AC Whyte builds on skills as the path to Covid recovery

2020 was meant to have been a strong growth year for Barrhead-based contractor AC Whyte, but following the lockdown that will knock about 30 per off of annual turnover, managing director Jennifer Phin says break-even will be a “great” result for the current financial year.

Yet she is far from downbeat about the prospects for the family-owned firm, which generated £15.1 million in revenues in its last financial year. Throughout nearly 12 weeks of being shut down, AC Whyte was able to top up furlough payments so that all of its 160 staff received 100% of their regular pay. And with sustainability high on the agenda, there remains strong demand for its home energy efficiency solutions as the construction sector emerges from its spring slumber.

The company is currently operational on 22 sites across eight local authority areas on behalf of its core social housing client base. Among these is

Read More

City Hall: Schools scramble to cover COVID costs after FEMA pulls funding | City Hall

BEWARE THOSE LATE Friday afternoon emails.

Karen DeFrancis, business administrator for the Manchester school district, told school board members last week that she received an email at 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11, from the state’s Department of Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management notifying school districts they should anticipate getting less money from the federal government than they expected to cover COVID-related expenses this fall.

Paul Feely's City Hall

School districts across the state were planning on reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for materials, including PPE, cleaning supplies and acrylic barriers.

That was before FEMA changed course. In a letter to New Hampshire officials, FEMA said schools did not qualify for financial assistance — even during a pandemic — “because the education of children is not an immediate action necessary to protect public health, life, and safety.”

“We were a little surprised by that,” DeFrancis told school board members. “Basically,

Read More

New Hampshire school officials fault FEMA reversal on Covid reimbursement

Fema Pic1200

Colleen Ortakales in front of her 2nd-grade classroom at Riddle Brook Elementary School in Bedford.

Late last week, New Hampshire school districts learned that federal money they were previously thought they could rely on would no longer be available to cover costs associated with their response to Covid-19.

On Sept. 11, the state was informed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that they will not be covering reimbursements for face masks and other supplies to be used by teachers, staff and students. Additional supplies not covered include any extra desks or chairs, cleaning supplies and the purchase and installments of physical barriers, such as Plexiglas.

Many school districts in the state had intentions of seeking reimbursement from FEMA for these additional costs, including the Salem School District, which was seeking to have a large amount of money reimbursed.

Salem’s Assistant Superintendent for Business Operations Deborah Payne said that the district

Read More

Two-thirds of businesses say skills training is crucial to post- COVID business recovery

The UK workforce gained a potential 94.2 million training hours earlier this year as entire sectors came to a standstill. As the total number of hours worked plummeted across the country, research collated by Hays Thrive shows a strong link between businesses who took advantage of these training hours and those who expect to recover quickly post-COVID.

This is based on recent ONS data which revealed the total number of hours worked in the UK in June dipped by 8.9% compared to the year before.

Link between business recovery and skills training  

The pandemic has severely impacted 71% of organisations in the UK, but there is a strong link between businesses bounce back and training. According to The Open University, 68% of companies confident in their post-COVID recovery have invested in training during lockdown, while 53% of those who are not confident did not.  


Read More

COVID trace app and the man whose crazy idea ‘jump-started’ the plan

Entrepreneur Andrew Pascal built a company that builds apps.

So when the Las Vegas resident considered what he could do to help Nevada during the pandemic and learned of the challenges inherent to contact tracing, the answer seemed clear enough.

His company would develop a contact-tracing app. Or so he thought.

Pascal, 54, did become a driving force in bringing to the state the COVID Trace app that launched on Monday. But not in the way he first envisioned.

Early in the pandemic, Southern Nevada Health District investigators were calling each person who tested positive for the coronavirus to request the names of close contacts who might have become infected. The investigators would in turn advise these contacts to self-quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19. But as cases mounted, investigators were quickly overwhelmed, and backlogs piled up.

“Are you kidding me?” Pascal said in an interview this past week,

Read More

Department of science and technology, IIT Madras develop portable structure for COVID treatment

New Delhi [India], August 22 (ANI): The department of science and technology in collaboration an IIT Madras start up has come up with a portable micro structure named ‘MediCAB’ for COVID-19 treatment which is foldable and has a doctor’s room, an isolation room, a medical room/ward, and a twin-bed ICU, said Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday.

The DST has developed it in collaboration with ‘Modulus Housing, the start-up incubated by IIT Madras. They have come up with a solution using a decentralised approach to detect, manage and treat COVID-19 patients in local communities through portable microstructures.
“Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology, under DST in collaboration with ‘Modulus Housing’ – a start-up incubated by IIT Madras – has come up with a solution using decentralised approach to detect, manage & treat COVID-19 patients in local communities thro portable micro structures,” tweeted the Union Minister.

Read More

I Saw How 9/11 Changed National Security. Let’s Hope COVID Does This For Education.

My daughters know only a post-9/11 world. They don’t blink when asked to put items from their pockets into a bin so they can pass through a magnetometer at a sporting event. They know that surveillance cameras are pretty much everywhere. They wouldn’t dream of putting more than 3.4 ounces of liquid into their airplane carry-on. They accept these as norms because they know nothing different. 

They weren’t yet born on this day, 19 years ago, when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and a remote field in Shanksville, PA. They didn’t feel the pain of learning

Read More

U.S. Covid Funding Flaw Shortchanges Hospitals in Black Communities

The federal government is doling out pandemic relief money to hospitals using a formula that discriminates against predominantly Black communities because, in general, less is spent on their health care even when their need is greater. The method used by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help medical providers hammered by Covid is based on past revenue at those institutions. This shortchanges counties that have more Black residents, even though they have higher numbers of patients with Covid-19 — or with other conditions that put them at greater risk for it — as well as hospitals that are under the greatest financial strain, according to report published in JAMA last month. “Communities of color tend to spend less for the same health-care need for a lot of different reasons,” said Pragya Kakani, a Phd student in health policy at Harvard University who was the report’s lead author.

Read More

Lloyds Bank to cut 865 jobs in restructuring plans made pre Covid

a person standing in front of a store: MailOnline logo

© Provided by Daily Mail
MailOnline logo

Lloyds Bank plans to shed hundreds of jobs as it works to simplify the business after putting plans on hold for several months due to Covid-19.

The bank said it will slash 865 jobs mainly in its insurance, wealth and retail teams.

The cuts will lead to a net reduction of 639 in Lloyds’ headcount as the bank has also created 226 jobs.

a woman walking down a sidewalk in front of a store: More unemployment misery for hundreds as Lloyds Bank announces plans to cut 865 jobs. The job loss plans were put on hold in February before the pandemic hit

© Provided by Daily Mail
More unemployment misery for hundreds as Lloyds Bank announces plans to cut 865 jobs. The job loss plans were put on hold in February before the pandemic hit

Earlier on Wednesday, Lloyds indicated the job losses included 780 cuts that were announced in February but put on hold because of the pandemic.

It has now clarified the new reductions are on top of the 780 already planned.

Unite union national officer Rob MacGregor said he

Read More

Florida covid cases rise among school-age children but school-specific data is kept from public

Volunteers across Florida have set up their own school-related coronavirus dashboards, and one school district is using Facebook after the county health department was told to stop releasing information about cases tied to local schools.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has pushed aggressively for schools to offer in-person classes, even when Florida was the hot spot of the nation, and threatened to withhold funding if districts did not allow students into classrooms by Aug. 31. In the state guidelines for reopening schools, officials did not recommend that coronavirus cases be disclosed school by school. In fact, the DeSantis administration ordered some districts, including Duval and Orange, to stop releasing school specific coronavirus information, citing privacy issues.

The state also left it up to districts to decide whether masks should be worn by students and staffers. Some require it, but many don’t.

Department of Health spokesman Alberto Moscoso said in an email

Read More