet-learning-software
GoGuardian https://www.goguardian.com/blog/learning/goguardian-teacher-for-remote-learning/
Seterra Geography https://online.seterra.com/en/p/corona-support
We Video https://www.wevideo.com/education
Education Perfect https://epforlearning.com/2020/education-perfects-technology-minimising-impact-on-100-coronavirus-affected-schools-in-china/
Slido Education https://blog.sli.do/slido-for-education/
Breakout Edu https://www.breakoutedu.com/funathome
Microsoft Education https://educationblog.microsoft.com/en-us/2020/03/how-schools-can-ramp-up-remote-learning-programs-quickly-with-microsoft-teams/
NearPod https://nearpod.com/coronavirus
Zoom https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/02/26/zoom-commitment-user-support-business-continuity-during-coronavirus-outbreak/
ScreenCastify https://twitter.com/Screencastify/status/1226934956930281472
Mystery Science https://mysteryscience.com/?fbclid=IwAR0tiDhJA1fs0tvraKnXpDLa2JlJGXQhzPR4UnQRVfbOR1Ca3C5yQY5tNwQ
Age of Learning (ABCMouse, Adventure Academy, ReadingIQ) https://www.ageoflearning.com/schools

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Join us on Facebook Live every day this week at 10AM (EST) for Shark Story Hour. Each day we will be reading a new shark themed book followed by a shark Q/A session. https://www.facebook.com/atlanticwhiteshark

Free Online Museum Virtual Tours

The Louvre
https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne#tabs
The Solomon R Guggenheim
https://www.guggenheim.org/collection-online
The National Gallery of Art
https://www.nga.gov/
The British Museum
https://research.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour
The Dalí Theatre-Museum
https://www.salvador-dali.org/en/museums/dali-theatre-museum-in-figueres/visita-virtual/
NASA
https://oh.larc.nasa.gov/oh/
https://www.nasa.gov/glennvirtualtours
The Vatican
http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/tour-virtuali-elenco.html
http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/cappella-sistina/tour-virtuale.html
The National Women’s History Museum
https://www.womenshistory.org/womens-history/online-exhibits
The National Museum of the United States Air Force
https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Virtual-Tour/
The Google Art Project
https://artsandculture.google.com/
https://artsandculture.google.com/partner

UA SENIOR WORKING PANDEMIC FRONT LINES IN NYC AREA – Aerospace engineering student John Glidden III is volunteering as an EMT and at a drive-thru virus testing site in a suburb of New York City. To set up a video or phone interview with the student, contact Adam Jones, UA Communications, adam.jones@ua.edu

UA HELPING PROVIDE CORONAVIRUS SCREENINGS IN LIVINGSTON – UA’s University Medical Center and Office for Research and Economic Development are collaborating with Alabama Power and Livingston Mayor Tom Tartt to provide coronavirus screenings in Livingston. Screenings will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon at JAYCEE Park in Livingston as long as supplies last. For more information, contact Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications, at bryant.welbourne@ua.edu

UA STUDENTS PARTNER WITH SCHOOLS FOR REMOTE TUTORING – University of Alabama students will provide free online tutoring and academic engagement sessions for the remainder of the school year in a partnership with Birmingham City Schools and the Tuscaloosa County School System. For more information, contact Adam Jones, UA Communications, adam.jones@ua.edu

CURRENT COMMENT

HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY DOWN, NOT OUT – While a variety of industries have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry has taken a major hit due to social distancing. “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the hospitality and tourism industries, and the effects are profound,” said Dr. Kimberly Severt, director of UA’s hospitality management program. “People aren’t traveling, hotels are closing, conferences are being canceled, restaurants are having to reinvent the way they serve consumers and everyone has taken a substantial financial hit. But the industry is resilient and will eventually rebound. There are many dedicated and innovative people in the hospitality industry who are determined to rebound from this and, together, we will.” Severt is available for interviews and can be reached at ksevert@ches.ua.edu

UA EXPERTS AVAILABLE TO DISCUSS ISSUES AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC  – Faculty at The University of Alabama are available to discuss aspects of the coronavirus pandemic including topics related to health care, education and the economy. This list will be updated, so check back often for new sources. For assistance with reaching any of these sources or for topics not highlighted, please contact Shane Dorrill, assistant director of communications, at shane.dorrill@ua.edu