When restaurants reopened for outdoor dining, servers began to feel like a new group of front-line workers confronting the coronavirus pandemic. Teachers are starting to feel that, too. Dozens of Philadelphia school teachers gathered this weekend to put pressure on the city’s school district to revise its back-to-school plan. Now, Superintendent William R. Hite has pulled his plan back leaving teachers, staff, parents, and students to wonder what comes next.
SEPTA began requiring facemasks last month, but there are riders who feel that more needs to be done, especially as more commuters return. So far, SEPTA says that about 30% to 35% of ridership is back.
Overall, about 81% of SEPTA riders properly comply with the face-covering policy, according to video analysis. But that figure dips to 63% on the Market-Frankford line. On Regional Rail, compliance is high, up to 96%.
“This is not going to be a normal school year,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said, stating the obvious. Across the region and nation, schools are grappling with how to educate students this fall. In Philly, public outcry over the district’s initial plan has led to a pullback of those plans. So, now what?
Some middle-class and affluent parents aren’t waiting around. Pooling resources together, families are forming home-schooling “pandemic pods” and hiring private teachers to educate their children at home this fall. It has the potential to change education, but also to deepen inequality that already exists.
Pennsylvania was supposed to be a dogfight, a toss-up of a battleground state that could have determined who won the presidential race in November. But with fewer than 100 days until Election Day, public polls suggest that Joe Biden is winning — big.
Recent polls from Fox News, Monmouth University, and the New York Times/Siena College have Biden leading by double digits in Pennsylvania. By comparison, in July of 2016, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump by about 3 percentage points in Pa.
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“As a parent worried about my daughter’s social and emotional health after having to isolate her for months from other children, and as an educator who deeply values collaborative in-person learning, I sympathize with parents and teachers who are ready to sweep online learning into the dustbin of history. But as flawed as remote learning is, it doesn’t lead to death, and reopening our school buildings will, not only for students and staff, but also for families and communities.” — writes Adam Sanchez, an African American History teacher at Lincoln High School, about why Philly schools’ first reopening plans could have been a “disaster.”