You might have been resting this weekend, but hundreds of teachers, students, parents and education supporters were not. They showed up in Philadelphia to march against racism in education. Issues included everything from acceptance into magnet schools to crumbling school buildings, and groups had specific demands for changes in Philadelphia’s school district.

Meanwhile, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is calling for districts to fully reopen for the new school year, even while COVID-19 infection rates are soaring in some states. Philadelphia’s final school reopening plan is expected this week.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre,

COVID-19 test rates are still low in Pa., and high in N.J. How much is enough?

Florida reported more than 15,000 new positive coronavirus cases over the weekend while numbers in the Philadelphia region remained mostly steady. The difference leads to the question: How much testing is enough to track the spread? Currently, Pennsylvania is testing at less than half the rate of New Jersey, a former COVID-19 hot spot.

Many factors shape how much diagnostic testing has to be done to accurately track the virus, including population density and the ability to do contact tracing. My colleague Marie McCullough dives into the issues that are affecting testing in the U.S.

There’s a rising interest in home births, but not everyone can afford them

During the pandemic, many expectant mothers are looking to give birth at home, rather than at the hospital. While a home birth isn’t nearly as costly as a hospital visit, the price to hire a midwife to help still ranges from $5,500 to $7,000, and most insurance plans don’t cover it.

This leaves many without the ability to pay for a much-needed service, especially for Black women, whose rate of mortality is “three to four times greater in the hospital,” said Asasiya Muhammad, a midwife in Philadelphia.

We are gardening more than ever during the pandemic

Tens of millions of Americans are happily getting their hands dirty for a new pastime: gardening. The hobby provides some stress relief during this moment and thousands of people in Philly are expressing interest. The chairman of a locally based Burpee Seeds described the demand for seeds and supplies as “a tsunami.”

Looking to get into the hobby yourself? My colleague Grace Dickinson wrote up some tips on what’s best to plant and grow during the pandemic.

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Here’s an adorable cat for your Monday morning. 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


“Four months in, the pandemic can no longer be an excuse to delay scaling up the response to the other public health and racial justice crises that the city is facing. Getting all the details of any program right is critical for success, but when it comes to gun violence, so is urgency. When five people are shot every day, on average, any delay in implementation of lifesaving programs is a tragedy.” The Inquirer Editorial Board writes on why gun violence must still be a priority for Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Spraygrounds

With Philadelphia’s city pools closed, spray grounds are providing relief from the heat and boredom of a summer during a pandemic. There are 91 of them in the city and they’re open for splishing and splashing from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends. You can check a map of locations here.