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News Roundup: Vt. Department of Health Reports 73 New COVID-19 Cases

A white board reads truckers be safe, set against a tree in a lawn.
Elodie Reed
A sign for truckers along Route 78 in Alburgh just south of the Canadian border.

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus and more for Tuesday, April 13.Want VPR's daily news in podcast form? Get up to speed in under 15 minutes withThe Frequency every weekday morning. How about an email newsletter?Add our daily email briefing to your morning routine.

The latest coronavirus data:


1. Vt. suspends state-run Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine clinics

All of Vermont's COVID-19 vaccination clinics administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Tuesday have been canceled.

Gov. Scott announced the suspension in a tweet, adding that those expecting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are being contacted by health officials to reschedule appointments.

The decision will not affect planned vaccinations for the two other vaccines, from Moderna and Pfizer.

More information is expected this afternoon, at a press conference held by the Scott Administration.

Find live updateshere.

- Matthew Smith

Vt. officials report 73 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday

Health officials reported 73 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday and no additional deaths.

Chittenden County continues to see the highest case numbers, with 25 new infections. All other counties saw fewer than 10 new cases.

Currently, 30 people are hospitalized in Vermont, with five people in intensive care.

The positivity rate for COVID-19 tests over the past seven days has declined slightly to 1.8%.

- Henry Epp

Some U.S. colleges are requiring students get vaccinated before returning to campus come fall

U.S. colleges hoping for a return to normalcy next fall are weighing how far they should go in urging students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including whether they should – or legally can – require it.

Some have already said students will have to get shots before returning to campus, including Brown and Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, Boston University, Cornell in New York and Northeastern in Massachusetts.

The colleges say the requirement will help protect their campuses and give students the confidence to return.

But some schools say they cannot legally require vaccinations because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only allowed the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines and hasn't given them its full approval.

To date, no Vermont colleges or universities have announced a policy requiring students get vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall.

- The Associated Press

More than 14,000 Vermonters 30 and older signed up for vaccines Monday

More than 14,000 Vermonters 30 or older signed up for appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine yesterday, the first day that age band was eligible to book a shot.

Appointments can still be made online at

After an initial surge of sign-ups, logging in later this week could help Vermonters sign an earlier appointment, but users are reminded to cancel their old one if they do make a change.

All Vermont residents 16 and older can start signing up for a shot this coming Monday, April 19.

- Matthew Smith

2. Scott Administration expected to unveil new safety protocols for schools

The Scott administration is expected to soon unveil new safety protocols that schools can use to bring all students back into the classroom, full-time after the April break.

Currently, many school districts are using a hybrid model where some students are in class at any given time while others are still 100% remote.

Scott wants to bring all students back but he acknowledges that this decision will be made at the local level.

“These are local decisions they'll have to make, but we've met a lot of challenges thus far,” Scott said. “But I'd ask them to reflect on what's safe, listen to the health experts and see if there's a way to bring kids back into school."

The administration says it's encouraged that over 80% of Vermont's teachers have been vaccinated.

- Bob Kinzel

3. Legislators approve bill that extends federal tax break on unemployment compensation

Vermont tax preparers say they can’t finish their work until the state makes a decision about taxing unemployment insurance this year.

Annette Spaulding prepares taxes in Windham County and said while the federal government gave people a $10,200 tax break on unemployment compensation, the Legislature has been slow to decide what’s right for Vermont.

“We all have thousands of tax returns in our hold files across the state, waiting for Vermont to make a firm decision: Is it going to be tax free, or not tax free?” Spaulding said.

Lawmakers approved a bill Friday that gives Vermonters the same tax break. It now heads to Gov. Phil Scott's desk.

- Howard Weiss-Tisman

4. Local residents push back against ATV use on town roads

All-terrain vehicle or ATV clubs around Vermont have asked permission to use town roads, either to connect existing trails or to visit local stores and restaurants.

The clubs say the riders bring needed business to Vermont communities, especially after they emerge from a year of pandemic-caused economic downturn.

Morristown in Lamoille County is the latest town to debate the issue. And there's strong pushback in an area of town known as Mud City.

Dairy farmer Selina Rooney lives there. She says her farm operation would be disrupted by ATV traffic on the dirt road.

“The cows are terrified of loud noises. And we move the milkers out to pasture every day,” Rooney said. “Every morning we move them out, we bring them back right before milking. If there were ATVs on the road, it would scare them too much. They would start running. And when one cow starts running, all 50 of them would be running.”

The selectboard says it wants to hold a townwide vote on whether to allow the ATVs on the roads.

Read or listen to the full story.

- John Dillon

5. Private art collection of late Brattleboro artists to go up for auction

The private art collection of Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason will be put up for auction next month.

Mara Williams is chairwoman of the Kahn Mason Foundation, and says some of the money from the auction will go toward preserving and cataloging the paintings of the two former Vermont artists.

“The sale of the third-party artwork is really the way that Wolf and Emily structured funding the two foundations to become legacy foundations,” Williams said.

The collection is expected to bring in up to $7 million and includes a Georgia O’Keefe painting.

Kahn and Mason had a home in Brattleboro. They both died about a year ago.

- Howard Weiss-Tisman

6. Legislature to weigh bill that would require most home contractors to register with the state

Gov. Phil Scott is asking lawmakers to delay consideration of legislation that would require most home contractors to register with the state.

The bill has passed the House and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.

Scott says this is the kind of bill that would greatly benefit from in-person testimony at the Statehouse, something that's not possible in this year's remote legislative session.

"I think some of the issues revolving around the pandemic, particularly this year, [include] a lack of opportunity for everyday citizens to engage with the Legislature when bills like this are being contemplated,” Scott said.

Backers of the bill say it will help reduce fraud, but Scott says he's concerned that it could have an adverse impact on smaller contractors.

- Bob Kinzel

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