For almost all of the 125,000 students in the Philadelphia School District, the 2020-21 school year starts today — remotely. Philly’s schools will remain that way until at least November as the district tries to plan a coherent learning experiences for students, maintain a safe atmosphere for workers, and grapple with looming financial issues. My colleague Kristen A. Graham stays on top of it all.

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It’s not that there aren’t rules in place for holding an election. It’s that there are so many efforts to change the rules. That’s been causing uncertainty while election officials work to finalize their plans and voters try to figure out how to actually cast their ballots.

Pennsylvania is a state that President Donald Trump won by less than 1% of the votes cast in 2016. So, even small changes that impact voter turnout could have a massive impact.

Launching the school year is going to be a challenge. Philadelphia School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said as much. Graham interviewed Hite about today’s atypical start to the Philly school year. He insisted, though, that “there’s still a level of excitement and optimism.”

But with the launch of the school year come concerns about finances. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers contract expired this week without a new agreement being reached. Hite said that the district is projected to face major long-term deficits without aid from the city or state.

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That’s a really cool way to capture the light. Thanks for sharing, @kslouf.

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“No recess on a playground. No cafeteria time. Only a herculean effort by valiant teachers on the other end of a lonely modem connection, and whatever scraps of attention caregivers could manage to dish out — if any.” — writes columnist Maria Panaritis about the beginning of virtual schooling.

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Dominic Gatta as he proposes to Tatiana Cruz on the helipad of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Courtesy of Jamie See
Dominic Gatta as he proposes to Tatiana Cruz on the helipad of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Tatiana Cruz wasn’t too happy when she was asked to work a Friday night shift last month. The nurse with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was going to get extra money and her boyfriend, Dominic Gatta, a nurse practitioner at HUP, was also working that night. Then, a colleague suggested they check out the hospital’s helipad, and Gatta was waiting there, got down on one knee, and pulled out a ring.