Good morning, Philly. Here’s what you should know:

First, Pennsylvania reported 11,000 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, shattering its record for cases logged in a single day.

Then, that case explosion is putting a ton of stress on nurses — both in health-care facilities and in schools.

And, a priest and former adviser to European royalty was charged in Philadelphia with child pornography offenses.

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

School nurses have new roles on the front line during the pandemic

School nurses are playing key roles during the pandemic, whether schools are open for in-person teaching, hybrid instruction, or are fully remote.

It’s not boo-boos and Band-Aids,” said Donna M. Pleus, president-elect of the New Jersey State School Nurses Association. “You’re trying to do your best and prioritize and keep everybody in the building safe. That’s a lot to ask.”

My colleagues Melanie Burney and Kristen A. Graham report that school nurses are doing everything from taking temperatures and enforcing social distancing and sanitation rules to making sure everyone wears masks and conducting contact tracing. They are also looking out for students’ mental health and consult with local health officials.

And outside of schools, with coronavirus cases surging again, Philly-area nurses revealed to my colleagues Aubrey Whelan and Jason Laughlin what life on the front lines is like. Pennsylvania has asked the public to help protect hospitals from filling up.

The pandemic and partisan attacks exposed gaps in Pa.’s new mail-in voting law

Pennsylvania lawmakers had no way of knowing that a year after passing legislation to give voters an alternative way to cast their ballots that it would be tested during a worldwide pandemic. So, how did it go?

In interviews with Spotlight PA and Votebeat, experts and lawmakers said that allowing any voter to cast a mail ballot was fairly successful in its first year. That’s especially true considering the circumstances this year, which included a public health crisis, record voter turnout, Pennsylvania’s role as a key battleground state, and attacks by the sitting president meant to undermine the voting process.

But, those circumstances did expose some issues with a law that was supposed to make voting easier.

Helpful COVID-19 resources

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

There’s just something about symmetrical architecture that always seems to catch my eye. Thanks for sharing, @jasoncoopman.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

That’s interesting

Stay safe, do stuff

Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:

  • 🍿 PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard (Movies / in-person / drive-in / family friendly / multi-day) The Philadelphia Film Society’s drive-in movies can accommodate up to 200 cars per screening. Holiday programming includes screenings of A Christmas Story, Dec. 5; Polar Express, Dec. 10 (to benefit Philabundance); Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dec. 12; Love Actually, Dec. 17, and Elf, Dec. 19. ($7-$12, screening to Polar Express is free with a donation, through Dec. 19, 6 p.m.,, map, add to calendar)

Find more of this week’s safe kid-friendly, outdoor and arts events.


“The condition of the city’s restaurant industry is poignantly expressed in the faces of our colleagues. There’s a heartbreaking, haunted quality in the eyes of many friends, workers, and owners alike: the look of hopelessness, of people who know they’ve been abandoned. I wish I could tell them they’re wrong. But that would be a lie.” — writes Francis Cretarola, the co-owner of Ristorante Le Virtú, about why it’s time to say goodbye to your favorite restaurants.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Letters to Santa

On Waldemire Drive in Northeast Philadelphia, there’s a big red mailbox sitting outside the home of Tina and Jim Moore. You can drop your notes to Santa inside and, as long as your note’s in the special mailbox by Dec. 19, you’ll get a note back from Santa by Christmas Eve. After seeing a similar one a few years back, Tina and Jim decided to set up their own mailbox to help cheer their COVID-19 blues, my colleague Gary Miles writes.