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College football should not expect full stadiums any time soon as COVID-19 likely to impact 2021 season

Dan Mullen was smacked upside the headset this week by COVID-19. Nineteen of his players tested positive the same week Florida’s coach advocated for his administration to allow fans to “pack The Swamp” this week against LSU to foster a “competitive advantage.” Never mind a packed stadium being antithetical to those players’ health — at least for now and probably for a while.

Despite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recent decree that stadiums can be filled to capacity, University of Florida officials have said they will continue to adhere to safety guidelines. College and professional teams across the state have as well. Mullen will have to find his competitive advantage elsewhere during a global pandemic.

Meanwhile, multiple medical professionals reached by CBS Sports say there indeed a long way to go before we’re sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in full stadiums again.

“I think we should assume that we’re going to be exactly where we are today 11 months from now, until proven otherwise,” said Dr. Michael Saag, UAB professor of medicine and infectious diseases.

Saag is referring to the beginning of the 2021 season, which is 10 ½ months away. Even with a COVID-19 vaccine, these medical professionals say an assumption that this is a one-and-done year for coronavirus inconvenience is misguided.

“The short answer is: Once a vaccine is developed and mass-administered, maybe next [football] season,” said Zach Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory University. “But that depends a lot on the competence of and logistics of a national vaccination itself.”

That is a huge undertaking, according to Dr. John Ervin, who is overseeing some of the nation’s most important COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials at the Center for Pharmaceutical Research in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Until we get a proven vaccine that works, it may be that this [coronavirus] is going to mutate,” Ervin said. “We may have to change to a different vaccine. I think we’re waiting until easily next year until we get on top of this. And then it really has to do with the acceptance of vaccinations. I pray to God that the anti-vaxxers [don’t grow].”

Ervin added that, in a best-case scenario, stadiums will be at capacity next fall. A vaccine could be ready by next year, but there are multiple issues at hand. In order to get back to filling stadiums, the vaccine needs to be widely distributed, and it needs to be determined not only who to let in to those stadiums but how.

Ervin pointed out that team may want to identify who has been vaccinated before admitting them into a stadium. If not, what’s the point stamping out COVID-19? A February soccer match in Italy has already been linked to being the event that spread the virus throughout the country.

“We don’t need more evidence to know [filling stadiums] is a bad idea,” Binney said. “And anyone who says, ‘But they’ll wearing masks,’ I’d encourage you to look at crowd shots of any SEC game this year. Take a deep breath and try saying [that]

University warns about college students trying to contract COVID-19 to make money donating plasma with antibodies

Brigham Young University-Idaho warned on Monday about accounts of college students “intentionally” trying to contract COVID-19 in order to make money by donating plasma with antibodies. 

The Idaho university issued a statement saying officials were “deeply troubled” by the alleged behavior and “is actively seeking evidence of such conduct among our student body.”

Students who are determined to have intentionally exposed themselves or others to the virus will be immediately suspended from the university and may be permanently dismissed,” the university stated.

“The contraction and spread of COVID-19 is not a light matter,” the statement continued. “Reckless disregard for health and safety will inevitably lead to additional illness and loss of life in our community.”

University officials noted that they had previously cautioned last month that if Idaho or Madison County continue to experience surges in cases, the university may have to switch to fully online learning. 

The release also encouraged students who are participating in this behavior to consult financial and mental health resources, saying, “There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet.”

Brigham Young University-Idaho has confirmed 109 COVID-19 cases among students and 22 cases among employees.

The Food and Drug Administration permitted convalescent plasmas from COVID-19 survivors to be used as an emergency therapy for those with coronavirus. The FDA states that the plasma that has antibodies “may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks.”

Two potential plasma donation locations near the university are the Grifols Biomat USA Rexburg location and the BioLife Plasma Services, NPR reported. The first’s website says it gives donors $100 per visit and East Idaho News reported the latter provides $200 for each of the donor’s first two visits.

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Fujitsu’s Fugaku supercomputer helping fight COVID-19 in Japan

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Fugaku


Image: Fujitsu

Japanese scientific research institute RIKEN is home to the world’s top supercomputer, with Fugaku being jointly developed with Fujitsu.

Fugaku is expected to be in full operation soon, but it is being used already by researchers in Japan for various matters, one of which is the country’s fight against COVID-19.

“We anticipate Fugaku to be used for a wide variety of applications, including those of high concern in the general public around medical and pharmaceuticals, disaster and environmental, energy and production … also industries from materials to general manufacturing,” RIKEN Center for Computational Science director Satoshi Matsuoka said.

“But one very important area there is how we fight against COVID-19 and we have quickly stood up this program, COVID-19 program, even as Fugaku was being built, and, in fact, we did this in less than one month.”

Speaking as part of Fujitsu’s digital ActivateNow conference on Tuesday night, Matsuoka said the program has been receiving “stellar results”, mostly due to the computing resources available to scientists matching the entire high-performance compute capacity in Japan.

“For example, we’re finding some existing drugs, drugs that have approved for other purposes like heart conditions or high blood pressure or parasites to be immensely useful against COVID-19,” he said.

“So if these are proven to be effective, then we may have these antiviral drugs — it’s very cheap, very low side effect, and can be used to not only cure COVID-19 but serve as preventive drugs to be pre-administered to people at high risk.”

Matsuoka said RIKEN teams are also working on mitigating COVID-19 transmission through detailed droplet analysis.

“We’re finding that masks are very effective, also finding shields are effective in the workplace,” he said.

He said these findings are being used to provide guidelines by industry, but also by the Japanese government.

“One of the reasons why Japan’s infection rate is so low compared to other developed countries could be the result — or at least partially — of work being done on Fugaku.”

See also: How the world’s largest and fastest supercomputers are being used to understand the coronavirus

As part of its ActivateNow event, Fujitsu on Wednesday announced kicking off three quantum computing initiatives with research facilities in Japan and the Netherlands: One with RIKEN and the University of Tokyo, another with Osaka University, and the third with the Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands.

In a bid to make practical quantum computing a reality, Fujitsu said it will conduct research on a number of the associated technology layers, from the device level to control systems, architecture, and algorithms.

The company is aiming to achieve comprehensive and efficient advances in quantum computing by applying quantum computing to various fields currently facing problems that it said are extremely difficult to solve.

The first project will see Fujitsu, RIKEN, and the University of Tokyo conduct research on superconducting quantum computers.

“Through a comprehensive undertaking of quantum computing systems covering quantum devices, and electronic control units and software, Fujitsu

College football schedule 2020: The 28 games already postponed or canceled due to COVID-19

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With COVID-19 still raging across the country, it was long expected that many college football games would be postponed if not outright canceled over the course of the season. As we enter Week 5 of the 2020 season, there have now been 24 games affected by COVID-19 with most postponements coming as a result of contact tracing protocols that require players to quarantine for 14 days if they are deemed to have been in high-risk contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Some teams, such as Houston, Memphis, Baylor, FAU, Virginia Tech, Arkansas State, Charlotte and Rice have already experienced multiple game disruptions. Even those who have not seen a game postponed yet are living day-by-day as COVID-19 test results and subsequent contact tracing dictate if — and how effectively — they will be able to play as scheduled.

Some leagues, such as the Big 12 and SEC, have established minimum player thresholds requiring that teams have a certain number of players available at specific positions. The disruptions have highlighted the issues facing the 2020 season with two of the Power Five conferences (four overall) still yet to begin play. The SEC is scheduled to start on Sept. 26 with the Big Ten slated to return the weekend of Oct. 24 and the Pac-12 eyeing a return on Nov. 6.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced they plan to conduct daily testing, which should help programs identify positive cases quickly and reduce the burden of contact tracing. But even with daily testing, successfully holding a season with no bye weeks leading up to the College Football Playoff will be a challenge.

Here is the full list of college football game postponements.

ULM at Troy

Sept. 5

Dec. 5

SMU at TCU

Sept. 11

TBD

NC State at Virginia Tech

Sept. 12

Sept. 26

Marshall at East Carolina

Sept. 12

TBD

Tulsa at Oklahoma State Sept. 12 Sept. 19
Louisiana Tech at Baylor* Sept. 12 TBD
Houston at Memphis Sept. 18 TBD
BYU at Army Sept. 19 TBD
Virginia at Virginia Tech Sept. 19 Dec. 12
Central Arkansas at Arkansas State Sept. 19 Oct. 10
Charlotte at North Carolina Sept. 19 Canceled
FAU at Georgia Southern Sept. 19 Dec. 5
Houston at Baylor* Sept. 19 TBD
Memphis at UTSA Sept. 25 Canceled
Georgia State at Charlotte Sept. 26 TBD
Notre Dame at Wake Forest Sept. 26 Dec. 12
North Texas at Houston Sept. 26 TBD
Tulsa at Arkansas State Sept. 26 TBD
South Florida at FAU Sept. 26 TBD
Temple at Navy Sept. 26 Oct. 10
Rice at Marshall Oct. 3 TBD
Troy at South Alabama Oct. 3 Dec. 12
Louisiana at Appalachian State Oct. 3 Dec. 4 or 5
UAB at Rice Oct. 10 TBD
FAU at Southern Miss Oct. 10 TBD
Appalachian State at Georgia Southern Oct. 14 Dec. 12
Oklahoma State at Baylor Oct. 17 Dec. 12
Vanderbilt at Missouri Oct. 17 Dec. 12

* Baylor can only make up one nonconference game

Arizona State University/Halberd Develop Antibody Against Covid-19

JACKSON CENTER, PA / ACCESSWIRE / October 13, 2020 / Halberd Corporation (OTC PINK: HALB ) reported that Arizona State University researchers, utilizing the intellectual property of Halberd Corporation, have successfully generated an anti-Spike protein monoclonal antibody against Covid-19. The Spike Protein is a main component of the Covid-19 virus, and is a crucial component in its ability to replicate. In addition, the researchers have sent for synthesis, genes for the creation of new, unique monoclonal antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein. The performance has exceeded expectations, and Halberd and ASU intend to file for joint patent protection.

Development continues toward three major potential utilizations of the antibody against the Coronavirus:

William A. Hartman, Halberd Corporation Chairman, President & CEO, stated, “We are very excited about our progress to date and plan to issue regular progress reports to keep the public aware of our significant developments.”

The details of the Halberd-ASU research contract can be viewed here.

For more information please contact:

William A. Hartman

www.halberdcorporation.com

P. O. Box 25

Jackson Center, PA 16133

Twitter: @HalberdC

About Arizona State University.

Arizona State University is a public research university with 5 campuses in and around Phoenix, with four regional centers throughout Arizona. It is one of the largest public universities, based on enrollment, and one of the fastest growing research universities in the United States. The school boasts over 400 National Academies-honored faculty, and 77 elite programs.

About Halberd Corporation.

Halberd Corporation. (OTC PINK: HALB ), is a publicly traded company on the OTC Market, and is in full compliance with OTC Market reporting requirements. Halberd’s Articles of Incorporation prohibit the company from issuance of convertible debt which would result in dilution. See the company’s Articles of Incorporation here. The number of outstanding shares remains at 317,721,539.

The company holds the exclusive rights to the COVID-19 extracorporeal treatment technology provisional patent applications: “Method for Treating and Curing Covid-19 Infection;” “Method for Treating COVID-19 Inflammatory Cytokine Storm for the Reduction of Morbidity and Mortality in COVID-19 Patients;” “Method for Treating and Curing COVID-19 Infection by Utilizing a Laser to Eradicate the Virus”, and, “Nasal Spray To Prevent The Transmission Of Covid-19 Between Humans.” Halberd also holds the exclusive rights to the underlying granted U.S. Patent 9,216,386 and U.S. Patent 8,758,287.

Safe Harbor Notice

Certain statements contained herein are “forward-looking statements” (as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995). The Companies caution that statements, and assumptions made in this news release constitute forward-looking statements and makes no guarantee of future performance. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and opinions of management at the time statements are made. These statements may address issues that involve significant risks, uncertainties, estimates made by management. Actual results could differ materially from current projections or implied results. The Companies undertake no obligation to revise these statements following the date of this news release.

Investor caution/added risk for investors in companies claiming involvement in COVID-19 initiatives –

On April 8, 2020, SEC Chairman Jay

Canadians Support COVID-19 Travel Quarantine Change: Poll

A majority of Canadians support reducing the current 14-day quarantine period for international travelers entering Canada, according to a new poll.

Conducted by EKOS Research and commissioned by Unifor Local 7378 and CUPE Local 4055 — two unions representing approximately 1,500 airline workers — the poll is part of a campaign to encourage the federal government to reduce or eliminate border quarantine requirements prior to the Christmas travel season. The poll is now available on the newly launched website, www.betterborders.ca.

Using a sample size of 1,244 respondents, the national poll asked Canadians if they would support a change to COVID-19 rapid testing at the borders. It found 57 per cent support a reduction or elimination of the 14-day quarantine period with proof of a negative COVID-19 test on arrival. Seven per cent of respondents favour eliminating restrictions entirely.

Support is highest in Alberta with 66 per cent of respondents supporting a reduction or elimination of the 14-day quarantine. Support did not fall below 50 per cent in any of the major provinces or in the ‘Atlantic Bubble’ region.

According to Barret Armann, President of Unifor Local 7378, the government should borrow from international best practices to modify current requirements.

“Rapid testing is the scientific measure that can keep Canadians safe from COVID-19; we’ve seen this demonstrated in places like Germany where testing upon arrival for international travellers is a safe, scientific alternative to quarantine,” said Mr. Armann.

Poll results also show Canadians are willing to pay an airfare surcharge to cover the cost of testing. They believe the federal government has not moved fast enough in approving rapid testing. They say that encouraging air transportation is critical to the successful restart of the economy. Those polled also said travel restrictions have made Canadians want to distance themselves from international visitors to Canada.

Mr. Armann said the unions have been asking the Canadian government for some time to outline its plan for border measures.

The union president said Canadians are ready to embrace change led by the federal government with a clear plan that keeps Canadians safe, is science-driven, and is sustainable. “With such a plan, testing upon arrival could be in place across Canada by Christmas,” said Mr. Armann.

Report for download: Public Attitudes to Air Travel and Rapid COVID-19 Testing

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201013005064/en/

Contacts

Media:
Barret Armann
President – Unifor Local 7378
president@sunwingpilots.com
778-928-7456

Jeff Binks
Unifor Local 7378
403-805-3313

French Language Interviews
Michelle Chiasson
Unifor Local 7378
recsecretary@sunwingpilots.com
403-928-4393

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Applied DNA Secures $1.0+ Million in COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Annualized Revenue, Builds Sales Pipeline for Test Kit and Testing-as-a-Service

– Announces Completion of Initial New York State Department of Health Inspection of Clinical Lab Subsidiary –

Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: APDN) (“Applied DNA” or the “Company”), a leader in Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based DNA manufacturing that enables in vitro diagnostics, pre-clinical nucleic acid-based therapeutic drug candidates, supply chain security, anti-counterfeiting, and anti-theft technology, announced that Applied DNA Clinical Laboratories, LLC (“ADCL”), its wholly-owned subsidiary, has secured COVID-19 surveillance testing contracts under its testing-as-a-service (“TaaS”) offering that are estimated to generate more than $1.0 million in total annualized revenue beginning October 1, 2020. The Company’s surveillance testing revenue expectation is contingent on full-term participation by TaaS customers, including:

  • Private schools based in Long-Island, N.Y., including Harbor Country Day School. Education customers comprise the bulk of the Company’s current testing volume;

  • Several New York State-based small enterprises and private clients.

Unlike diagnostic testing, which looks for the occurrence of COVID-19 at the individual level, surveillance testing looks for infection within a defined population or community and can be used for making health management decisions at the population level. Surveillance testing does not require a prescription. In surveillance testing, pooled test results are returned to the sponsoring organization in the aggregate, not directly to the individual, and may be performed without CLIA certification.

Concurrently, the Company is executing on a sales and marketing strategy to build a pipeline of LineaTM COVID-19 Diagnostic Assay Kit (“Assay Kit”) and TaaS opportunities through:

  • Outreach to independent and hospital laboratories in COVID-19 hotspots nationally and regionally to offer an additional diagnostic kit supply line;

  • Outreach to local laboratories to construct a reference laboratory relationship for overflow testing;

  • Deployment of testing at Stony Brook University in accordance with a recently signed Master Services Agreement.

“Our capacity to perform COVID-19 surveillance testing is grounded in self-collection saliva kits and anterior nasal swab kits that are intuitive to use, a highly sensitive PCR-based Assay Kit that can detect as little as one copy of the SARS-CoV-2 genome per microliter in an individual saliva sample, and a high-throughput surveillance testing lab that can return testing results within 24 hours and often on the same day as sampling. When deployed as part of a consistent and ongoing surveillance testing regime, we believe our Assay Kit can help our clients to detect the virus before its median incubation time of 4 to 5 days from exposure to symptom-onset1. Being able to identify infections early and in a cost-efficient and rapid manner is how surveillance testing gets workers back to work and students back to school,” said Dr. James A. Hayward, president and CEO.

“We are beginning to see the first fruits of our Assay Kit and TaaS sales and marketing efforts translate into revenue,” concluded Dr. Hayward. “As we continue to expand our sales pipeline of Assay Kit and surveillance testing opportunities, we believe these efforts can serve as a potentially material driver of our growth supplemented by diagnostic customer testing upon receipt of CLEP-CLIA certification.”

Here is every Power 5 college football game postponed for Week 7 because of COVID-19

We’re only one day through the work week and already two Power 5 college football games have been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week’s postponements bring to five the total number of Power 5 games that have been postponed this season — including the first in the SEC. In all, 31 FBS games have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic in the 2020 season.

MORE: AP Top 25, Coaches Poll rankings after Week 6

Sporting News is tracking all the Power 5 games that have been postponed for Week 7 and will keep a running schedule of every remaining Power 5 team:

Postponed Week 7 college football games

No. 7 Oklahoma State at Baylor

The Big 12 Conference on Sunday announced the postponement of the Cowboys-Bears game in Waco, Texas, due to an outbreak within the Bears program. The game will be rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12; the conference’s championship game is scheduled for that weekend or Dec. 19, depending on which teams will compete in the championship.

Per the Big 12’s release:

“The Big 12 Conference announces the postponement of the Saturday, Oct. 17, Oklahoma State at Baylor football game. Upon the recommendation of medical advisors, Baylor is suspending football operations temporarily after multiple positive COVID-19 test results. The game has been rescheduled for Saturday, December 12. The Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship remains tentatively scheduled for Dec. 12 or 19 pending game results needed to determine the championship game participants.”

Baylor halted all football operations Thursday “to allow for further evaluation of recent positive tests and the completion of close contact tracing, with the hope of playing the Cowboys the ensuing week.” Three days later, the Bears were forced to postpone because of “significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases,” which caused an unnamed position group to fall below the Big 12’s minimum threshold of available players.

Baylor did not initially report how many players produced positive coronavirus test results but, per a report from Max Olson of The Athletic, that number includes 28 football players and 14 team staffers.

Sunday’s announcement marks the third game involving Baylor that has been postponed or canceled this season. The first came in Week 2, when the Bears’ scheduled game against Louisiana Tech was indefinitely postponed because 38 Bulldogs players tested positive for the coronavirus after Hurricane Laura hit the state of Louisiana.

Ten days later, Baylor’s scheduled game against Houston — organized after the Louisiana Tech opener was canceled — was also postponed because of the Bears “not meeting the Big 12 Conference COVID-19 game cancellation thresholds.” The Big 12 earlier in the month had mandated that all teams must be able to field a 53-player roster order to play a game.

Vanderbilt at Missouri

The SEC on Monday announced that this game, to be held in Columbia, Mo., was postponed to Dec. 12 following positive tests among Vanderbilt players. It is the first postponed game of the season in the SEC.

Vizzle Revamps Special Education Learning Platform, Expands Accessibility Amid Continued COVID-19 School Disruptions

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent school closures, special education learning platform, Vizzle has enhanced their virtual platform and increased accessibility for parents and school districts struggling with increased needs and decreased budgets.

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent school closures, special education learning platform, Vizzle has enhanced their virtual platform and increased accessibility for parents and school districts struggling with increased needs and decreased budgets.

CLEVELAND, Oct. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent school closures, special education learning platform, Vizzle has enhanced their virtual platform and increased accessibility for parents and school districts struggling with increased needs and decreased budgets.

Vizzle is the only student-facing, online, Special Education Platform that treats each student as an individual striving to meet their specific goals. As learning environments shift between the classroom and home, Vizzle provides students with consistency and school districts with easy-to-use technology, including more than 15,000 lessons and automatic data collection to track IEPs, giving teachers more time to connect with each student and celebrate progress.

Students with significant disabilities and the educators that serve them have struggled for years to find the curricula and tools to support learning in and outside of the classroom. Remote learning has increased that need as many of the products available to educators are inadequate in digital access, depth of curricula, or both.

“Students with disabilities are at greater risk of falling behind during asynchronous instruction,” said John Standal, MS/CCC-SLP of Vizzle. “Our goal at Vizzle is to advance learning for special education students so they can reach their full potential. Our fully accessible instructional platform allows students access whether in the classroom or not, providing insight to teachers and parents so they can ensure continued growth and engagement for their students.”

In the current remote learning environment, general education populations are struggling to stay on track with standards-based curriculum. This problem is exacerbated for students with disabilities who have been disproportionately affected by the academic and social/emotional consequences of digital learning.

A recent Brookings Institute study suggests that typically developing students will return to school with substantial deficits in reading and math.The impact of “Covid slide” on special needs students is even more profound.

For over 15 years, Vizzle has been used to help students with significant disabilities in both synchronous or asynchronous learning environments. In response to the current increased need, Vizzle has enhanced small group learning, developed new tools for teacher collaboration in remote settings, and has made it easier for teachers to remotely assign content to students.

Additionally, schools are facing decreased funding, reduced budgets, and reprioritization of spending to meet increased sanitation, professional development and unexpected upgrades in technology.

Vizzle’s goal is to be price sensitive as districts work to meet new demands. The platform quickly realigned their pricing-structure and began customizing support to districts in need of robust solutions for special education learners. Additionally, Vizzle made the platform available to parents to access on an individual basis.

‘Super-spreader’ event led to N.J. college’s COVID-19 outbreak, president says

An off-campus “super-spreader event” is responsible for the overwhelming majority of recent COVID-19 cases at Monmouth University, which reported a dramatic rise in new cases over the past two weeks, officials said.

Monmouth had reported a total of 39 confirmed cases as of Sept. 25. Since then, the number has ballooned to 291 cases, including 166 people who tested positive and are still in isolation, president Patrick Leahy wrote Friday in a letter to students.

In addition to the confirmed cases, 206 students at the private college were identified through contract tracing as being at high risk for contracting the virus. They are required to quarantine as a precaution, Leahy wrote.

“It appears that this increase in cases among students was tied to an off-campus event hosted two weeks ago,” Leahy wrote. “Moving forward, we will need 100% cooperation from our campus community in order to resume our fall semester as planned.”

Leahy’s letter provided no further details about the event or the specific number of cases that were tied to it. But Monmouth’s struggle to contain the virus’ spread underscores the logistical challenges that colleges face in relying on students to follow safety protocols when they’re not on campus.

Monmouth opened the semester with the majority of its courses online, but allowed indoor dining on campus, where students also had access to the gymnasium and pool. It temporarily shut down those facilities at the end of September and announced it would postpone sporting events through at least Wednesday.

The university also began offering free virus testing for all students and staff with no appointments needed.

Leahy hopes to make a decision soon on whether to reopen facilities and resume athletics and club activities, he wrote.

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Adam Clark may be reached at adam_clark@njadvancemedia.com

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