The next saga in the coronavirus pandemic appears to be how to start the school year. Districts in the Philadelphia region are no different from those grappling with the issue across the country. In the last week, my colleagues have been reporting on suburban school districts changing course and moving to virtual learning — again. And that is leaving parents conflicted. More on that, and other news, below.

Philly-area school districts are moving toward starting school virtually this year, a shift that accelerated last week, my colleague Maddie Hanna reports. Even with schools slated to open in just a few weeks, some districts approved new plans or changed them.

Some parents see these decisions as important for keeping their children and towns safer from spreading the coronavirus. Others, though, are being put into a “child-care bind.” Add those worries to concerns about the quality of the virtual-learning experience that children went through in the spring, and the frustration has resulted in hours-long board meetings and fierce advocating.

Philadelphia PlayStreets are a nearly 60-year-old tradition made up of meal service and summer camp, with field trips. And in the middle of a pandemic that has closed pools, rec centers, and libraries, the city has doubled down on them. One such street, Alden Street in West Philly, was designated a “super street” that would get extra resources. The effort, though, has collided with the city’s deadliest summer in at least five years, my colleague Samantha Melamed reports.

In the middle of the pandemic, developers want to build on the Delaware River and elsewhere in the city. Four companies this month will present plans to Philadelphia’s Civic Design Review Board. And, if they’re ultimately built, over 1,500 new apartments would rise between Spring Garden Street and the Fillmore on Frankford Avenue, bringing about a “real neighborhood,” my colleague Inga Saffron writes.

What’s driving these projects? The impending end of the 10-year tax abatement. Even if construction doesn’t start, if developers get a building permit before 2020 ends, they’re locked in to the 10-year abatement.

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Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

This shot reminded me of my colleague Nick Vadala’s story outlining 12 day trips for photo buffs. Thanks for sharing, @d_smoove.

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


“You can tell when I’m going into battle because I’m wielding the spray bottle in one hand and a mallet in the other, growling and grimacing ferociously.” — writes Ann L. Rappoport, Cheltenham Township commissioner, about how killing spotted lanternflies has turned into her preferred 2020 relief.

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Your Daily Dose of | Orchestra practice

The students and faculty who are a part of Philadelphia’s All City Orchestra Summer Academy practiced during July alongside players from the Philadelphia Orchestra — over Zoom. The grand finale of this summer’s program is a student performance that will go live tomorrow at 11 a.m. on the Mann Center’s Facebook page. Each of its parts was recorded by the musicians at home, then synced together in a video overseen by Philadelphia Orchestra music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.