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Sunday Briefing — April 18, 2021


COVID Vaccinations Continue as Cases Plateau 

Bennington County was listed as a “very high-risk” area for COVID-19 on April 15, a little under a week after County officials reported that 50% of residents have received their first dose.


No Vaccines for Out-of-State, International Students

Vermont Health Department Officials have opened up vaccine registration to Vermonters in the 16-29-year-old age block beginning April 16, two days ahead of the original timeline. Despite pressure from a coalition of the Vermont colleges and universities (including Bennington College), Governor Phil Scott (R) has held to the April 30 date of opening up vaccinations to non-residents (including out-of-state and international students).


Biden Fumbles Refugee Crisis

Following fierce criticism within his own party, President Biden walked back his administration’s previous decision to keep the Trump administration’s historically low refugee admittance. This whiplash in policy began with Biden’s pledge on the campaign trail to raise the Trump cap of 15,000 refugees annually to 60,000. In office, however, Biden quietly committed to the Trump administration numbers until Friday. The decision faced outrage from human rights advocates and Congressional Democrats, including Senators Dick Durbin (D-Il), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Talib. The White House has now announced plans to set a higher cap by May 15.

International News

U.S. Troops to Leave Afghanistan by 9/11

In a surprise move to allies and adversaries alike, President Biden has announced his commitment to withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11-the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. The decision, which promises to end America’s longest war, has drawn both bipartisan condemnation and commendation in Congress.

Lauren Yanase is a first-year student with a passion for strong coffee and environmental education. When not playing in the woods, Lauren enjoys studying the interplay between history and storytelling through a multi-medium platform. Her award-winning documentary, Shikata Ga Nai: An Inconvenient American, has been shown at cultural and historical events, awareness seminars, and in classrooms across the West Coast.

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