Waldstreicher Challenger Gets Prominent Grassroots Support

Max Socol is running as a progressive challenger to incumbent Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher who is seeking reelection to the Maryland Senate after having also served three terms in the House of Delegates. That Socol is holding a fundraiser is hardly news.

The names on the invitation, however, grabbed my attention. All are well known in Montgomery County politics. Many are exactly the sort of people you’d think would be supporting an incumbent who touts himself as a “proud progressive” and “champion for justice” but are instead lined up squarely behind his challenger.

Former Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, who served with Waldstreicher for three terms in the House and ran on a ticket with him twice (!) is now working to defeat her former slate-mate. Always an alliance of convenience, I can’t say I find this shocking.

Brandy Brooks is making her second bid for an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council. Like Socol, she is positioning herself as a progressive activist outsider. Brooks is considered one of the leading candidates in her own race.

Michelle Whittaker is a communications and campaign strategist. She is the former Communications Manager for Manna Foods and the former Director of Communications for FairVote among other organizations. She has testified for removing police officers from public schools and ranked choice voting. (She is also Brandy Brooks’s sister.)

Fran Rothstein, Diana Conway and Beth Tomasello are Past Presidents of the Women’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County. An informant tells me Conway has previously hosted an event for Waldstreicher. An environmentalist, Conway has been very active in the fight against synthetic turf playing fields. Tomasello is an attorney who has advocated on criminal justice reform.

Laura Stewart is currently the First Vice President of the Women’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County but probably better known as a PTA leader, an active supporter of County Executive Marc Elrich in 2018 and many other progressive causes.

Zola Shaw serves on Montgomery County’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Advisory Committee and is a member of the Board of the Montgomery County Chapter of Our Revolution Maryland. Michael Tardif was named Democrat of the Year by the Montgomery County Democratic Party in 2021.

Bottom Line

Whether Socol can build the coalition and the campaign needed to unseat Waldstreicher, a reelection-focused incumbent if there ever was one, remains to be seen. But the early strength indicates that Waldstreicher hasn’t nailed down his base even after sixteen year in the General Assembly.


Does the Frederick Donut Violate the Constitution?

Proposed Frederick County Legislative Districts

Maryland Matters reports that one Republican legislator has raised questions regarding whether the legislative districts proposed for Frederick County would pass constitutional muster:

Del. Jason C. Buckel (R-Allegany), the House minority leader and a member of the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission, questioned whether the new proposed District 4 would pass muster for compactness. The proposed District 4 would encompass much of Frederick County around the city of Frederick, which is contained within District 3, creating what Buckel described as a “donut effect.”

Del. Buckel is almost certainly wrong. The donut does not exist in spite of the Maryland Constitution but to comply with it. Ironically, this is for the same reason that I expressed concern in yesterday’s post about whether District 17 can survive a constitutional challenge: the requirement of “due regard” for “the boundaries of political subdivisions.”

This same provision indicates that the City of Frederick ought to be kept in a single legislative district if possible unless it conflicts with other requirements. At this point, the population of the City and its surrounding suburbs is sufficiently high as to easily meet the population for a legislative district, resulting in a more compact shape than the existing plan in which District 3 extends to the Virginia border.

Putting most of the rest of Frederick County into a surrounding legislative district is the logical consequence of same provision requiring “due regard” of administrative divsions as it avoids unnecessarily extending District 4 into another county.

Del. Buckel’s point reflects that the Maryland Constitution also says that legislative districts should “be compact in form.” But it’s not clear that extending District 3 to the Montgomery County line would improve the compactness of either Districts 3 or 4. It might lengthen the perimeters of both Districts 3 and 4 and reduce compactness according to measures that have been commonly used in past redistricting litigation. One would have to look to be sure either way but I doubt it would be nearly enough to cause a court to second guess the legislature’s approach.

Bear in mind also that District 3 is not an independent enclave trapped by its neighbor. It’s not Lesotho. Enclosing District 3 in District 4 doesn’t make it impossible to leave District 3 without a passport. The City of Frederick isn’t being deprived of a seaport.

Others might wonder about why a bit of District 2 extends into Frederick County.

Proposed Western Maryland Legislative Districts

That’s easily explainable by the State’s geography and population changes. District 1 must start in Garrett County, take in all of Allegany County and then the western part of Washington County to pick up enough population.

Currently, District 2 neatly comprises the remainder of Washington County with the Washington-Frederick border serving as its eastern boundary. That’s no longer possible. The western three counties continue to lose population relative to the rest of the state, so the districts encompassing them move east with each redistricting cycle. At this point, they must extend into Frederick.

The good news is that Frederick has grown sufficiently that the ripple effect stops there. Unlike under the existing plan, none of the proposed districts traverse Frederick’s border with Carroll County.


Does the Gaither-Split Violate the Constitution?

Where the Proposed Legislative Map Divides Gaithersburg

The portion of the Legislative Redistricting Plan for Montgomery County takes a status quo approach. However, it still might violate the Maryland Constitution.

What’s Not a Problem

The major change from the current arrangement is that district 9A, centered in Howard County, now takes in a portion of northern Montgomery County around Damascus. This inclusion of a portion of a ninth (!) legislative district reflects Montgomery’s growth.

It also not so coincidentally happens to aid Democratic Sen. Katie Fry Hester who exchanges a bit of very Republican Carroll County for this bit of Montgomery County. Damascus may be among the more Republican areas of Montgomery, but it is probably friendlier turf for her than the portion of Carroll she lost.

None of this should pose a problem for the plan.

What is a Problem

Instead, the potential problem centers on the new version of District 17. When drawn after the 2010 Census, the district included all of Rockville and Gaithersburg. The new version doesn’t. The dark black lines on the above map show my rough look at where the proposed legislative district boundaries cut into the City of Gaithersburg.

Over the past decade, Gaithersburg annexed areas around Quince Orchard and Shady Grove North that are not in the new D17. Larger areas of northeast Gaithersburg just west of Washington Grove are also outside D17. Most of the excised portions are in D39 but the Shady Grove North bit is in D19.

This invites a constitutional challenge because Article III, Section 4 of the Maryland Constitution states that that legislative district boundaries must give “due regard” to “the boundaries of political subdivisions.”

The Maryland Court of Appeals gave life to this provision when it invalidated the 2001 map, in part for violating too many boundaries. In particular, more districts straddled the Baltimore City and County boundary than necessary.

The Court made clear the importance of this requirement in its decision, writing: “Non-compliance with a state constitutional requirement is permitted only when it conflicts with a federal requirement or another more important Maryland constitutional requirement.”

The State might argue that hiving off part of Gaithersburg was needed so that the district was not overpopulated. But this feels like a dud. After all, the state could have just split Rockville and Gaithersburg into separate districts that included all of each municipality.

The Legislature has a couple of options short of completely redrawing the plan. First, it could redraw the map to include the currently excluded parts of Gaithersburg. Except that this change might well make the district exceed the acceptable population deviation of +/- 5%. The district is already 2.5% larger than ideal.

If this doesn’t make D17 too large, it would solve the problem and make it difficult to challenge the map on this basis. My guess is that the district would end up overpopulated, as the line drawers would otherwise have done this in the first place.

If it does make it too large, the State could try to justify the deviation as desirable to adhere to municipal boundaries. But this faces the same problem as the proposed map in that one could have just put the two big municipalities into separate districts instead.

The State could roll the dice with the proposed map as it stands. Beyond explaining that the portions sliced off Gaithersburg are small and partially not in the current districts, the State could argue that this change was needed to preserve the cores of current districts. The Special Master argued that this was one reason that the 1992 Plan, which was upheld by the Court, did not violate the Maryland Constitution.

This argument seems unlikely to fly, however, because the Court of Appeals explicitly rejected it in 2001, stating: “The premise on which the Special Master proceeded, that the due regard requirement may be subordinated to achieve a ‘rational goal,’ and the State’s argument that the provision must give way to ‘more important considerations,’ also are wrong.”

The Court goes out of its way to make clear that this provision of the Maryland Constitution limits the state’s power even though the “due regard” provision is less strongly worded than similar provisions in other states. In short, it’s there for good reason, such as limiting partisan gerrymandering, and the State cannot ride roughshod over it.

The Court might still uphold it as a de minimis (i.e. trivial) violation of the provision. It could also rule that violations of municipal boundaries are less serious than the violations of county boundaries. Baltimore City is unusual in that it is the only municipality that is also a county equivalent, so the Court could distinguish these questions about due regard for political boundaries from those at issue in its 2001 decision.

Still, it’ll make the inevitable legal challenge to the Legislative Redistricting Plan a lot more interesting if this remains in the final plan. As in 2001, a victory for plan opponents could result in a court-drawn plan because time is short before the primary.


Did Baltimore County Violate the Voting Rights Act? My Guess is Yes.

Baltimore County approved its new councilmanic district map on Monday. Here it is:

And here are the existing districts:

The ACLU of Maryland tweeted that it plans to file a lawsuit challenging the new plan under the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The Baltimore NAACP has already done so. Do they have a case? My educated guess is yes, though one would need to a more thorough analysis of the jurisdiction to be sure and to gather evidence needed for a successful VRA lawsuit.

The Supreme Court established a three-prong test in Thornburg v. Gingles (1986) that still sets the key conditions for proving a violation of Section 2 of the VRA.

First, plaintiffs need to prove that you could draw a “sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district.” The Baltimore Sun reports that map opponents have already shown that either the First or Second Districts, which are around 30% Black, could be converted into a Black majority district. The Fourth District is 72% Black; it could shed several predominantly Black communities and remain majority Black.

Second, plaintiffs must show that the minority group is “politically cohesive,” which just means that they need to show that Blacks in Baltimore County tend to vote together. This can usually be easily shown through analysis of election returns.

Third, and most crucially, plaintiffs must show that racial bloc voting usually defeats the minority group’s preferred candidate, usually referred to as a “candidate of choice.” Preferred candidates are those who win the vote in the Black community with candidates of the same race considered most probative evidence in a VRA lawsuit. However, non-Black candidates who defeat a Black candidate with the support of Black voters are also considered useful to examine for the purposes of a lawsuit.

In Baltimore County, no Black candidate has been elected to the Council except from the sole majority Black district. In the last state legislative elections, two Black state senators won in Baltimore County—both in majority Black districts. Four Black delegates also won election from majority Black districts. Excluding the district that is mostly in Howard County, the only Black Baltimore County state legislator who represents a non-Black majority district is Del. Carl Jackson but he was appointed in 2019, not elected.

Again, one would need to look more closely and further back to do a proper analysis, but all Black councilmembers and state legislators elected in 2018 won in Black majority districts (excluding Del. Terri Hill who represents the district predominantly in Howard).

In a lawsuit, Baltimore County might well argue that the new version of the First District is a second majority-minority district. In order to win on this basis, the defendants would need to show that the First District provides meaningful opportunity to elect the Black community’s preferred candidate. While it lacks a White majority, Whites form a strong plurality.

Even if plaintiffs win a VRA lawsuit, Baltimore County might not need to draw a second new Black majority district. Just because you need to show that you can draw a Black-majority district to bring a Section 2 lawsuit doesn’t mean that a new Black-majority district must be drawn to satisfy the VRA.

The standard is whether the district provides a meaningful opportunity to elect the minority’s preferred candidate. Since Black voters cast ballots disproportionately in the Democratic primary, they often comprise a majority of Democratic primary voters even when they do not in the voting-age population. This can allow a Black candidate to win the primary even without any White support.

If a Black candidate supported by the Black community can win the Democratic nomination in such a district, and the district is sufficiently Democratic that the nominee would win the general election, that district would still satisfy the VRA even though it is not a Black-majority district.

[Sidenote: If most Blacks voted for a Republican, then the Republican candidate would be the minority preferred candidate. I refer to the Democrats here because the reality is that the Democratic Party usually gets the great majority of the Black vote in Baltimore County and Maryland. But it’s all about the preferences of the voters.]

So why didn’t Baltimore County draw a second district that provides an opportunity for Black voters to elect their preferred candidate? That’s a story for another day.


A Modest Pandemic Proposal

Folks, I like to think all of my readers understand that being fully vaccinated is the way to go to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their community. But graphs like these from the New York Times don’t get nearly enough attention amid the daily reports of new infections and deaths.

Source: New York Times.

A Modest Proposal

At this point, beliefs on vaccination have become like religion. Unfortunately, too many are being led by false prophets promoting cures like ivermectin, Vitamin C, and hydroxychloroquine. They don’t work and many seem to believe that COVID-19 is all a hoax. People may not be immune to the virus but they are to evidence.

David Frum suggested one solution on Twitter:

Another approach might be to open Trump Wellness Centers (don’t call them hospitals) where people can receive the latest unproven, likely harmful quack “cures” from medical professionals like Dr. Oz and Rep. Andy Harris, who seem happy to promote them.

We can set up Dr. Oz’s clinic in Altoona. The surrounding county voted 72% for Trump–more than any other in Pennsylvania–so it should be fertile territory. Lord knows, Oz loves attention and this should be a great way to get lots of it and promote his Senate bid.

The most Trumpy county in Maryland is Garrett (76%) but it’s small and outside Harris’s district, so I suggest instead either Elkton in Cecil or Centreville in Queen Anne’s– for his clinic. Both went 62% for Trump and are in Harris’s district.

It’ll save at least some doctors from having to deal with physical attacks or abuse from people who get refused horse dewormer as a cure. (And yet, they still go to the hospital, suggesting that deep down they know it’s all a flim-flam. Doublethink is real.)

One suspects that the death rates might discourage patients after awhile from attending these right-wing wellness center. Of course, Drs. Oz and Harris might be not so keen to deal with the consequences of their media recommendations. Killing your voting base doesn’t seem smart politics. But it’s worked for the tobacco industry all these years, so why not give it a go?


Competing Vaccination Stats

People who are fully vaccinated, including a booster, are best positioned to avoid getting or to fight off the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 that is fast becoming the Grinch that Stole Christmas.

The CDC and MD Department of Health each produce estimates of vaccination rates by county. Here are the CDC stats for the share of the population five and older that is vaccinated:

Source: Centers for Disease Control (December 20, 2021).

The CDC should have the best statistics because, unlike the MD Department of Health, the federal agency has the addresses of everyone who got vaccinated around the country. As a result, unlike the state health department, their statistics include people who got vaccinated out of state–likely plentiful in Maryland.

Nevertheless, the St. Mary’s and Somerset statistics just seem odd–the former seems far too high (compare to Calvert) and the latter far too low (compared to anywhere). They also don’t jibe with the MD Department of Health Statistics, which you can see here:

Source: Maryland Department of Health (December 20, 2021).

This is not an apples-to-apples comparison. The CDC statistics include only people 5 and older while the MD DOH statistics include everyone. The CDC looks at who is “fully vaccinated” as opposed to the stats from MD DOH showing the share with a second dose.

Either way, Montgomery and Howard are the places to be in terms of safety with the highest vaccination rates in the state. Garrett and Somerset, at either ends of the state, are at the bottom of the scale. Also at the low end by either the CDC or MD DOH measure are Allegany, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Washington, and Wicomico–all counties on the Eastern Shore or Western MD.

Though Republicans perform well in all of these counties, politics isn’t destiny. Carroll County–arguably the most right-wing county in the state–has comparatively high vaccination rates. Whatever they’re doing right, we should find out and replicate.

Montgomery’s high vaccination rates similarly indicate real success in reaching out to nonwhite communities. Though Whites are the largest group, there is no racial majority with large populations of Blacks, Hispanics and Asians calling the county home. Kudos to Montgomery for its results that should also be mined and copied.


Where are the Republicans?

The geographic nature of partisan polarization in Maryland results in radically different distributions of Democratic and Republican primary voters. On Friday, I took a look at the Democrats. Today, it’s the turn of the Republicans.

While only a desultory 7.7% of Democratic primary voters in 2018 lived on either the Eastern Shore or in the Western 3 (Garrett, Allegany and Washington Counties), 19.2% of Republican primary voters lived in the same areas. That looks to increase in 2022 as the share of eligible Republicans in the two regions has grown to 20.8% from 19.4%.

This pattern reflects a continuation of Republican growth in rural areas that characterized shifts generated by Donald Trump’s two White House bids. So does the shift away from Republicans in more urban parts of the state, especially in the educated and racially diverse Washington suburbs. Montgomery was home to 20.0% of Democratic primary voters in 2018 but only 11.2% of Republicans.

That gap looks to grow as the Montgomery’s share of eligible Democrats has grown 0.3% but its share of Republicans has dropped by 1.2%. Differences are even starker in neighboring Prince George’s, which is now home to 20.8% of Democratic eligible voters but only 3.8% of Republicans. Put another way, Prince George’s casts fewer Republican primary votes than Washington County despite being home to six times as many total residents.

Driven by the weight of suburban Republican populations, the Baltimore metro area punches harder in Republican than Democratic primaries. Baltimore County increasingly tilts Democratic but it has a strong Republican presence and Gov. Larry Hogan carried it handily in his two gubernatorial wins. It is home to 14.0% of eligible Republican voters, the highest share in the state.

Anne Arundel is next with 13.2% of all Republicans. Meanwhile, the considerably smaller but ultra Republican exurbs of Carroll and Harford Counties together are home to 14.4% of Republicans. Carroll is the arguably the most right-wing area of the state and Trumper Del. Dan Cox will hope to do well there. Both Cox and his main challenger, Kelly Schulz hail from Frederick, which has 6.8% of Republican voters.

In short, while Democratic candidates will need to spend most of their time camped out in the most densely populated portions of the State, Republicans must get travel more because their voters are far less concentrated. It may also help explain partisan differences in the regional focus of priority transportation projects.


Where are the Democratic Votes?

Source: Maryland State Board of Elections.

Maryland has closed primaries, which means that only registered members of a party can vote in its primary. Partisan leanings vary tremendously around the state, so the share of a county’s primary voters often differs quite a bit from its population share.

The above table shows the share of all statewide Democratic primary voters in the 2018 Democratic primary as well as eligible voters (i.e. registered Democrats) at that time and now. Together, Prince George’s and Montgomery made up two-fifths of Democratic primary voters in 2018. Despite being considerably smaller in population than Montgomery, Prince George’s has the same share of voters because it leans even more heavily Democratic than Montgomery.

However, if turnout patterns remain the same, Montgomery looks to ease past Prince George’s next year as the gap in eligible voters has closed by 0.5 points and Montgomery voters turn out at a higher rate than those in Prince George’s. In 2018, Montgomeryites were 18.0% of eligible Democrats but 20.0% of Democratic voters. Prince Georgians formed 21.0% of those eligible but only 20.2% of voters.

Today, Baltimore and its inner suburbs (Baltimore County, Anne Arundel and Howard) are have a slightly higher share of eligibles (40.6%) than the two big D.C. area powerhouses (39.1%). But unless Baltimore City ups its turnout game, the region’s share of Democratic primary voters will lag behind that of the inner D.C. suburbs as they did in 2018.

In the metropolitan areas, which include outer suburbs, Washington (46.7%) now has more eligibles than Baltimore (45.5%). In 2018, the Washington Metro already beat the Baltimore Metro in the share of all Democratic voters by over three points–47.8 to 44.6. This lead is likely to continue to slowly expand as D.C. is now growing faster than Baltimore and becoming even more heavily Democratic. In Montgomery, Trump’s share of the vote dropped from 33% in 2016 to 19% in 2020.

The Eastern Shore and the Western 3 (Garrett, Allegany and Washington) together form only 7.6% of eligible Democratic voters and are consequently almost an afterthought for statewide candidates except during the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake.

We’re also a long way from the days when the Baltimore area, let alone Baltimore City, dominated the state. Among Democratic primary voters, D.C. has already surpassed Baltimore with the lead looking to continue to grow slowly but steadily.


Assembly Democrats Shoot and Miss

The new Democratic congressional map is political malpractice in the first degree.

Both parties have aggressively pursued gerrymanders this year—Democrats in New Mexico, New York and Illinois—Republicans in North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin—to take a few examples. The critical difference, however, is that the Democrats have proposed a national ban on gerrymandering, while Republicans remain adamantly opposed.

Gov. Larry Hogan has lambasted creative Democratic line drawing in Maryland, where such attitude benefits his party, but is hardly an avatar of reform. He has studiously avoided commenting negatively about Republican gerrymanders elsewhere or endorsing national legislation to address the problem.

Good government promoters along with newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times piously inveigh against gerrymandering by either party. Except at this point, given the unashamed efforts by Republicans to gerrymander wherever they can—and fighting national efforts to ban it—Democrats choosing to abandon it is unilateral disarmament. The distribution of Democrats already works to the benefit of Republicans, but Republican gerrymandering is designed to assure partisan lockups by the GOP whether the voters agree. This is already the case in the Wisconsin legislature.

Which brings me to Maryland.

General Assembly Democrats decided to reconfigure the districts to render the First District a toss up (at best) for their party rather than a safe Democratic seat. Some of the potential reasons were outlined in a piece appearing in Slate:

[Rep. John] Sarbanes is also the lead sponsor of the For the People Act, or H.R. 1, which includes as a central plank an end to partisan gerrymandering and a national move to independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions. As a national crusader against gerrymandering, he couldn’t bring himself to go full 8–0, several Democratic sources said. . .

[Rep. Kweisi] Mfume was concerned that absorbing chunks of largely white Republican voters into his district from Harris’ would distract from his representation of majority-minority communities in Baltimore. He was adamant against suggested changes, like stretching his district north to the Pennsylvania border. . .

[The Maryland Legislative Redistricting Commission] settled on the seven-Democrat map with a more competitive 1st District. This one still extended Harris’ district across the bay to Anne Arundel County—but curiously excised Annapolis, the inclusion of which would have been quite helpful to the Democratic candidate challenging Harris. Several sources cited one factor: The Democratic state senator representing Annapolis, Sarah Elfreth, didn’t want a competitive congressional district like the 1st layered atop hers. (“Sen. Elfreth had no role,” her staff told me when asked about this factor.)

In contrast, Reps. Steny Hoyer and Jamie Raskin were described as fully on board with an 8-0 map.

In the end, General Assembly Democrats settled on a map that is truly the worst of all worlds. They drew a district that has an excellent chance of reelecting Rep. Andy Harris—an ivermectin prescribing, coup friendly representative. Yet the lines are sufficiently ugly that no one is going to give them “credit” for not gerrymandering. Is Rep. Sarbanes really so benighted that he thinks he looks good because he stopped Democrats from gerrymandering more?

Indeed, the map preserves some of the old plan’s more derisory elements, such as the Hoyer hook that swings the Fourth into College Park completely unnecessarily. And Third District Rep. John Sarbanes will represent Harford and Montgomery Counties.

To those who say it is unfair to have an 8-0 map, let them get a national gerrymandering ban passed. It’s a great overdue idea that’s languishing due only to Republican opposition.

In the meantime, an 8D-0R map in Maryland, where Biden won 65-32 seems a lot fairer than the projected 11R-3D map in 50-49 (Trump) North Carolina, 9R-5D map in 50-49 (Biden) Georgia, or 12R-3D map in 53-45 (Trump) Ohio. Republicans also seem unbothered by the Democratic shutout in Oklahoma, which Trump by the same margin as Biden won Maryland.

Meanwhile, the maladroit gerrymander passed by General Assembly Democrats no doubt has many people rolling their eyes either because it’s a gerrymander or because it’s such an incompetent one. SMH.


AU Requiring Boosters

American University, otherwise known as my employer, announced earlier today that they are requiring boosters of COVID-19 vaccines for all faculty, staff and students by February 10. The CDC recommends boosters for people who got the J&J shot at least two months ago or Pfizer/Moderna six months ago.

This follows the university’s aggressive strategy in preventing COVID outbreaks on campus. Prior to reopening in the Fall, everyone had to be vaccinated with students providing proof and faculty giving an attestation and details on their vaccination status. In light of the federal government’s new mandate, AU requires proof from all faculty.

Compliance rates have been extremely high with only a few excused for health or religious reasons. Faculty who have an approved health accommodation teach online. Virtually all faculty and staff meetings are still held online.

Finally, AU requires masks in all indoor spaces. My impression is that students have been terrific about complying with this understandable but nonetheless annoying requirement. Another key component of the university’s strategy has been easy access to testing. It’s a spit PCR test and AU uses an app that allows you to check in for a test and receive news about the results very easily.

AU hasn’t been COVID free but it has kept infections down among a population that normally spreads infections. Prior to COVID, my classes could sound like TB wards from all the coughing during flu season. Exactly one person from AU has been hospitalized. Infections rose as expected/feared when students went home and came back after Thanksgiving but by less than one might expect.

I may disagree with my employer on some issues but I fully support this approach that kept AU safe and open.