🌤️ Today’s going to be sunny but cold, with highs not expected to break out of the 30s. Mercifully, last night’s bitter winds are gone.

In today’s newsletter:

😷 Navigating: Schools are struggling with the path forward as they transition away from masking.

🌮 Sampling: We’re trying some appetizing birria tacos because our restaurant critic Craig LaBan says the scene is booming.

🧩 Playtime: Your weekly pop quiz and a tricky word scramble are waiting for you at the bottom of the newsletter.

📥 Asking: How do you feel about the transition away from masks? Let us know.

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

Divisions over masking are deepening at schools

Newly relaxed regulations are intensifying the already vitriolic debate over how school districts should balance two competing needs: to restore some kind of normalcy for the students, and to minimize risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Some are sticking with universal masking, while others are dropping some restrictions entirely.

Our reporter Maddie Hanna has more on the complex divisions over masks.

What you should know today

  • 1 diploma for an extraordinary Temple University student who was killed Thanksgiving weekend in an apparent botched robbery and carjacking near campus was presented Saturday to the parents of Samuel Collington.

  • 186,000 New Jersey households learned about lead in their drinking water pipes running to their homes.

  • 3.5% is how much Pennsylvania State University trustees voted to raise room and board costs.

  • 2 laughing emojis plus “It’s all love” were the last tweets from Philly’s health department in a back-and-forth with a testy rapper Nicki Minaj.

  • 600+ Penn State students are participating this weekend in THON, the annual 46-hour dance marathon to raise money for pediatric cancer research and family support.

  • $250 million is how much Fanatics, Meek Mill, and Jay-Z paid to buy a vintage sports jersey maker.

  • 800 pounds of Oaxacan green corn will eventually become fresh masa for tortillas at Juana Tamale, Craig LaBan learned on his visit.

  • 300 orchids will go on display this coming Saturday at Longwood Gardens.

  • Local Coronavirus Numbers: Here’s your daily look at the latest COVID-19 data.


❓Pop Quiz ❓

Remember why that guy climbed Mount Kilimanjaro where he endured frostbite and sunburn on Africa’s highest peak? He did it all for...

A) his bucket list

B) social media likes and notoriety

C) a bet

D) Delco

Find out the answer.

🧩 Unscramble the Anagram 🧩

A Philly neighborhood. Hint: Two words. ☝🏽 + 💨 🍃


Send us your answer.

Last week’s answer: Philly Special. Congratulations to our winner, Ed!

Little did we know the Rams would try to pull off Saint Nick’s move at Super Bowl 2022, but it remains: imitated, never duplicated.

And for today’s track, we’re listening to 🎶 “In dreams, I walk with you. In dreams, I talk to you.” 🎶

👋🏽 Thanks for giving us some of your precious Sunday time.