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October 15, 2020

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Weeklong celebration fetes veterinary technicians

NAVTA logoThe National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America is celebrating this year’s National Veterinary Technician Week from Oct. 11-17.

The theme for 2020 is “This Is Who We Are, This Is What We Do.”

The celebration helps solidify the commitment every veterinary technician gives to veterinary technology, veterinary assisting, and veterinary medicine.

National Veterinary Technician Week has been an annual tradition since 1993, when NAVTA passed a resolution declaring the observance would be marked during the third week of each October. Celebratory efforts have included a variety of activities. A media kit and event ideas are available.

Veterinary practices are encouraged to educate the public by advertising the week with posters, available through NAVTA, and to personally thank veterinary technicians for everything they do. The week is sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Federal educational debt relief extended to end of year

Payments on federally held student loans have been suspended until 2021 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to the blog Consumer Finance Monitor, and the interest rate on these loans will continue to be set to zero percent. In addition, there will be no collections on defaulted loans, and nonpayments count toward certain loan forgiveness programs through year’s end.

President Donald Trump promised in mid-March to provide student debt relief during the pandemic. On March 20, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that Federal Student Aid would suspend loan payments and set interest rates to zero percent for 60 days. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act enacted March 27 provided for the same through Sept. 30. The CARES Act also halted collections on defaulted loans and allowed nonpayments to count toward the 120 monthly payments required by the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program or payments required for loan forgiveness under an income-driven repayment plan, as long as they were eligible prior to the suspension.

On Aug. 8, President Trump signed a memorandum directing DeVos to “provide such deferments to borrowers as necessary to continue the temporary cessation of payments and the waiver of all interest on student loans held by the Department of Education until December 31, 2020.”

DeVos implemented President Trump’s memorandum on Aug. 21, extending these relief measures for federally held student loans to borrowers through the end of the year, according to a press release from the Department of Education. Her actions also extended the CARES Act provisions that halted collections on defaulted loans and allowed nonpayments to qualify for loan forgiveness under the PSLF Program or an income-driven repayment plan.

Morris Animal Foundation awards nearly $1M for wildlife studies

Morris Animal Foundation announced in mid-August that it has awarded nearly $930,000 in grants for 12 studies on wildlife health.

As part of the wildlife studies, researchers will do the following:

  • Investigate the role diet and gut microbiota play in health and disease sensitivity in critically endangered southern black rhinoceroses.
  • Examine risk factors and impacts of parasitic infections on moose winter survival.
  • Investigate recent outbreaks of encephalomyocarditis virus, a rodent-borne virus that causes deaths in animal populations worldwide, notably elephants.
  • Study crickets as a model for invertebrates to help answer questions about the health and reproductive consequences of noise.

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