CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for May 1: Iowa schools receive federal aid to address coronavirus costs; EntreFEST switches to digital format

A sign on the front door describes the benefits of various combinations of mask wearing at Clark's Pharmacy, 1946 42nd S
A sign on the front door describes the benefits of various combinations of mask wearing at Clark’s Pharmacy, 1946 42nd St. NE, in northeast, Iowa, on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. The pharmacy lobby is closed to most clients but the drive-thru is open. While the staff wears masks when working in the pharmacy, they also wear gloves when interacting with customers. Surfaces such as counters, keyboards, telephones as credit card keypads are wiped down on a regular basis. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

6:02 P.M.: WINTER MORATORIUM EXTENSION ENDS MAY 27

DES MOINES — Iowa Utilities Board announced Friday that the winter moratorium extension that restricted disconnection of utility service to all customers of electric and gas utilities, including municipal, cooperative and investor-owned and investor-owned water utilities will expire May 27.

The order was made in accordance with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation of a public health emergency. Iowa Utilities Board encourages customers to contact their utility to avoid disconnection and establish payment arrangements. According to the news release, customers seeking Limited Financial Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) help or utility bills, should contact their local community action agency to discuss eligibility.

Income-eligible Iowans typically have until April 30 each year to apply for limited financial heating assistance through the LIHEAP program. The application deadline for was extended to May 31, 2020, this year by the Iowa Department of Human Rights (IDPH).

Iowa Department of Human Rights extended the application deadline for LIHEAP to May 31 for income-eligible Iowans.

5:38 P.M.: SUMMER OF THE ARTS CHANGES PROGRAM

Summer of the Arts announced Friday that its festival season will be altered to ensure the health, safety and well-being for the community, continuing to follow public health directives from City of Iowa City and the State of Iowa.

Some events will be canceled, while others will be modified.

According to a news release, changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic consist of:

Here are the changes we are making in light of COVID-19:

* — Friday Night Concert Series performances in May are canceled.

* — Iowa Arts Festival scheduled for June 5-7 is canceled.

* — Friday Night Concerts in June, Northside Concert and Free Movie Series could be rescheduled.

May performers might be rescheduled at a later date. Components of the Iowa Arts Festival may be incorporated into events later in the summer. Some June concerts could be held virtually and the movies series might be held later in the year.

Email lisa@summerofthearts.org with questions about the event. More information can be found at Summer of the Arts website and its Facebook page.

3:55 P.M.: IOWA SCHOOLS RECEIVE AID TO MITIGATE COVID-19 EFFECTS

DES MOINES — Iowa schools will receive some financial aid to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Iowa Department of Education announced Friday that the state will receive more than $71.6 million in federal relief to help schools address costs from the coronavirus outbreak.

The relief effort is part of a $13.2 billion emergency fund provided in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund within the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“These funds will provide critical support for schools, especially as they develop plans for what a return to learning will look like in the fall,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo said in a news release. “Schools can use this funding to address coronavirus-related challenges, including online learning support, professional development, educational technology, mental health services and services to support students with disabilities.”

The application for school districts to apply for this funding will be available next week. School districts will have access to 90% of the $71.6 million, using a portion of the funds to provide services to non-public schools in their areas, according to the news release. The remaining funds will be used for state-level educational efforts to address urgent issues caused by COVID-19.

Allocation of funds will be based on each school’s eligibility for Title I, Part A funding, which is a federal program that provides districts with funding based on the percentage of low-income students it serves.

3:20 P.M.: FREEDOM FESTIVAL COMMEMORATIVE BUTTONS AVAILABLE

Despite being canceled due to COVID-19 safety recommendations this year, the 2020 Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival is selling commemorative buttons Friday at all Metro Hy-Vee Food and Drugstore locations.

The buttons are $5, which includes a Hy-Vee coupon booklet worth up to $30 in savings and a chance to win one of five $100 Hy-Vee gift cards.

The effort includes a “Show Us Your Button” promotion. Participants can enter to win Hy-Vee gift cards by uploading a picture wearing the button to the Freedom Festival’s Facebook page with the #freedomfestconnects hashtag. Five winners will be selected from the submissions.

The buttons will help offset the costs of prepaid Festival preparations and to cover button packet expenses. Donations can also be made on the Freedom Festival website or via Venmo @CRFreedomFestival. Any donations of $10 or more will receive a button and become eligible for gift-card drawings.

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For more information on the promotion or virtual celebration plans, follow the Freedom Festival on Facebook or at www.FreedomFestival.com.

ENTREFEST CHANGES TO VIRTUAL FORMAT

NewBoCo announced that EntreFEST will shift to a digital format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two-day conference for entrepreneurs will still be held June 4-5.

All speaker sessions, networking events and other activities will be conducted online.

“We’ve had a very positive response from all our speakers,” Events Director for NewBoCo Jill Wilkins said about the event normally hosted in Cedar Rapids. “All of the keynotes are very excited to still participate and actually have some new ideas, things they want to talk about in light of the current situation. We’re excited about that.”

Guests can access Zoom lounges for networking hot spots and chat with other virtual attendees. The event’s happy-hour gatherings, concerts and a live comedy session will be part of the online slate.

“The interaction piece has always been a big part of EntreFEST,” Wilkins said. “That’s going to be one of the things we’re focusing on a lot over the next few weeks and months. Making sure we bring that to our attendees so they still have that opportunity to make meaningful connections and opportunities in that virtual setting.”

Attendees also will receive recordings of all sessions from the conference.

Visit EntreFEST for a complete conference schedule.

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.