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Even snow days are different in 2020 | Morning Newsletter

And, just how much snow to expect.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Good morning.

First: A real snowstorm means it’s time for a cup of cocoa, pajamas, and ... school is in session? Here’s how districts in the region are handling snow days in the pandemic. It’s also worth reading our look at the disparities in possible snow totals from today’s storm. Some parts of Philly could get plastered with a foot, but inch totals may vary throughout the region.

Then: For professors, the burnout is real. The pandemic has hoisted a burden on top of their workload: students’ well-being, and they’re feeling exhaustingly overcommitted.

And: All of the “ticket-splitting” in this county shows that it’s the most competitive Philly suburb.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

Something else is on thin ice due to the pandemic. The time-honored snow day.

With instruction fully migrated online for many schools, waking up to a fresh blanket of powder might not mean no class. Is a day to play in the snow a birthright of students? Or is this a pre-pandemic relic? Some school leaders view the day of snowball fights and sledding as a break we should protect. Others feel it’s a day to simply loosen up the structure. And others see scaling back normal classes as completely unnecessary.

Here’s how districts in the region are taking different positions on the day.

Educators are putting their all into being a pedagogic “everything” for students, some of whom are struggling with basic needs. It’s called compassion fatigue, and professors in the region say student stress is weighing heavily on them. Their well-being is getting tested too as they feel support for professors is lacking. They’ve got fears of their own from cuts to staffing to the feeling that they’re being cut out from major decision processes.

Here’s what it’s like for professors battling pandemic-related stress right now.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

  1. Check the latest coronavirus-related restrictions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

  2. Here are the updated coronavirus case numbers as COVID-19 continues to spread across the region.

  3. Are you seeing people again after having COVID-19? Read our checklist first.

  4. Is it safe to travel this winter? If you are, here’s a full breakdown on how to stay safer away from home wherever you stay and however you get there.

  5. What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus and what are the differences in COVID-19, the flu, a common cold, and allergies?

  6. Everything you need to know about buying, washing, replacing, and wearing face masks.

  7. You were exposed to COVID-19. Does everyone in your house have to quarantine?

  8. Sign up to get free coronavirus news updates in your inbox three times a week.

What you need to know today

  1. Curious about this winter storm watch for today into tomorrow? The shutdown power of this storm could potentially rival that of the coronavirus.

  2. The excitement over vaccinations does not slow the surge in our region. Here’s how much worse it’s gotten, all in perspective.

  3. It’s not polarized everywhere. Frustration over Trump may have run deep, but that judgment didn’t extend to a referendum on the Republican Party on the rest of the ballot. In fact, splitting votes between parties is so significant in this one county that it’s become the most competitive Philly suburb. We talked to people who exhibit this vote-splitting behavior.

  4. Some Pennsylvania restaurants are pushing back in loud defiance of the the indoor dining bans and staying open.

  5. A civil-engineering firm included clients from the Philly suburbs to the Poconos paid them back by defrauding them for nearly a decade, prosecutors said yesterday.

  6. A group of youth activists want to be able to vote on Philadelphia’s school board even though the current laws prevent it.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

We love the way these blooms frame this neon scene. Thanks for sharing, @thewanderful.maggiemae.

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

  1. 😷 “The hospital overhead alarm makes my heart sink every time...I hope it’s not one of my patients.” These are the things racing through the mind of cardiac surgery resident Jason Han during his Philadelphia hospital shift when time loses its meaning.

  2. 🚆 What’s a year without a commute been like? We want to hear from you.

  3. 🚗 And our reality just took another step closer to Westworld season 3 transportation. Amazon’s Zoox introduced robotaxi, a fully autonomous electric vehicle with no steering wheel for a ride-hailing service in the future.

  4. 🦅 Jalen Hurts can really play. Sunday’s game is reverberating across several factions of Eagles fandom. Here’s how the ”Doug Doubters,” “the Carson Cult,” and the “Howie Haters” view this win.

  5. ⚾ The Phillies are presenting the single trickiest challenge of Dave Dombrowski’s career.

  6. 🏀 The Sixers beat the Celtics in the preseason opener and Joel Embiid dominated.

  7. 👚 Just because you’re cooped up doesn’t mean you don’t deserve some fresh comfy threads. These are the best places to snag cozy clothes in Philadelphia.


“The City basically washed its hands and left the sector to fend for itself. That’s an unjust and unacceptable practice, a blatant disregard for an industry it supposedly now cherishes,” former City Hall Exhibitions Manager for OACCE, Tu Huynh, writes that the proposed arts task force is too little and too late for Philly’s creative economy.

  1. Longtime Temple University nurse Maureen May writes that nurses are enduring a disastrous free fall and there are three ways to fix it

  2. Philly’s decent management of the first wave could work against us when it comes to perception, write Carolyn Cannuscio, Perelman School of Medicine associate professor; Rachel Feuerstein-Simon, contact tracing leader at Penn Medicine, and Kevin Volpp, professor at the Perelman School of Medicine and Wharton School.

What we’re reading

  1. From Zoom office hours to holiday gift baskets, the Philadelphia Tribune introduces us to a school that’s going above and beyond in the pandemic.

  2. Billy Penn’s Layla A. Jones asks what a 1974 peace pact by Philly gangs can teach us now.

  3. Santa was riding along in his horse-pulled sleigh before he got pulled over by the cops for violating the rules of the road, The Independent reports.

Your Daily Dose of | Community

Luke DeFilippo’s survival is nothing short of a miracle.

The South Jersey boy with an active mind was born with an inoperable brain tumor that has compromised his development. At 18, he’s the size of an average 8-year-old boy and nonverbal. His parents realized he would benefit from an addition to their home to better accommodate his needs. And with fund-raising help from friends and neighbors, “Room for Luke” has drawn plenty of support from their Audubon neighbors. Even the Eagles organization donated equipment.

Here’s the sweet story of the community coming together.