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Why more families are opting for homeschooling | Coronavirus Newsletter

Plus, how Penn saved a cop with COVID-19 who had ‘no chance of surviving’

Sam Dukart, 9, works on a writing project during a homeschooling session his lawn in Cherry Hill, N.J. on Sept. 10. Elizabeth Dukart pulled her kids from Cherry Hill public schools to homeschool them during the pandemic.
Sam Dukart, 9, works on a writing project during a homeschooling session his lawn in Cherry Hill, N.J. on Sept. 10. Elizabeth Dukart pulled her kids from Cherry Hill public schools to homeschool them during the pandemic.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

TL;DR: The pandemic has driven an increasing number of parents around the region and the country to give new consideration to homeschooling, spurred by uncertainty about school schedules and aversion to virtual-learning programs. A New York Police Department lieutenant’s arduous recovery from the trauma of COVID-19 involved 75 days on a ventilator and unsuccessful treatments at three hospitals, before finally being brought to Penn.

— Kelly O’Shea (@kelloshea,

What you need to know:

👨‍⚖️ A federal judge has ruled that key components of Gov. Tom Wolf’s coronavirus mitigation strategy — such as business closures and limits on gatherings — are unconstitutional.

🎒 College-aged students are driving a significant increase in Pennsylvania coronavirus cases this month, Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Monday.

🏠 Pennsylvania will receive nearly $2 billion in new funding to help households struggling to make rent or mortgage payments due to the pandemic.

🚆 Four PATCO stations closed in March due to the pandemic reopened Monday, and weekday train services will increase to every five to 10 minutes during rush hour.

👵🏼 “Essential” caregivers — people who were actively involved in visiting family members in long-term care before the pandemic — are lobbying for greater access to loved ones in nursing homes.

💰 While federal unemployment programs have changed several times, Pennsylvania’s programs remain unaffected. Here’s how to apply for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania.

💉 COVID-19 vaccine trials are calling for more Black and Latino volunteers but recruiting minorities for clinical trials has long been challenging because of the history of racist abuses in medical research.

📰 What’s going on in your county? We organized recent coverage of the coronavirus pandemic by local counties mentioned in the stories to make it easier for you to find the info you care about.

Local coronavirus cases

📈The coronavirus has swept across the Philadelphia region and cases continue to mount. The Inquirer and Spotlight PA are compiling geographic data on tests conducted, cases confirmed, and deaths caused by the virus. Track the spread here.

Tracking the growth of homeschooling is difficult. In Pennsylvania, officials say they don’t have data for the current school year, while in New Jersey, the state doesn’t track it at all. But people connected with the homeschool community say they’ve seen a surge in interest. Advocates consider Pennsylvania among the most highly regulated states for homeschoolers, with state-mandated subjects and standardized test requirements. Parents must have their children assessed by a certified homeschool evaluator each year. Read more here.

Yvan Pierrelouis spent 75 days on a ventilator, and for the past two months, has contended with an arduous physical and emotional recovery from the trauma of COVID-19. While the New York City police lieutenant lay unconscious, he was treated at three hospitals, finally being brought to Penn, where his daughter works as a nurse. The 59-year-old told my colleague Jason Laughlin that he’s always been a fighter. “I’m an immigrant you know,” he said. “That’s why I work so hard for my children to be better than me.”

Helpful resources

  1. How to tell the difference between symptoms of COVID-19, flu, common cold, and allergies.

  2. If you’ve hit a COVID-19 wall, here are ways to cope.

  3. The coronavirus is mainly transmitted through the air. Here’s how to tell if your ventilation is OK.

  4. How does the virus affect your entire body?

  5. Here’s what to know about traveling safely during the pandemic.

You got this: Keeping connections

The quarantine safety bubbles we built for our families during the summer months are disintegrating as schools reopen. Is it risky to socialize with parents whose kids are in some kind of physical school? My colleague Elizabeth Wellington shares advice for how to understand your risk, and avoid isolating your friends who have children.

🦅 Despite the pandemic, this South Jersey banquet facility found a way to help Eagles fans celebrate the first game of the season.

🐤 Just Born Quality Confections, based in Bethlehem, Pa., announced it won’t be producing seasonal holiday-themed Peeps this year, in order to focus on Easter 2021.

🏋️ Philadelphia Sports Clubs' parent company has filed for bankruptcy, but the company said facilities will stay open for members with regular service.

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

What we’re paying attention to

  1. Temperature checks are becoming de rigueur in many workplaces and restaurants, even though federal health officials say they are of limited value, the New York Times reports.

  2. Trump officials interfered with weekly CDC reports on COVID-19, a Politico investigation found.

  3. Experts warn the pandemic has caused kids to miss critical windows for lead testing, according to Kaiser Health News.

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