Indiana Gov. Eric. J Holcomb signed new executive orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to a press release sent out Thursday. The current state of emergency has extended an additional 30 days.
All K-12 public schools will be closed until May 1, according to the press release. All non-public schools have also been ordered to close. The date could be revised to extend until the end of the 2019-20 school year.
Additionally, all state-mandated assessments will be suspended for the academic school year.
Holcomb has contacted U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to share Indiana’s plan and also has asked the state's Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick to pursue any federal waivers needed to cancel the requirements for accountability, chronic absenteeism and state-mandated assessments, it states.
Indiana will align with the federal government to delay state income tax payments from April 15 to July 15, according to the press release. The U.S. treasury will also extend the deadline to pay federal income tax by 90 days and penalties will be waived for 60 days on any property taxes paid after May 11.
The state will not immediately move forward with using $300 million in reserves to pay for several capital projects approved in the just-concluded legislative session and instead maintain flexibility to utilize the funds as needed for relief efforts and to maintain current services, the release stated. The state will consider using bonding authority to move forward with the just-approved capital projects.
Providers of any essential utilities, including gas, electric, broadband, telecom, water and wastewater services are prohibited from discontinuing their services during the public health emergency, according to the release.
Indiana's application to the Small Business Administration was approved on Wednesday, to provide targeted, low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses and nonprofits overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of coronavirus.
Unemployment insurance benefits
Indiana will interpret it's unemployment laws to the "broadest extent possible to cover Hoosiers who are out of work because of COVID-19," the release stated.
Benefits will be paid to anyone who file their initial unemployment claims late and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will allow individuals to continue to receive unemployment eligibility if they have to take work leave due to COVID-19, according to the release.
DWD will also look for federal authorization to provide workers who have just started a job and others who are not eligible with unemployment benefits.
In a press release sent out on Wednesday, Gov. Holcomb announced a new partnership between the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Eli Lilly and Company, which is being supported by the Food and Drug Administration.
Holcomb said in the release that this partnership will "accelerate" testing for COVID-19 in Indiana, where Lilly will use their research labs to analyze samples taken in Indiana health care facilities, such as nursing homes and emergency rooms, to "increase the state’s ability to conduct testing for COVID-19."