• Massachusetts families to receive federal aid to fight child hunger
  • Governor Baker reiterates reopening will be gradual; offers little detail on four-phases
  • Future of Massachusetts tourism and convention industry is uncertain
  • Secretary of Education Jim Peyser: Remote learning could continue in the fall
  • Massachusetts to expand COVID-19 testing and tracing program
  • Thursday’s Silver Lining: Boston reports a day without COVID-19 deaths


  1. A Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (Pandemic-EBT) card will soon be sent to the homes of eligible families of students enrolled in public schools to help defray the cost of food that they would otherwise receive in school. The roughly 500,000 students are deemed eligible for the federal program due to their family’s financial situation or because they’re enrolled in one of the hundreds of school districts in the Commonwealth with lower than median incomes. The benefit will arrive in two lump sums totaling around $400.


  1. Governor Charlie Baker reiterated the reopening of the Massachusetts economy will be a gradual, phased-in process. While further details on the four-phase plan have yet to be released, the Governor anticipates giving the early green lights to businesses “with a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission.” The Boston Chamber of Commerce issued a policy brief identifying several key details its members want to see fleshed out in the Governor’s plan.


  1. In January, the annual Boat Show was located in the main hall of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) where a 1,000-bed field hospital now occupies the main hall. Numerous analyses suggest that once the field hospital closes it will take the BECE months under a best-case scenario to resume its role as a major driver of Boston’s tourism economy.


  1. The Joint Committee on Education held an oversight hearing on the state of remote learning in K-12 schools yesterday. Testifying before the committee, Secretary of Educaiton Jim Peyser acknowledged that remote learning may continue in the fall. Both he and Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley acknowledged the difficulties of remote learning including the disparities of connectivity but none more so than Colrain Central School principal, Amy Looman who estimated that 40 percent of homes in the town of Colrain do not have access to internet service that can handle streaming video.


  1. If Massachusetts were a country, it would have one of the highest per capita COVID-19 testing rates in the world, yet Governor Baker thinks more can be done. Over the next several months Governor Baker wants to expand the state’s testing program by “targeting populations, industries and individuals who are most at risk” through the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. Since its inception last month, the Tracing Collaborative has connected with nearly 18,000 people with confirmed COVID-19 cases and reached out to more than 14,000 of their contacts.


  1. IN THIS TOGETHER: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh reported zero COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday.