Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.

The number of known coronavirus cases in the District, Maryland and Virginia was 26,969 on Tuesday, with 14,206 cases in Maryland, 9,661 in Virginia and 3,102 in the District. The number of virus-related deaths was 659 in Maryland, 327 in Virginia and 112 in the District, for a total of 1,098 fatalities.

Here are some of the most significant recent developments as the region responds to the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease covid-19:

• The number of deaths attributed to covid-19 surpassed 1,000 on Tuesday in the District, Maryland and Virginia as known coronavirus cases in the region approached 27,000.

• Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday that he was doing what President Trump instructed states to do when he made the decision for Maryland to purchase 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea. During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Hogan said he did not know why Trump disparaged him during his news conference Monday night.

• The Scripps National Spelling Bee was canceled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak. Officials made the announcement Tuesday and said in a statement they canceled the event because there is “no clear path to safely set a new date in 2020.”

• Montgomery County lawmakers proposed a $2 million appropriation to protect tenants from eviction. The County Council introduced the proposal Tuesday, with funding set to go toward county efforts to end homelessness, including a short-term rental subsidy program, emergency eviction prevention and housing stabilization initiatives.

April 21, 2020 at 6:53 PM EDT

The live blog has ended for the day

See The Post’s continuing coverage on the coronavirus in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

By Washington Post Staff
April 21, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT

Civil rights advocates seek release of at-risk inmates, alleging unsanitary conditions at Prince George’s County jail in new federal lawsuit

Civil rights advocates are pressing for the release of Prince George’s County inmates at high risk of medical complications from covid-19 in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that describes unsanitary, crowded conditions at the jail.

The lawsuit alleges that county officials have ignored recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus and includes declarations from inmates who say they are living in filthy cells and lack access to medical care and basic hygiene products.

“I have not had a shower in nearly two weeks,” one inmate says in a declaration included in the lawsuit filed by the Civil Rights Corps. “Instead, I have been forced to wash myself as best I can in a dirty, mildewed sink. In the isolation cell, I had a bar of soap for myself, but now in the ten-man cell I have to share the sink and bar of soap with the other men in here.”

The county’s Department of Corrections reported its first positive case in the jail March 30. On Tuesday, an official said that more than 15 inmates and 21 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. The county also has the highest number of reported cases and deaths in the Washington region.

Andrew Cephas, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, said the director has not been officially been served and "she has not conferred with counsel, so we cannot comment at this time.”

The lawsuit was filed as an emergency class action on behalf of inmates with medical conditions that make them more susceptible to complications from covid-19. Among those identified in the court papers are inmates with chronic bronchitis and severe asthma, including those who have experienced symptoms of the virus. One asked for medical attention or a test, according to the lawsuit, but was refused and told that the medical unit was too full. Another inmate, according to the lawsuit, says he has not seen anyone clean or sanitize any surfaces in his unit.

“As COVID-19 sweeps through the facility, the jail’s abysmal conditions — overcrowding, poor sanitation, and inadequate health care — have only made the outbreak worse,” Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal-justice campaigns at Color of Change, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

“Jails are ill-equipped to handle a crisis of this magnitude. The best way to reduce the spread of the virus is to release as many people as possible.”

Prince George’s County prosecutors announced Monday that 150 inmates had been released from the jail in recent weeks in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Justin Jouvenal contributed to this report.

By Ann Marimow
April 21, 2020 at 4:52 PM EDT

Montgomery County nursing home connected to 85 cases of covid-19 and nine deaths

Eighty-five residents and staff at a nursing home in Montgomery County have tested positive for covid-19. The outbreak of the virus at Regency Care in Silver Spring is the largest known in the county and among the worst in Maryland.

As of Monday morning, 57 residents at the 92-bed facility had tested positive, said Mary Anderson, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services. Thirty residents are still at the nursing home, 18 have been hospitalized and nine have died. Twenty-eight staff members have also contracted the virus.

Regency Care did not respond to multiple calls and emails requesting comment. More than 40 nursing homes in Montgomery have reported cases of covid-19 among patients or staff, Anderson said.

As of Tuesday morning, the county of 1 million people had reported 116 covid-related deaths, including probable fatalities, and more than 2,700 known infections.

Raman Tuli, a geriatric doctor based in Montgomery, said at least 11 of her patients at Rockville Nursing Home have tested positive for the virus, and three have died. Numbers for the facility are higher, Tuli said. The facility’s website states in an announcement dated April 16 that seven residents had tested positive but does not mention any deaths.

A receptionist at the nursing home reached by The Washington Post said no one was available to provide updated numbers. Over the weekend, the federal government began requiring nursing homes to report cases of covid-19 to residents and their families within 12 hours of a confirmed case and to provide regular updates.

By Rebecca Tan
April 21, 2020 at 4:17 PM EDT

Hogan thanks Trump for access to federal labs for testing

During his third national media appearance of the day, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday continued to dismiss President Trump’s criticism of him, saying on ABC’s “The View” that it is Trump who appears misinformed about the state of testing in Maryland.

“The president seemed to be a little confused yesterday in his press conference,” said Hogan (R). “I have no idea what set him off.”

The governor and the president have tangled in recent days as Hogan, a Republican who once considered a primary challenge to Trump, draws national attention for his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday night, Trump singled out Hogan during a televised news briefing and said that “he needed to get a little knowledge” about lab testing options within Maryland’s borders. Testing shortages have stymied the country’s ability to contain the virus and could limit how quickly the economy can reopen once a surge in cases abates.

On Tuesday, Hogan continued to defend himself, saying that his acquisition of 500,000 tests from South Korea is an example of states following Trump’s advice to take charge of securing supplies to deal with the pandemic.

“He said we needed to be leading and we needed to be stepping up,” Hogan said. “That’s exactly what we have done.”

Separately, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) praised Hogan during his daily televised news briefing for getting the tests from another country, saying the federal government should be working with other nations and that “Larry Hogan is a better governor.”

During Hogan’s appearance on “The View,” he renewed another criticism he has leveled at Trump, saying the president is contradicting his own guidance when he encourages people to protest stay-at-home orders meant to hinder the virus’s spread.

“It’s unhelpful. It doesn’t make any sense, the mixed messaging we’re getting out of the president,” Hogan said. “In our state, and in most of the states where he’s encouraging protests, we don’t have 14 days of downward numbers, which is what the president’s plan … called for,” Hogan said, referring to federal guidance that recommends widespread social distancing until states see two weeks of declining coronavirus caseloads.

“He basically was encouraging people to violate his own federal policy,” Hogan said.

Later in the day, Hogan publicly released a letter to Trump thanking the federal government for offering use of federal labs for the state’s testing needs. He noted that he, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) had asked for federal help for testing in the capital region more than a month ago. And he asked for guidance on how he can immediately access federal labs.

“As chair of the National Governors Association, I want to thank you for the continued coordination between federal, state and local governments during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hogan’s letter began.

He continued: “The federal labs can be key to our utilizing the 500,000 test we recently acquired from South Korea and our comprehensive recovery plan to get Marylanders back to work as safely and quickly as possible. I was grateful to hear of your generous offer to allow the State of Maryland to access these federal labs for our testing.”

By Erin Cox
April 21, 2020 at 4:14 PM EDT

Virginia House GOP leaders appeal to Gov. Ralph Northam to ease business restrictions

Top Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates have asked Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to consider allowing nonessential businesses to begin to reopen under guidelines for sanitizing and social distancing, saying the state’s economy cannot continue to suffer under a shutdown.

“Before you read any further, we want you and anyone else who may read this correspondence to understand that we are not about to ask you to simply return Virginia to normal overnight,” House minority leader Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) and two other GOP leaders wrote to Northam on Tuesday.

Acknowledging that the continuing pandemic creates a situation “far from normal,” Gilbert urged Northam to “consider utilizing the expertise at your disposal” to rethink the near-total business shutdown. “Increased hand-washing, social distancing, self-seclusion and all other manner of pandemic-induced vigilance and social courtesy” are now pervasive enough that businesses, under state guidance, could reopen their doors, Gilbert wrote.

He was joined by the GOP caucus chair, Del. Kathy Byron (Lynchburg), and whip James A. “Jay” Leftwich Jr. (Chesapeake). Republicans have generally supported Northam’s efforts since he declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak March 12. But when the ban on nonessential businesses such as barbershops and movie theaters was set to expire April 23, Northam extended it for two weeks until May 8 — and several Republican lawmakers began to speak up.

A group of Republican senators wrote Northam last week, complaining that the economy could not bear such continued restrictions. The new letter comes a day before the General Assembly will reconvene in Richmond to take up any amendments proposed by Northam to the 1,291 pieces of legislation passed during the regular legislative session.

“The threat of COVID-19 is real, and serious,” the House GOP leaders wrote. “But as two weeks have become a month, and one month threatens to become two, far too many Virginians are being kept on the sidelines, unable to innovate to keep their small part of our Commonwealth’s — and their personal — economy running.”

Northam said this week that he is anxious to reopen Virginia’s economy but that he will follow federal guidelines calling for 14 days of declining numbers of coronavirus cases before lifting restrictions. State models suggest that the curve of infection could begin to bend downward by the end of this week, Northam said Monday.

Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said in response to the letter Tuesday that “the Governor is grateful for this input, and is pleased that these legislators’ share his belief in a gradual, science-driven approach to reopening."

“We are continuing to follow the White House guidelines, and our team has been working closely with public health experts, businesses, and industry stakeholders to ensure that when we are able to reopen, we do so in a responsible way.”

By Gregory S. Schneider
April 21, 2020 at 4:04 PM EDT

Covid-19 case numbers continue climbing in Maryland’s state prisons

The number of covid-19 cases continues to rise inside Maryland state prisons, with 39 inmates and 107 correctional officers having tested positive for the virus, officials said Tuesday.

The prison system has reported one death: an inmate from the Jessup Correctional Institution, who was in his 60s and had underlying health issues.

Most of the cases are confined to a handful of the state’s prison facilities. The highest total is at Jessup Correctional, with 15 inmates and 16 correctional officers testing positive.

Elsewhere in the state:

Dorsey Run Correctional Facility in Jessup, with four inmates and 15 correctional officers testing positive.

The Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center in Baltimore, with one inmate and 24 correctional officers testing positive.

The Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, with 10 inmates and 20 correctional officers testing positive.

By Dan Morse
April 21, 2020 at 2:51 PM EDT

Essential employees in Md. can get haircuts under new order allowing barbershops, salons to reopen by appointment only

Essential employees in Maryland will be able to get haircuts under new guidelines issued this week that allow barbershops and hair salons to operate by appointment only.

The guidelines, issued Monday, require workers who are deemed essential to present letters from their employers at haircut appointments. Barbershops and salons have been shut down since March 30, when residents were ordered to stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Businesses that had previously been allowed to remain open were encouraged to take steps to scale down in-person contacts and to allow employees to work remotely. Before the stay-at-home order, barbershops and salons were allowed to continue one-on-one services, according to previous guidance from Gov. Larry Hogan’s office of legal counsel.

A spokesman for Hogan (R) did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday on why the change was made. The new guidelines require barbershops and salons to adhere to certain rules to operate, including allowing only one customer in the shop or salon at a time; requiring the customer and barber or stylist to wear a mask (except when a face covering on the customer would make it impossible for services to be performed); and disinfecting after each customer.

“It is generally assumed that this enforcement recommendation will be used for military personnel, first responders and other essential workers required to maintain certain, well-documented grooming standards as part of their profession, or where ungroomed hair could pose a safety risk,” the policy stated.

Hogan has said repeatedly that he does not intend to reopen the state economy until certain benchmarks are met. The governor is expected to release details of his recovery plan later this week. He has noted that President Trump’s coronavirus task force has recommended that states record 14 straight days of declining hospitalizations, ICU bed use and deaths before reopening.

Hogan said Tuesday during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he plans to reopen Maryland’s economy “as soon as we possibly can and when it’s safe to do so. … We have numbers going up, so we’re not quite there yet.”

By Ovetta Wiggins
April 21, 2020 at 2:07 PM EDT

Congressional aid bill expected this week won’t include $700 million sought by D.C., city says

D.C. officials say they do not expect Congress to grant their request for an additional $700 million in covid-19 relief funds in legislation likely to pass this week.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and others plan to keep asking lawmakers to include the money in future bills. The funds would have been allocated in earlier legislation if the federal government had defined the nation’s capital as a state rather than a territory.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the city’s nonvoting representative in the House, said more than half of Democrats in Congress have supported the District’s push for full funding, but it is unlikely to be included in the latest bill.

“We have not given up, but there is no money in there for cities and states as I speak at the moment,” Norton said in an interview Tuesday. “That significantly reduces our chances to get something in there for one city, even one that has, forgive my expression, been screwed.”

By Fenit Nirappil
April 21, 2020 at 1:35 PM EDT

Large jump in cases reported among inmates, staff at Prince George’s jail

More than 15 inmates and 21 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus at the Prince George’s County detention center, an official said Tuesday.

The numbers are a large jump since the county’s Department of Corrections last issued a news release on cases on April 2. At that time, three inmates and one officer had tested positive.

Andrew Cephas, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections, wrote in an email that “approximately 17 inmates” had tested positive for the virus. He did not immediately explain why officials were offering an estimated figure.

“None of these individuals are acutely ill and they are all isolated from the general population,” Cephas wrote.

Three of the staff members have recovered and returned to work, Cephas said. Prince George’s County officials announced Monday that 150 inmates had been released from the jail in recent weeks in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

By Justin Jouvenal
April 21, 2020 at 12:28 PM EDT

Nurses read names of colleagues who died of the coronavirus in front of the White House

Registered nurses gathered Tuesday in front of the White House to read the names of health-care workers who have died fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Wearing masks and standing six feet apart, the nurses held up photographs of the deceased as Melody Jones, a member of the National Nurses United union, addressed the news media in an otherwise empty Lafayette Square.

The names came from all over the country — New York and Alabama, Puerto Rico and Nevada, California and Michigan, Florida and Maryland, New Jersey and the District.

A man in blue scrubs stood behind Jones as she read, holding a metallic gold sign painted with the message: “20 seconds won’t scrub ‘hero’ blood off your hands.”

“Let us remember and honor the ultimate sacrifice these nurses paid,” Jones said. “We commit ourselves to fight like hell for the living.”

The protest stood in stark contrast to demonstrations in recent days in some parts of the country in which protesters have demanded the reopening of nonessential businesses. Nurses have been spotted at those gatherings, too, standing arms crossed, in opposition to demonstrators, many of whom are unmasked and milling in crowds.

By Marissa Lang
April 21, 2020 at 11:21 AM EDT

Montgomery lawmakers want to ban rent hikes, allocate $2 million to protect tenants

Montgomery County lawmakers have proposed a $2 million appropriation to protect tenants from eviction.

The County Council introduced the proposal Tuesday, with funding set to go toward county efforts to end homelessness, including a short-term rental subsidy program, emergency eviction prevention and housing stabilization initiatives.

“In 10 days, rent is going to be due for the 130,000 renter households here in Montgomery County,” said County Council member Evan Glass (D-At Large). “And while we’re all trying to maintain our health and safety, the last thing we want anybody to worry about is being forced out of their homes.”

In addition to Tuesday’s appropriation, lawmakers have called on County Executive Marc Elrich (D) to expand the eligibility criteria for rental assistance programs and create a multilingual hotline within the housing stabilization unit to field questions from residents.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has ordered a temporary halt to all evictions, but local tenant advocates say this has not stopped landlords from sending out threats of future evictions or “notices to vacate,” which are not legally enforceable but have caused tenants distress.

Some landlords have also tried to raise rents in recent weeks, said Matt Losak, executive director of the Montgomery County Renters Alliance. In response, Montgomery lawmakers introduced the Renter Relief Act, which would prohibit rent hikes during states of emergency.

The County Council is set to vote on both the proposed legislation and the supplemental appropriation next week.

By Rebecca Tan
April 21, 2020 at 11:16 AM EDT

Coronavirus death toll tops 1,000 in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

The covid-19 death toll in the District, Maryland and Virginia sailed past 1,000 Tuesday after 102 additional fatalities were reported.

Maryland added 70 fatalities, about double its single-day increase of recent days, bringing its confirmed dead to 659. Virginia reported 24 deaths, increasing its death toll to 327. The District disclosed another seven dead, bringing the total to 112.

In all, the region has lost 1,098 to covid-19. In the District and its more immediate suburbs, the death toll is 489.

Montgomery and Prince George’s counties each have about 120 deaths, with Fairfax County reporting the most fatalities of any Northern Virginia locality, with 66.

The rise in deaths was expected, with officials still waiting to see if drastic social distancing measures have slowed new infections that could turn deadly in a matter of weeks.

The District, Maryland and Virginia also reported 1,327 new positive coronavirus test results Tuesday, an increase on par with recent days, bringing the regional total to nearly 27,000.

Those figures are almost certainly an undercount because of a shortage in testing kits, leaving many asymptomatic people or those with mild symptoms without official confirmation that they are carrying the virus. It can also take weeks for an infected person to test positive after developing symptoms and waiting for test results, which could take more than a week.

Officials said they want to see two weeks of declining new infections before lifting covid-19 restrictions. But daily increases in new cases in the District, Maryland and Virginia have been fairly stable for the past week.

By Fenit Nirappil
April 21, 2020 at 10:12 AM EDT

National Spelling Bee canceled for first time since 1945

The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Officials made the announcement Tuesday and said in a statement that they had canceled the event because there is “no clear path to safely set a new date in 2020.”

The only other time the spelling bee was canceled was 1943 through 1945, during World War II. The first Scripps spelling bee was in 1925.

Spelling bee organizers said last month they were postponing this year’s event, but they didn’t give a new date.

In Tuesday’s announcement, organizers said they will not change the requirements for those who are eligible for next year’s spelling bee, scheduled for June 2021 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Prince George’s County. The bee is open to kids up to the eighth grade.

“Our hearts go out to the spellers who won’t get their final shot at winning because of the pandemic and the difficult decisions it is prompting us to make,” spelling bee executive director Paige Kimble said a statement.

By Dana Hedgpeth
April 21, 2020 at 9:44 AM EDT

Hogan: Trump told governors to ‘get it done,’ and ‘then we did get it done, and then we got criticized’

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday that he was doing what President Trump instructed states to do when he made the decision for Maryland to purchase 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Hogan said he did not know why Trump disparaged him during his news conference Monday night.

“This is exactly what the president has told us to do,” Hogan said. “He was saying that the governors were responsible for this, they’re on the front lines, we should just get it done. And then we did get it done, and then we got criticized.”

Hogan said he had a “great conversation” with Vice President Pence and Trump’s coronavirus task force on Monday, when he said he thanked the federal government for its work. “Somehow it went off the rails yesterday in that news conference,” he said, “but I have no idea why.”

Trump said during the news conference that Hogan didn’t need to go to South Korea for the tests and that there are labs in Maryland that the federal government identified.

“They’re not tests. They’re just labs that don’t have any tests,” Hogan said.

The governor again thanked his wife, Yumi, who grew up in Seoul, for helping to set the deal in motion.

Since taking office, Hogan and the first lady have built a strong relationship with the South Korean ambassador to the United States, the president and the first lady.

He said the $9 million purchase will make “a huge difference” in Maryland’s effort to stem the spread and the state’s ability to reopen. Hogan said states have been competing on the open market with one another and with the federal government.

“I’m not sure it should have been that way, but that’s the way it is,” he said. “That’s the way the president said it had to be, and so that’s what we were operating under.”

By Ovetta Wiggins
April 21, 2020 at 8:29 AM EDT

D.C. expected to reach infection peak in middle or late May, mayor says

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Tuesday that the city is expected to see its peak level of coronavirus infections in mid-to-late May and that hospitalizations would follow.

On NBC4, Bowser said the city’s convention center is being prepared to accommodate between 500 and 1,200 beds, but she called it “our insurance policy” and said she hopes “we never have to use them.”

The District has “lower levels of infection than we expected,” the mayor said, “but we continue to see growing cases.” Bowser reminded residents to stay home if they feel sick and noted that the city has 10 testing sites available.

She said on WJLA that Washington will follow a judge’s order to make improvements at St. Elizabeths Hospital and the city’s jail. Bowser said those facilities will provide more “entertainment options” so inmates at the jail are not crowded around one television, as a judge suggested. She said jail employees and inmates would be better trained on using personal protection equipment.

She said that D.C. police are enforcing social distancing and that 23 businesses have been cited for opening when they were not deemed essential. No one has been arrested, she said. Bowser said “D.C. residents and businesses have made tremendous sacrifices” in following orders to stay at home.

The mayor noted on Fox 5 that more than 70 percent of deaths from the virus in the District are among African Americans. She said the city is working to get more tests.

While overall deaths are lower than initially expected, Bowser cautioned that the D.C. economy cannot reopen until there are two weeks of decreases in new infections.

“We’re not there in the region,” she said. “We have to be smart about how we turn on our economy.”

On the radio show WPGC, Bowser said officials “are not ready to say” whether there will be summer school or when school will start in-person learning for the next academic year.

“We want to get our kids back,” she said. “We’re going to be working hard to try to do that.”

Officials are looking at three weeks in August to see if schools could start earlier and how many families could be served. But she cautioned that those plans are “driven by the virus."

By Dana Hedgpeth
April 21, 2020 at 7:27 AM EDT

Fairfax temporarily cancels face-to-face video instruction, retains law firm to review botched debut of online learning

Fairfax County Public Schools is canceling face-to-face virtual instruction for now and launching an outside review of its distance learning, as a second attempt to launch online offerings sputtered Monday morning and as new evidence emerged that employees warned of possible technical troubles weeks ago.

After abruptly canceling online learning last week, Fairfax, one of the country’s largest school districts, tried again Monday morning. But parents, teachers and students reported difficulties logging in to Blackboard, the district’s virtual learning platform. For some who could get online, class materials took too long to load, audio would not play or video froze repeatedly.

In a midday message to families, Fairfax administrators said the 189,000-student school district would continue “with distance learning today despite the continuing problems.” The message noted that system updates implemented by Blackboard over the weekend had not corrected technical problems.

In a statement, Blackboard said that it was “working around the clock” to fix the problems and that the system is “currently working properly.”

But late Monday, Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand wrote in a message to families that the district would “move away from Blackboard . . . as a tool for face to face instruction.” He said students and teachers would continue to use the technology to “access instructional resources and supports.”

By Hannah Natanson
April 21, 2020 at 7:25 AM EDT

Students are pressing colleges to keep paying campus workers. Colleges are listening (for now).

As dining workers at the University of Virginia closed up shop last month, students asked how they were faring with the sudden closure of the Charlottesville campus. Not well, the line cooks, cashiers and servers said: They had been laid off by their employer, Aramark.

Students petitioned the university to continue paying the people who kept them fed on campus. And it worked — or so it seemed: Last week, U-Va. announced a $2 million emergency assistance fund for employees and furloughed contract workers. Student activists praised the school.

Then they learned that money from the fund cannot be used to pay credit card bills, child support or any other reoccurring expense. And that applicants have to detail eligible bills, explain how they are attributed to coronavirus and attest in writing that insurance will not cover them.

“I’m confused about why there are so many restrictions, why the funds can’t be distributed evenly among people who need it,” said Abasenia Joie Asuquo, a senior at U-Va. who petitioned the university to support displaced workers and students. “I’m disappointed there’s all of this fine print."

As the novel coronavirus forced college campuses to close or scale down operations, many security guards, janitors and dining-hall workers, employed by independent contractors, were left without work. Universities came under pressure from students to tap often vast financial reserves to help. But the response has been mixed, and some solutions are proving more cumbersome than students anticipated.

By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel