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Long Island adjusts to life with the coronavirus

Suffolk County Community College.

Suffolk County Community College. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Daily Point

Long Island colleges reap benefits of federal stimulus

The $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress includes $14 billion for colleges, universities and trade schools, intended to help the schools cover and compensate for the economic distress the coronavirus is causing, The money is going, in sums large and small, to thousands of schools, distributed largely by how many federal Pell Grants each school serves, and the numbers are fascinating. On Long Island, Stony Brook University, for instance, will receive $19,710,714, while the United States Merchant Marine Academy gets $569,967.

At least half of the money each school receives must be spent on emergency financial aid grants.

Click here to see the totals Long Island colleges and universities are receiving, as well as a few notables from around the region and the nation.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Reference Point

Learning from the past

As Long Island and the nation struggle to respond to the coronavirus, it’s worth remembering that nearly 70 years ago Long Island and the nation were engaged in a different battle that also required cooperation and sacrifice — World War II.

Sixty-nine years ago, with Pearl Harbor still nine months away, Newsday’s editorial board was part of setting the stage in praising remarks made by President Franklin Roosevelt about the approaching need for “sacrifices for all,” including business, labor and all other Americans.

“The course now has been chosen,” the board wrote on March 17, 1941. “Yes, it was the President of the United States who stood alone before the microphones Saturday night, but his voice was that of the American people.”

The aspect of a community pulling together evoked by FDR was there on March 20, 1943, when the editorial board praised Nassau County residents for contributing $525,000 to the Red Cross War Fund Drive for things like blood plasma banks, bandages and serums sent to battlefields, and costs incurred in finding soldiers who had been captured and facilitating messages between them and family.

“Stores, defensive industries, bowlers, average citizens, all are contributing their dollars,” the board wrote, while encouraging others to pony up. “Your dollars will help bring aid to your brother, son or sweetheart when he needs it most.”

Three days later, the board wrote of an impending food shortage, with items like meats and butter hard to find. The board was discouraged that most respondents in a Nassau County poll said they would be unwilling to work on farms in the region that summer to help out, but praised two groups that responded by large majorities that they were ready to get dirty in the farm fields — teachers and college students. The board also complained about mismanagement of the food chain in Washington and mixed messages being sent by officials there given that they had termed the battle against Nazi Germany and Japan an “all-out war.”

“It is time that we all began to realize just how serious this food crisis can become,” the board wrote on March 23. “And it is about time that we made it plain to the various administrators of the war that we want them to get together and form a unified command at home. We don’t want them to let Uncle Sam turn into Mother Hubbard. We eat out of that cupboard, too.”

And as various items were rationed as the war wore on, the board’s consistent theme was that each of us is part of the fight and that together we will win. All these years later, the message is the same.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Pencil Point

Right-hand man

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Final Point

How EMTS are dealing with the coronavirus

For many Long Islanders, volunteer EMTs are their first interaction with the health care system. That’s a point of pride and concern during the coronavirus pandemic, which is sickening so many frontline medical workers. Episode 10 of “Life Under Coronavirus” is a visit to the Massapequa Fire Department’s ambulance bay, where a crew of EMTs talks about taking patients to plastic-draped emergency rooms that look like the moon, and how everything has to be considered a COVID-19 call: “so every call is stressful now.”

Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano