Good morning, good people. You’re reading The Inquirer Morning Newsletter, catching you up on all the news that’s fit to email. Today we dive into why the Philadelphia School District’s staff is already exhausted, explore Philly’s distribution of coronavirus booster shots, and look at parents who are pushing for medical exemptions to school mask rules but are getting push-back from doctors.

We’d love to know what you think. Send a reply to this email, and let’s start a conversation.

— Tommy Rowan (@tommyrowan, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Philly teachers and administrators are end-of-year exhausted and school has only just begun

A new school term always has its challenges. But the last four weeks have felt more like four years for many exhausted Philadelphia School District staff.

And it’s caused not only by the pandemic. There’s also a transportation crisis that has some kids never arriving at school. And the shortage of school nurses, paraprofessionals and other key workers whose usual barrage of duties is overtaken by COVID protocols. And a combination of other, smaller issues, including student computer issues.

“It’s been very hard,” Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said, pointing to COVID-19 protocols, new curriculum, assessments, and other curveballs.

The district is stressing social and emotional learning in the first months of school, and Hite said reestablishing community is the most important thing schools can do. But, the superintendent said, he understands the pressures on educators: “Our people have risen to the occasion, and we have to acknowledge their hard work.”

Reporter Kristen A. Graham has the full story.

Philly area prepares to distribute booster shots, with approval expected soon for certain groups

Millions of people could be eligible for a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine in a matter of days.

But first, the CDC and FDA must concur with the FDA panel that voted Friday to make select high-risk groups eligible. Federal officials are set to finalize the decision this week, and rarely go against the advice of the advisory committee that met Friday.

The looming announcement has led state and local officials in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to solidify plans for distributing another round of shots — while still working to persuade those who are unvaccinated to come in for a first dose.

Reporter Erin McCarthy has the full report on what local health officials are planning.

Reopening resources

What you need to know today

  • Across the country, pediatric practices are telling parents that they won’t write exemption letters so that children can evade school mask mandates. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has tightened its school mask mandate after thousands of parents submitted requests for exemptions without any medical excuse.

  • SEPTA announced Tuesday that it wants to make Regional Rail more affordable for Philadelphians by lowering fares and allowing bus, subway, and trolley transfers for people who use the commuter service to travel within the city.

  • State Rep. Kevin Boyle has been stripped of his committee chairmanship and had his access to the Capitol limited in a rare move by Democratic leadership in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Spotlight PA has learned.

  • A South Jersey police officer who used a Taser to stop a man who was driving an unregistered ATV, causing him to crash and flip the vehicle and suffer serious injuries, has been charged.

  • The Philadelphia Parking Authority’s board voted unanimously Tuesday to make lawyer Beth Grossman the new chairperson. Minutes later, a prominent board member proposed a major rule change that would mark a momentous shift for an agency that has earned a reputation for employing the politically connected.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

All is forgiven, @jessburghaus. Great shot. 📸

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

🏃The upcoming Broad Street Run will have a different finish line and a few small course changes.

🛒GoPuff, the Philly-based delivery service for beer, snacks, and essentials, is adding brick-and-mortar stores.

📻Kerwin and Keith Yarde are the creators of “Father and Son: A Star Wars Podcast,” a weekly YouTube series and podcast recorded in their King of Prussia home.

🍾Starting last Friday, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board started rationing the sales of 42 wine and spirits products, limiting sales to two bottles a day, per customer. Here’s what to buy instead.

🏈Columnist David Murphy looked at the last four Eagles’ coaches — from Andy Reid to Chip Kelly to Doug Pederson to current coach Nick Sirianni — and learned to not judge a head coach by his press conference.

Opinions

“Biden’s admirable vaccine rollout should have made America the world leader in fighting the virus. Instead, our pandemic of the unvaccinated shames us on an international stage. This makes allies question Americans’ sanity, along with the functionality of the American government and its ability to lead,” writes columnist Trudy Rubin, arguing that President Biden’s U.N. call for global cooperation on COVID-19 and climate change and countering Chinese aggression was right on target, but was undercut by political divisions at home.

  • Should Philly get a WNBA team? In this Pro/Con, a former women’s basketball player debates an Inquirer editor.

  • While you’re here: Do you have an opinion of your own? Read up on how to submit your point of view to the opinion editors.

What we're reading

Photo of the Day

Hope y’all enjoyed your time in the sun. The equinox arrives in Philly on Wednesday.