Hello, readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: Not everyone sees eye to eye on whether colleges should require vaccines. The debate is taking shape on college campuses as they prepare to reopen.

Then: Fast-food chains are vanishing in central Philly because of the housing boom.

And: It’s the most sizzling week we’ve seen yet this summer, leading the city to declare the season’s first “heat emergency” until 11:59 tomorrow night.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_AshleyHoffman, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Should college campuses mandate vaccines?

As new cases and death rates plummet while vaccination rates rise, one thing is clear: With the region’s colleges differing widely in their approaches to vaccine requirements, another experiment is already in the making.

St. Joseph’s University joined some others in the Philadelphia region this month in announcing that students, faculty, and staff would have to get their COVID-19 vaccines before participating in any on-campus activities. University officials said the feedback was mostly positive. But some parents say the requirement intrudes on a personal choice, not the health of the public. These parents, which St. Joe’s says make up a small minority, argue that college-age students are less likely to get seriously ill from the virus than older people.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education says there is no legislation that specifically allows it to require the vaccine, leaving schools to make the rules. Read on for reporter Susan Snyder’s article on the vaccination debate on college campuses.

The housing boom displaced fast-food chains in central Philly

It wasn’t so long ago that you could walk out of City Hall in any direction and quickly find comfort in a meat-and-fries calorie bomb at a brand-name, fast-food restaurant.

But in the last few years, those old-school burger joints have been vanishing from central Philadelphia. Soaring land prices, a booming housing market, and a preference for healthier eating have drastically reduced their number. Without brick-and-mortar restaurants to advertise their presence, will our children ever know the guilty pleasure of a Happy Meal or Whopper?

Architecture critic Inga Saffron looks at the forces that are driving out the drive-throughs.

Reopening resources

What you need to know today

  • The mercury is ticking toward the triple digits, and Philly is opening several cooling centers. Speaking climatologically, as one does when you are reporter Anthony R. Wood, it’s the hottest period of the year, and it’s not going to last the week.

  • And if you’re beating the heat, know this: There are 22 pools that will stay closed because the city can’t hire enough lifeguards. Here are the city pools that will be opening this summer and when.

  • More money will go to Pennsylvania’s schools that need it most, but public education advocates say this budget is far from enough.

  • COVID-19 may have been the leading concern for older adults’ health in 2020, but a longtime silent killer lurked in its shadow. Experts are concerned that isolation and less activity throughout the pandemic could have eroded seniors’ strength and health, which can contribute to falls.

  • There were a record number of fireworks injuries in the pandemic year of 2020.

  • This is the latest partisan Pennsylvania voting conflict. Does the new state budget deal create a Bureau of Election Audits as Republicans are pushing for?

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Thanks for sharing this plant lyfe inspo. Here’s more on how to turn your Philly rowhouse backyard into a vegetable garden for less green.

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

That's interesting

🎨 These are the best events for kids in Philly this week.

🧬 A Shanghai-based contractor drugmaker that’s already Philly’s biggest cell and gene therapy manufacturer was awarded $19 million in Delaware investment and job training grants for “Project Dragonfly.”

💖 See photos of life being lived as the weather got warmer and we came out of isolation to enjoy being together.


“Losing more than three people a day to a drug overdose is not normal, but that has been the reality of Philadelphia for more than three years. It’s past time for Philadelphia City Council to make overdose prevention a priority — not just when it is time to block-lifesaving efforts,” The Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, writes.

What we're reading

Your daily dose of | Feathers

These are gilded birds we can get behind. These pole-perched pals are the first installation in “Water Marks,” a multi-year program of rotating installations at a variety of sites along the Delaware River Waterfront, from Philadelphia Contemporary and the Delaware River Waterfront Corp.