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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Hans Taparia On The Move To Virtual College

Credit...Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe, via Getty Images
OPINION
The Future of College Is Online, and It’s Cheaper
The coronavirus forced a shift to virtual classes, but their continuation could be beneficial even after the pandemic ends.
Mr. Taparia is a clinical associate professor at the New York University Stern School of Business.

Forty years ago, going to college in America was a reliable pathway for upward mobility. Today, it has become yet another 21st-century symbol of privilege for the wealthy. Through this period, tuition rates soared 260 percent, double the rate of inflation. In 2019, the average cost of attending a four-year private college was over $200,000. For a four-year public college, it was over $100,000. To sustain these prices, more students are now admitted from the top 1 percent of the income scale than the entire bottom 40 percent at the top 80 colleges. Universities have also opened the floodgates to wealthy international students, willing to pay full tuition for the American brand.

Covid-19 is about to ravage that business model. Mass unemployment is looming large and is likely to put college out of reach for many. With America now the epicenter of the pandemic and bungling its response, many students are looking to defer enrollment. Foreign students are questioning whether to register at all, with greater uncertainty around visas and work prospects. The “Trump Effect” had already begun to cause declining foreign student enrollment over the past three years.

The mightiest of institutions are bracing for the worst. Harvard, home to the country’s largest endowment, recently announced drastic steps to manage the fallout, including salary cuts for its leadership, hiring freezes and cuts in discretionary spending. Most other universities have been forced to make similar decisions, and are nervous that if they continue with online teaching this fall, students will demand at least a partial remission of tuition.

Up until now, online education has been relegated to the equivalent of a hobby at most universities. With the pandemic, it has become a backup plan. But if universities embrace this moment strategically, online education could expand access exponentially and drop its cost by magnitudes — all while shoring up revenues for universities in a way that is more recession-proof, policy-proof and pandemic-proof.

To be clear, the scramble to move online over just a few days this March did not go well. Faculty members were forced to revamp lesson plans overnight. “Zoom-bombers” took advantage of lax privacy protocols. Students fled home, with many in faraway time zones prolonging jet lag just to continue synchronous learning. Not surprisingly, the experience for both students and faculty has left much to be desired. According to one survey, more than 75 percent of students do not feel they received a quality learning experience after classrooms closed.

But what surveys miss are the numerous spirited efforts to break new ground, as only a crisis can be the impetus for.

One professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts taught a drama course that allows students to “act” with each other in virtual reality using Oculus Quest headsets. A music professor at Stanford trained his students on software that allows musicians in different locations to perform together using internet streaming. Professors are pioneering new methods and ed-tech companies are developing platforms at a pace not seen before, providing a glimpse into the untapped potential of online education. Not to be forgotten, of course, is the fact that just a few years ago, a transition to online learning at the current scale would have been unimaginable.

Before the pandemic, most universities never truly embraced online education, at least not strategically. For years, universities have allowed professors to offer some courses online, making them accessible through aggregators such as edX or Coursera. But rarely do universities offer their most popular and prestigious degrees remotely. It is still not possible to get an M.B.A. at Stanford, a biology degree at M.I.T. or a computer science degree at Brown online.

On one hand, universities don’t want to be seen as limiting access to education, so they have dabbled in the space. But to fully embrace it might render much of the faculty redundant, reduce the exclusivity of those degrees, and threaten the very existence of the physical campus, for which vast resources have been allocated over centuries

For good reason, many educators have been skeptical of online learning. They have questioned how discussion-based courses, which require more intimate settings, would be coordinated. They wonder how lab work might be administered. Of course, no one doubts that the student experience would not be as holistic. But universities don’t need to abandon in-person teaching for students who see the value in it.

They simply need to create “parallel” online degrees for all their core degree programs. By doing so, universities could expand their reach by thousands, creating the economies of scale to drop their costs by tens of thousands.

There are a few, but instructive, examples of prestigious universities that have already shown the way. Georgia Tech, a top engineering school, launched an online masters in computer science in 2014. The degree costs just $7,000 (one-sixth the cost of its in-person program), and the school now has nearly 10,000 students enrolled, making it the largest computer science program in the country. Notably, the online degree has not cannibalized its on-campus revenue stream. Instead, it has opened up a prestigious degree program to a different population, mostly midcareer applicants looking for a meaningful skills upgrade.

Similarly, in 2015, the University of Illinois launched an online M.B.A. for $22,000, a fraction of the cost of most business schools. In order to provide a forum for networking and experiential learning, critical to the business school experience, the university created micro-immersions, where students can connect with other students and work on live projects at companies at a regional level.

To do this would require a major reorientation of university resources and activities. Classrooms would need to be fitted with new technology so that lectures could be simultaneously delivered to students on campus as well as across the world. Professors would need to undergo training on how to effectively teach to a blended classroom. Universities would also be well served to build competencies in content production. Today, almost all theory-based content, whether in chemistry, computer science or finance, can be produced in advance and effectively delivered asynchronously. By tapping their best-rated professors to be the stars of those productions, universities could actually raise the pedagogical standard.

There are already strong examples of this. Most biology professors, for instance, would find themselves hard pressed to match the pedagogical quality, production values and inspirational nature of Eric Lander’s online Introduction to Biology course at M.I.T. That free course currently has over 134,000 students enrolled this semester.

Once universities have developed a library of content, they can choose to draw from it for asynchronous delivery for years, both for their on-campus and online programs. Students may not mind. It would, after all, open up professor capacity for a larger number of live interactions. Three-hour lectures, which were never good for anyone, would become a thing of the past. Instead, a typical day might be broken up into one-hour sessions with a focus on problem-solving, Q. and A. or discussion.

Many universities are sounding bold about reopening in-person instruction this fall. The current business model requires them to, or face financial ruin. But a hasty decision driven by the financial imperative could prove lethal, and do little to help them weather a storm. The pandemic provides universities an opportunity to reimagine education around the pillars of access and affordability with the myriad tools and techniques now at their disposal. It could make them true pathways of upward mobility again.


Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ.com
Editor, ADVOCATZ blog
Editor, Parentadvocates.org
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

NYCLU: Communities of Color Have Been Put At Risk Because of Public Policy


HOW THE GOVERNMENT CREATED HIGH-RISK COMMUNITIES
NYCLU
By Toni Smith-Thompson, Senior Organizer, Field
MAY 22, 2020 - 3:15PM



Governor Cuomo said in late March that the coronavirus "doesn't discriminate." But, as early as January 2020, when the pandemic was reportedly likely to hit China's poor residents hardest, it was clear that COVID-19 would most severely impact "at-risk" communities in the United States and New York as well.
This week, the New York State legislature held a hearing exploring solutions to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on "minority communities." The NYCLU's testimony called for a range of remedies for people and communities of color, who – according to state and national data – are being hit hardest by this pandemic.
Contrary to common assertions, communities of color aren't at greater risk because of personal choices. Communities of color have been consistently put at risk because of public policy.
This public health crisis has exposed the detrimental effects of systemic racism on the socioeconomic and environmental conditions that largely determine a person's health. 
Health outcomes at the individual and community levels are deeply impacted by social environment. These factors include income, education level, family and social support, and experience of discrimination, as well as physical environment – including place of residence, crowding conditions, air and water quality, and transportation systems.
In turn, these factors tend to determine a person or community's "health services environment," which includes people's access to and quality of care.
Taken together, this means that socioeconomic factors, environmental factors, and their interaction with access to care are far more determinative of health outcomes than individual behaviors.  
The COVID-19 pandemic technically began in late December of last year, when the first known case was confirmed. But it also began in the 1930s, when the Federal Housing Authority subsidized the development of entire suburbs, with the requirement that no homes be sold to African Americans. And in the 1940s, when the GI Bill was structured to deny benefits to African-Americans. And in the many instances of land theft from Indigenous nations. And when neighborhoods of color were used as dumping grounds for toxic waste. 
It is time to remove the risks imposed upon communities of color and repair the generations of harms they've caused.
Decades of public policy decisions led to deep divisions in who has land, space, and clean air. While that has always resulted in inequities, they are especially stark now, as data continues to show that people living in high-density, historically redlined neighborhoods are being hit hardest by COVID-19.
Similarly, concerns about remote learning and the "digital divide" seem new, but they are the product of decades of unequal school funding that funneled more resources to already wealthy school districts and left under-resourced communities behind, even though they are facing the greatest barriers to remote education right now.
And, while the outbreak of COVID-19 in jails and prisons across the country started just a few months ago, it is the result of decades of mass incarceration that punished, exploited, and denied liberty to people of color.
New York's carceral system's destruction of communities of color reflects the decades of public policy choices: racist mandatory minimum prison sentences under the Rockefeller Drug Lawsbroken windows policing, the cash bail system, the torture of solitary confinement, voter disenfranchisement, housing and employment restrictions, and the policing of children at school.
Syracuse provides a stark example of the ways in which race, social and environmental factors, and government policy have interacted to predetermine the virus' impact.
In Syracuse, many of the neighborhoods most affected by COVID were once redlined – a historic practice that denied Black people access to quality housing. Across New York as well as in Syracuse, the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID are the neighborhoods with the lowest proportion of white residents.
A review of EPA Lead Paint and Respiratory Hazard Indexes in Syracuse also shows that the communities most impacted by COVID are more exposed to ongoing environmental hazards, and more likely to be food deserts. Neighborhoods like these are also likely to be those where employment and income levels lag behind, which hurts the tax base and causes underfunding of education.   
These conditions are compounded by the mental, emotional and physical effects of perpetually experiencing state-sanctioned violence and terror that accompany racism.
The collective experience of a pandemic causes a myriad of traumas related to exposure to the virus, social isolation, loss of loved ones, loss of work and education, community devastation, and more. We have yet to appreciate the long-term impacts of this crisis.
But when it comes to the physical and psychological toll of racism, too often, public policy narratives focus far more on the perceived deficits of communities of color.
We must shift the focus towards undoing oppressive conditions, through policing and criminal legal system reforms that reduce the number of people who are arrested and behind bars, stronger worker protections that will especially benefit people of color and immigrant New Yorkers, and investments in education.
As we advocate for policy solutions to mitigate the immediate harms to people and communities in this period of crisis, we must also address structural racism – a foundational policy undergirding the inequities we seek to fix.
It is time to remove the risks imposed upon communities of color and repair the generations of harms they've caused.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Miranda Devine: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a Hypocrite on Life, Death and Nursing Homes



The updates posted below about the dead=trash nursing home scandal in New York show that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his brother Chris Cuomo, and the Cuomo cabal could not care less about what the general public thinks about their health and welfare for NY State's citizens into a trash bin.

The real tragedy is that New Yorkers have a clown as the Governor, a man who wants fame and glory much more than the safety of the people in his constituency. 

And, he's blaming everyone but himself for the scandal.

Wake up, New York!

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ.com
Editor, ADVOCATZ blog
Editor, Parentadvocates.org
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a hypocrite on life, death and nursing homes: Devine
NY POST May 20, 2020
In his daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was as haughty and boastful as ever.
The difference this time was that the Albany press pack didn’t give him a free pass.
It’s incredible how highly he rates himself when he has presided over the most COVID deaths of any state in the nation by far — 22,976 as of Wednesday, some seven times more than California, 11 times more than Florida. New York still hasn’t come to grips with why that is. The disparity is not a random act of God, as the governor would have us believe.
He bears at least some culpability. He was slower to respond to the threat of the virus. And then he compounded that error with the unforgivably callous act of forcing nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients — a death sentence for other residents as the infection spread like wildfire.
And yet, not a trace of worry do we see on Cuomo’s tanned face.
There is no remorse, just buck-passing.
Wednesday, for instance, he blamed President Trump for the nursing-home deaths. The chutzpah is astonishing.
But at least he faced tough questions about a potential federal probe into his March 25 directive to nursing homes.
“I have refrained from politics,” he said, laughably. “But anyone who wants to ask ‘why did the state do that with COVID patients and nursing homes,’ it’s because the state followed President Trump’s CDC guidance.
“So they should ask President Trump.”
Cuomo even tried to claim that the more-than-5,500 deaths connected to nursing homes in New York was a better toll, per capita, than most other states.
Howard Zucker
But the state Department of Health seems to have fudged the death toll, admitting it does not count nursing-home residents who ended up dying in hospital of the coronavirus, so the real numbers are much higher.
Asked about this convenient accounting, Cuomo returned to Trump: “The state followed President Trump’s CDC guidance . . . No numbers were changed.”
A reporter pointed out that Cuomo has shown a “willingness to thwart President Trump at other times.” Why not on his March 25 nursing-home directive?
Good question, which ­Cuomo couldn’t answer.
Instead, he switched to blaming the nursing homes.
“In retrospect, do you think that was a bad decision? Do you think it contributed to the death toll?”
“No,” said Cuomo. “Because you have to be saying the nursing homes were wrong in accepting COVID-positive patients.”
It is Kafkaesque. First, he orders nursing homes to obey a directive with his name emblazoned at the top of the page: “All NHs must comply with the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals . . . No resident shall be denied readmis­sion or admission to the NH solely on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.”
The nursing homes were “prohibited” in that March 25 directive even from COVID-testing discharged patients.
But now that the policy has blown up in his face, he blames those same nursing homes for doing what he ordered them to do.
“We always had alternative beds . . . Any nursing home could just say, ‘I can’t handle a COVID person.’ ”
Yet in April he told a reporter at a press conference that the nursing homes “don’t have the right to object.”
His reversal of the directive on Mother’s Day was a tacit acknowledgement of wrong­doing, as was the legal indemnity for nursing homes that he reportedly slipped into the state budget in late March.
The terrible thing about ­Cuomo is that he has the appearance of being everything he’s not. He is a facsimile of a take-charge alpha male who stands up and takes responsibility. In reality, he behaves like a dithering, vain, deceitful bully.
He appears to be a moral Catholic family man who talks about his days as an altar boy and expresses concern for the sanctity of life.
“To me, I say the cost of a human life, a human life is priceless. Period,” he philosophized one day while trying to justify his decision to keep everyone in lockdown.
But it’s not true. He doesn’t think every human life is precious at all.
Last year he pushed for ­euthanasia legislation and gloated about signing into law the state’s late-term abortion laws. He even had One World Trade Center lit in hot pink in an obscene celebration of death.
And didn’t he just tell us breezily last week, as the heat from his nursing-home fiasco dialed up: “Older people, vulnerable people are going to die from this virus. That is going to happen despite whatever you do.”
He made sure of it.
We knew from the start of the pandemic that the frail elderly were most at risk. Florida, with its big retired population, moved early to protect nursing homes.
A mistake is one thing, but Cuomo’s lack of remorse or self-doubt is chilling.
“I feel very good about how exhaustive I have been in communicating,” he boasted on Wednesday.
It is true he has been communicating “exhaustively.”
His “love gov” routine — joking around with his brother on CNN and strutting his stuff as New York’s most eligible bachelor — has done wonders for his approval ratings.
But it doesn’t save the people who died distressing deaths, unnecessarily and alone, in nursing homes that he knew could barely cope at the best of times.
Cuomo brothers' jokey CNN interview ignoring nursing home controversy sparks outrage

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker's approach to the coronavirus crisis in nursing
homes is even worse than critics thought. Credit: 
Hans Pennink


Health Commissioner Zucker’s nursing-home failures were worse than thought

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker’s approach to the coronavirus crisis in nursing homes is even worse than we’d thought: It turns out his Department of Health didn’t even try to track deaths in homes for a full month after the state reported its first fatalities.
New York’s first confirmed COVID-19 deaths came March 14, but it wasn’t until April 17 that DOH began comprehensively asking nursing-home administrators how many residents had died of the disease, the Syracuse Post-Standard has revealed.
The department was in contact — sending daily questionnaires asking how many masks and how much hand sanitizer homes had on hand, among other data. But it wasn’t until news broke of growing outrage among residents’ families that the state thought to systematically ask the most crucial question.
And then DOH just flailed: It e-mailed homes on April 17 at 7:03 a.m. to ask, “What is the total number of residents who have died in your nursing home of COVID-19?” It set an 8:45 a.m. deadline for replies.
The next day, it ordered administrators to document every coronavirus death over the prior six weeks — in a noon e-mail with a 2:30 p.m. deadline.
All this, as Zucker mandated on March 25 that homes take in COVID-positive patients. That’s right: He gave that order without having even tried to learn how many residents were dying from the bug. (Then again, this is the guy who ordered EMTs to not bother trying to resuscitate heart-attack victims until The Post exposed that madness.)
Zucker seems to have focused purely on keeping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, to the point of sending infected patients into the facilities housing those most vulnerable to the bug. Now the virus has taken some 5,600 nursing-home lives, and experts believe the true toll is far higher.
Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly insisted his team is basing all its moves on the data, yet Zucker wasn’t even collecting key info on the most at-risk population. Surely the Empire State deserves a better health commissioner than this.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

‘We’re Just Horrified’: Why a Springsteen Sideman Took On Nursing Homes

Credit...Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
The "nursing home scandal is not going away soon.

See:

Michael Goodwin: Cuomo’s Nursing Home Reversal is Too Little, Too Late For Those Now Dead


CNN: New York City Puts Bodies Into Trucks Lacking Refrigeration, Lies About Numbers of Dead From COVID-19



'We’re Just Horrified’: Why a Springsteen Sideman Took On Nursing Homes

After his mother-in-law was infected with the coronavirus, a guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band became determined to make nursing homes accountable.

When the coronavirus outbreak was only manifesting itself in horrifying headlines from Italy and China, Nils Lofgren, the guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and his wife, Amy, moved her mother into Brookdale Senior Living, a well-regarded long term care facility in Florham Park, N.J.

Almost immediately, Patricia J. Landers, Mrs. Lofgren’s mother, began complaining about missing medications and lapses in supervision. The family began to notice a pattern of neglect, particularly in treating her dementia. Then, in early April, Mrs. Landers, 83, was discovered by local police officers walking aimlessly on a frigid night, three miles away from Brookdale, shivering, bruised and confused. It was her fourth escape from the facility since she arrived in January.

A week later, Mrs. Landers was admitted to a hospital in Montclair, where she tested positive for Covid-19.

Incensed and feeling betrayed, the Lofgrens began to explore legal options when they ran into a troubling trend: Lobbyists from nursing homes across the country were pushing for immunity protection from lawsuits during the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s a pledge they made, a sacred pledge, to take care of your father, your mother, your grandparents, and they put it in writing, by the way, and now they don’t want to have any responsibilities because, why, it’s too hard?” Mr. Lofgren said. The family accelerated their efforts and filed a lawsuit against Brookdale on Wednesday.

“We’re just horrified that people’s first reaction is, ‘Well we’re making a lot of money, but now let’s make sure we’re not liable for what we promised to do, in writing,’” Mr. Lofgren said. “Don’t forget, they look you in the eye and say your loved one will be cared for.”
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Brookdale declined to discuss Mrs. Landers’s case specifically.

“As a matter of company policy, Brookdale does not comment on or get ahead of ongoing legal proceedings,” said Heather Hunter, a public relations manager for the company. “I will say that we work hard to maintain an open and constructive dialogue with families about their loved one and the best way that we can work together to help each resident live their best life in their community.”

Brookdale in Florham Park has, as of Wednesday, only 10 reported cases of coronavirus at the facility, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. No one at the facility has died from the virus. After her original diagnosis, Ms. Landers is now recovering from Covid-19.

As nursing homes around the country have been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, killing more than 29,100 residents and staff members as of Wednesday, facilities have been scrambling to protect themselves from lawsuits.

In April, New Jersey’s governor, Philip D. Murphy, signed a law that “provides civil and criminal immunity to certain health care professionals and health care facilities during public health emergency and state of emergency.” The intent of the law was to protect health care workers coming out of retirement or shipping in from other states from lawsuits as they dealt with the unknowns of the virus. The governor’s office said that the law would indeed cover nursing homes for coronavirus cases, though not in instances of gross negligence or fraud.

Even in the face of the New Jersey law, Mr. Lofgren and his family were determined to take action, knowing that his status in New Jersey as a guitarist for the state’s pre-eminent hero would call attention to the issue.

“We think that this is going to be just the tip of the iceberg, and the care provided to the senior citizens and parents and grandparents over the past weeks has been nothing short, in the majority of cases, of grossly negligent,” said Andrew Miltenberg, the lawyer for the Lofgrens. “And the industry as a whole, its response has been to push for immunity.”

The lawsuit describes the ordeal as “every child’s worst nightmare” and follows a familiar path of confusing information and radio silence as nursing homes were quickly overrun by the virus. The family accuses the facility of negligence, fraud, deceptive trade practices and a violation of a New Jersey state law that protects the rights of nursing home residents.

Though New Jersey recently signed the law protecting health care facilities, Mr. Miltenberg is confident they still have a case.
For Mr. Lofgren, the battle extends beyond his family.
“This is not to take the light off what has been a very demoralizing, tragic story for my mother-in-law that’s still being written,” Mr. Lofgren said. “Shining a light on this problem is important.”

Mr. Lofgren, who is also a member of Neil Young’s band Crazy Horse, said he knew he was fortunate to even be in a position to have a lawyer who can help them bring a case in New Jersey, especially when the law surrounding the coronavirus outbreak is challenging and confusing.

“It’s a nightmare because 99 percent of most people can’t even afford a lawyer,” he said. “And they just take it, and their families are decimated by it.”
After she left the hospital, Ms. Landers moved to a different facility, Care One, in Livingston, N.J. But the family remains shaken.

“It’s unconscionable and immoral and disgusting,” Mr. Logren said. “It’s like their true colors are coming out, and I hope we can hold them accountable.”

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont Fires Public Health Commissioner Renee D. Coleman-Mitchell For Not Protecting Nursing Home Residents With Coronavirus


The issue of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes will be in our nation's news for years to come as relatives of the dead who were treated as trash will sue.


See New York State's Governor Cuomo's huge errors in sending residents of nursing homes back after testing positive:

Michael Goodwin: Cuomo’s Nursing Home Reversal is Too Little, Too Late For Those Now Dead

Cuomo should be held accountable for his actions, just as Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell, Connecticut’s public health commissioner, was:

Top Conn. Health Aide Disappears From Virus Briefings, Then Is Fired

The state’s public health commissioner had been criticized over the response to rising deaths from the outbreak at nursing homes.

Several weeks ago, Connecticut’s public health commissioner suddenly stopped appearing with Gov. Ned Lamont at his daily briefings on the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

This week, the governor fired the commissioner.

It was a highly unusual shake-up, given that the state has been one of the hardest hit by the crisis. But Mr. Lamont, a Democrat, had apparently soured on the commissioner, Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell, after a behind-the-scenes struggle over plans to protect residents of nursing homes during the outbreak.

Ms. Coleman-Mitchell had overseen a plan that called for segregating nursing home residents with the virus in long-term care facilities that would house only those who were infected.

But the plan was rejected because it was never vetted with other public health experts, including the state epidemiologist. And it would have required transferring healthy residents out of nursing homes to make room for infected patients, alarming relatives who opposed having family members displaced.

Instead, Connecticut established so-called recovery centers to isolate nursing home residents who had the virus and had been released from the hospital, a relatively novel approach that has drawn praise from public health specialists.

But the internal debate over how to protect nursing homes hamstrung the state as it tried to move quickly to find ways to contain the outbreak, officials and elected leaders said.

“Time was lost on that aborted initiative before we got on the better path,” said Martin M. Looney, the Senate president and a Democrat.

State lawmakers and administration officials said Ms. Coleman-Mitchell had clashed with other state officials over the response to the virus and been relegated to a back-seat role as the pandemic worsened.

Others defended Ms. Coleman-Mitchell saying that she was being scapegoated for the state’s failures to safeguard nursing homes and noted that other states were facing similar challenges.

“They tried to innovate on the fly,” said Representative Jonathan Steinberg, a Democrat and chairman of the Legislature’s Public Heath Committee. “There are risks when you innovate. People are legitimately doing the best that they can and we’re not going to get it right in every circumstance.”

Across the United States, the coronavirus has carved a lethal path through nursing homes, with residents and workers accounting for about one-third of deaths during the pandemic.

In Connecticut, deaths at long-term care facilities represent roughly 60 percent of fatalities from the virus.

Ms. Coleman-Mitchell who was appointed to the post last year by Mr. Lamont, said she was told that she was not being dismissed because of her job performance.

“As we have seen this virus ravage underrepresented and underserved communities, we have been resolute in assuring that those in our most vulnerable communities were protected,” Ms. Coleman-Mitchell said in a statement. She did not respond to a request for further comment.

Officials who worked with Ms. Coleman-Mitchell said she faced the challenge of leading the state’s public health response during the early stages of the outbreak when federal guidance about the virus, including how it spread among asymptomatic people, was evolving.

As of Thursday, the virus had killed 3,219 people in the state, including 1,927 nursing home residents, according to state officials.

Mr. Lamont declined to say specifically why he was replacing Ms. Coleman-Mitchell.

“I thought this was a good time to make a change,” Mr. Lamont told reporters. “I think the job has changed and I want closer coordination with our different departments.”

Ms. Coleman-Mitchell, who has a master’s degree in public health, got off to a rocky start last year when she balked at the release of school-by-school immunization rates and then was overruled by Mr. Lamont.

She was also criticized after she declined to weigh in on a proposed repeal of a religious exemption for vaccination requirements for some students.

“She was definitely on the firing line from the very beginning,” said Mr. Steinberg.

Family members whose relatives have died in nursing homes say the state did not seem to have a clear plan as it became clear that the virus was ravaging long-term care facilities.

“When this all snowballed, when my father became ill, you want to start pointing fingers and you start questioning,” said Larisa Zagorski, whose father, Edward Balskus, 82, lived in a home in Windsor, Conn., and died on April 8.

Mr. Balskus, a retired upholstery supply company manager, was one of at least 43 virus deaths that state health officials have traced to the home, Kimberly Hall North. Another 13 deaths were linked to a sister home, Kimberly Hall South.

Ms. Zagorski said her father’s caregivers had initially told her that the nursing home had been chosen to take people with the virus but that the plan had been abandoned.

“To me, they had no guidance in what to do, none,” she said.

The chief medical officer of Genesis HealthCare, which operates Kimberly Hall, did not respond to a request for comment.

Representative Themis Klarides, a Republican and the House minority leader, said the state had been slow to ramp up testing at nursing homes and provide workers with personal protective equipment.

“I think the common feeling,” she said, “is we hadn’t done enough and still haven’t done enough for nursing homes.”

Mr. Lamont said this week that the state was going to test all residents and workers at Connecticut’s 215 nursing homes by June.

“Nursing homes were like a petri dish for this pandemic,” Mr. Lamont told NBC Nightly News. Still, he added, “in a crisis the buck stops right here.’’

Mr. Steinberg said that across the country — from the first nursing home outbreak in Kirkland, Wash., to those in the New York City region — there were few bright spots where the spread had been stopped.

“No one has really succeeded in this,” he said
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Neil Vigdor is a breaking news reporter on the Express Desk. He previously covered Connecticut politics for the Hartford Courant. @gettinviggy  Facebook