The Gazette Daily News Podcast, March 27

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If you’re a fan of rain, the next two days are right up your alley. According to the National Weather Service, showers are likely in the Cedar Rapids area Friday, mainly after 4:00 p.m. Then there will be showers and possibly a thunderstorm on Friday night. Then there will be a chance for more showers and more thunderstorms on Saturday. The forecast for Friday also predicts a high of 53 degrees with wind speeds of 10-15 mph.

For your daily COVID-19 coronavirus update, despite some protestations from urban mayors in Iowa, it appears Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will continue to resist issuing a shelter in place order. Reynolds, at her Thursday press conference, went so far as to state that cities do not have the legal authority to declare shelter in place orders by themselves. She said that she still feels that it is unnecessary to issue such an order, which would restrict people from leaving home except for essential needs and services.

Reynolds also ordered the closure of additional business types and extended the restrictions already in place another week, lasting until April 7 at the earliest. The additional retail closures include bookstores; clothing and shoe stores; jewelry, luggage, cosmetics, perfume and beauty supply stores; florists; and furniture and home furnishing stores. She also ordered the suspension of all non-essential or elective surgeries, any medical procedures that can be delayed without undue risk to the patient, and all elective dental procedures.

3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, as efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus have also stemmed the global economy. Of these, nearly 42,000 claims were Iowans, over 18 times greater than those a week earlier.

As Iowa’s public universities plan to welcome back from spring break their 75,000-plus students in April, administrators are announcing new, more lenient, grading options in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s forced all in-person classes online for the rest of the semester.

University of Iowa and Iowa State University undergraduate students this spring will be allowed to either take the letter grade their instructor records or choose a pass/nonpass option. This could help students who, for example, don’t do as well as they believe they could have without the coronavirus-related interruptions, changes, and distractions — but still pass the class. All three public universities, additionally, will add a designation on all student transcripts “indicating the extraordinary circumstances encountered during the 2020 spring semester.”

Today’s daily briefing is sponsored in part by Corridor Careers, now offering a virtual job fair on April 9th from 3 to 6 pm. For more job information and to get registered for the event, visit