Published March 16, 2021

A large portion of the latest federal stimulus package will go to U.S. schools—but how will that affect students down the road? From education to medicine to the environment, newsmakers from the Rutgers community offer guidance and share their experiences.

The historic pandemic relief package signed by President Joe Biden will infuse the nation’s schools with $128 billion for K–12 education. But spending that money comes with challenges, says Bruce Baker, a professor at Rutgers’ Graduate School of Education and an expert on school funding. “How they would ever spend that money effectively, knowing or at least expecting that all of it’s going away in a few years, concerns me,” Baker tells Chalkbeat.

Chalkbeat | Congress approves massive infusion of funds for schools, and high-poverty districts will get the most

A survey conducted by researchers at Rutgers and several other universities has found that many people are relaxing their vigilance about social distancing and hand washing. A story by ABC 7 New York quotes the study’s lead author, Katherine Ognyanova, a professor at Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information. “The critical question now is how residents respond to case counts going down and vaccination rates going up, while more transmissible and likely more deadly coronavirus variants are spreading around the country,” she says. “Our data shows New Jerseyans are letting their guard down.”

ABC 7 New York | NJ residents relaxing social distancing measures as COVID cases decline, survey finds

Although COVID-19 is far from defeated, is it time to consider the future of the health care industry and how the pandemic has shaped it? How many virus-related changes will endure and become standard? Jenna Marcus, assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a gynecologic oncologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, addresses those questions in a Star-Ledger op-ed. “As a healthcare community, we are undoubtedly permanently affected,” says Marcus, “but the medical community has acclimated to these profound changes” and “we will continue to analyze and reflect on all we have learned to [move] forward.” | For hospitals and patients, some things may not change after COVID

CNN tells the story of Swaiman Singh, who studied at Rutgers during the early 2000s and has nearly completed a cardiology fellowship at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Singh explains why he returned to India to establish a community health center and how he has been caring for protesting farmers in New Delhi for the past year. “It just seemed like this is what I had trained to do,” he says. “This was the reason that I became a doctor.” He also describes his ties to the people of Punjab, many of whom inspired his medical mission, as “a connection that will never break.”

CNN | An American doctor went to India last year to care for protesting farmers. The conditions on the ground convinced him to stay

NJ Spotlight covers Rutgers research that looks at how microplastics are distributed as they move from the upper Delaware Bay to its mouth and the adjacent coastal ocean. According to the research, concentrations occur where fresh and salt water collide. “These boundaries, or ‘river plume fronts,’ accumulate materials, such as microscopic larvae, phytoplankton, and other floatables where marine species gather to feed,” says Robert Chant, the study’s oceanographer. “Because of these characteristics, river plume fronts are likely to be regions where microplastics enter the food chain.”

Nj Spotlight | ‘Staggering amount of microplastics’ found in Delaware Estuary waterways

Inside Higher Ed reports on a new survey showing that LGBTQ+ students attending Christian colleges and universities with anti-LGBTQ+ policies are 15 times more likely to report that their sexuality or gender identity kept them from being accepted by others on campus compared to their peers. The article cites a 2018 national Rutgers-led study of LGBT students across more than 900 institutions, which found that LGBT students were at least three times more likely than their straight and cisgender peers to report self-harm, suicidal ideation, or suicide attempts in the prior 12 months, and they were at least twice as likely to report experiencing depression.

Inside Higher Ed | Being LGBTQ+ on a Christian Campus

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