Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit www.jtgfoundation.org/resources/covid-19 or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.

 

Rural weekly COVID-19 death rates continue to set records

December 14, 2020 – Families

The Daily Yonder continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties throughout the United States. The week of December 6–12 brought both a record-breaking number of new cases (220,554) and deaths (3,818) in rural counties. The weekly death rate in rural areas (8.3 per 100,000) continues to be much higher—almost double—that of urban areas (4.5 per 100,000). On a more positive note, the rate of growth in new COVID-19 cases was more modest than previous weeks, hopefully a sign that cases will start to level off. #covid-19 #rural

COVID-19 patients may develop anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder

November 19, 2020 – Families

The Daily Yonder reports on new research published in the Lancet that investigated mental health outcomes of COVID-19. While the uncertain atmosphere created by the pandemic has likely increased the risk of mental health problems generally, the authors also found that one in five COVID-19 patients develop mental health issues within 90 days of their recovery. These mental health issues include depression, anxiety, insomnia, as well as, notably, post-traumatic stress disorder. The mental health implications of the pandemic are even more troubling for rural areas where access to mental health care and providers is often quite limited. #covid-19 #mentalhealth #rural

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in rural areas continue to break records

November 17, 2020 – Families

As the pandemic accelerates, rural areas are seeing rapid growth in new cases. For the eighth week in a row, the number of weekly new COVID-19 cases in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties has broken the previous record. For the most recent week, November 8-14, there were 195,795 new cases in rural counties. The Daily Yonder now estimates that 86 percent of rural counties are in the red zone (having a weekly infection rate of 100+ new cases per 100,000 population). This most recent week also reported a record number of deaths in rural counties at 2,026 deaths. #covid-19 #rural

Research on seniors in rural areas finds isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity

November 16, 2020 – Seniors

New research from Indiana University finds that isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity among older adults in rural areas. Data were collected via public convenings and a survey of 5,000 households in lower income census tracts in four rural counties of Indiana. Results showed that seniors living alone felt less motivated to prepare balanced meals and found less enjoyment in eating. Seniors who lived and ate with family members or ate in congregate settings reported higher enjoyment of meals, a diffused (and therefore decreased) burden of food acquisition, and increased motivation to eat better. These results are especially salient, given additional findings that the share of seniors feeling isolated has risen steeply, from 7 percent pre-pandemic to 61 percent at present. Findings also echo many previous studies in noting that SNAP and other nutrition programs that require paperwork or travel present barriers to participation. Researchers suggest that a ride-share network could be a cost-effective way to enhance seniors’ access to food sources and programs, although safe implementation in times of social distancing is complicated. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #rural

Local library provides support and social connection to veterans

November 4, 2020 – Families

In the rural town of Randle, Washington, the Mountain View Timberland Regional Library has worked throughout the pandemic to support veterans. Before the pandemic, the library had started a teleservices program for veterans called the Veteran Connection Café, which provided professional assistance with benefits like healthcare and pensions. Although that program could not continue once the pandemic began, the library has been offering contactless services over the phone. Veterans can also borrow Chromebooks and use the library WiFi in the parking lot, since the building is closed. #covid-19 #rural

Rural daily rate of new COVID-19 cases surpasses all-time metropolitan high

October 15, 2020 – Families

Metropolitan (urban) counties set a record at the end of July, with the highest daily rate of new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people hitting 21.3. Heading into August, metropolitan new infection rates decreased as rural rates increased. By the end of August, rural counties were consistently adding new infections at a faster rate than their metropolitan counterparts. This trend continued into September, bringing a new grim milestone in mid-October: the new infection rate of rural counties has now surpassed the metropolitan peak. As of October 15, the rural daily rate of new infections was a record-breaking 24.0 and continues to trend upward. #covid-19 #rural

Solar-powered mobile hotspots bring internet to rural Virginia for remote learning

October 15, 2020 – Older Youth

Rural stakeholders continue creative provision of internet hotspots to support remote learning into the new school year. The Daily Yonder reports that school officials in rural Louisa County in Virginia initially used hotspots on school buses but struggled to secure a consistent power source. To address this, the school district’s technology director proposed mobile solar-powered hotspots. These “Wireless on Wheels” units cost around $3,000 apiece to create and are designed to continue running even on cloudy days. #covid-19 #rural #education

Mississippi Delta food relief providers share lessons learned in the pandemic

October 1, 2020 – Families

A new publication posted through the Center for Population Studies at the University of Mississippi describes findings from 33 phone interviews of food pantry and charitable food organization representatives in the Mississippi Delta region. The authors suggest that barriers to providing adequate food assistance are important, but that those barriers are not specific to food providers. Challenges include limited quantities of PPE, widespread job and income loss in the community, lack of adequate mental health support in the community, concern about sustainable operations after federal relief programs end, loss of supports usually provided through schools, and general challenges of rural infrastructure. The providers identified the importance of building on existing networks to increase “visibility and effectiveness” of social service agencies, expanding internet access by siting computers with Wi-Fi for (safe) public use, and establishing alternate food sourcing methods, including through direct-from-farm and online models to reduce transportation barriers for distribution and consumer purchase. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #mentalhealth #rural

Rural counties with higher percentages of Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents have higher COVID-19 mortality rates

September 20, 2020 – Families

New research published in The Journal of Rural Health explores COVID-19 death rates in rural areas, finding that rural counties with greater shares of Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents report higher death rates. Authors used COVID-19 daily death data for 1,976 nonmetropolitan (rural) counties from the beginning of March through the end of July 2020. This research shows that COVID-19 mortality risk is not only higher for Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents of cities, but for those living in rural areas as well. #covid-19 #rural #racialequity

Colorado organization connects rural businesses with information, community

September 18, 2020 – Families

The Daily Yonder explores how one organization has supported rural Colorado businesses during the pandemic. The organization, called Startup Colorado, supports new businesses and rural-based entrepreneurs across the state. At the beginning of the pandemic, Startup Colorado starting hosting weekly regional update calls with information from local and federal agencies. Besides providing a space for information dissemination, the regional calls also started to form a virtual community where entrepreneurs can connect. #covid-19 #rural

How courageous schools partnering with local communities can overcome digital inequalities during COVID-19

September 17, 2020 – General

Across the U.S., “pandemic pods,” or quarantine learning bubbles, are being established to protect students and teachers from the coronavirus, or COVID-19, and limit possible exposure within the group. Homeschooling has become an increasingly viable option for parents who can offer the space, time, structure, and technology to their children. Private and charter schools are also drawing the attention of families with children in public schools by offering more robust digital resources and student support. But these pathways to continuous learning are not available to students who may reside in communities with limited spaces for play, in geographically isolated rural areas, and among those with limited or no access to home broadband. These differences in resources result in the racial and income disparities that define the digital divide and have far-reaching implications for school-age children without internet access. #education #rural #racialequity

College enrollment declines, especially among disadvantaged students

September 16, 2020 – Older Youth

The Washington Post describes early signs of disproportionate college enrollment declines and higher dropouts among low-income students, students of color, and rural students. Declines in enrollment are greatest at community colleges. College enrollment increased during the Great Recession and tends to increase in any economic downturn, although the opposite is happening in the current pandemic-related recession. Some key reasons for this include concerns about exposure to the virus, lost income prohibiting enrollment, and challenges with virtual classes such as insufficient access to broadband and other technology at home. As enrollment declines unevenly, concerns about perpetuating inequality abound. #covid-19 #education #racialequity #rural