Some key reads as kids head back to school | Five for Your Weekend

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Happy weekend, everyone!

We’re getting close to the start date at schools across the state, but this year, school looks a little different.

While different schools have opted to take different approaches many have taken to all remote learning to begin the school year. Others, have chosen a hybrid approach.

There’s been a lot of discussion about how the school year will play out and guidance governing the schools. Here’s a short list of some of our most recent education/school-related articles to help you catch up.

This article from ABC Action News in Tampa Bay, Fla. offers some tips for families as the new school year begins while the nation grapples with COVID-19.

Cheers to a leisurely weekend,

Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

1. Break quarantine, risk legal action, Pa. warns people exposed to COVID-19The Pennsylvania Department of Health is warning some Pennsylvanians who have been exposed to COVID-19 of legal action if they violate quarantine.

The warning comes in a three-page letter, sent to potentially thousands of Pennsylvanians, who were in close contact with someone who was positive for the coronavirus.

The letter advises recipients to stay indoors for 14 days since their last contact with the positive individual, to take their temperature twice daily, and to cooperate with the department. The warning comes in the second to last paragraph.

2. Republican lawmaker calls police after ‘aggressive and belligerent’ call with Democratic colleague over LGBTQ billA Philadelphia suburban Republican called the police to his home after a Democratic colleague launched into a late-night, curse-filled tirade against him in a phone call on Monday.

In a statement released Tuesday, Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery, claimed that Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, told him in the call that Sims would “ruin” Murt and that Murt was “finished.”

Murt, a seven-term lawmaker, is not running for reelection.

Murt said what sparked the call was unclear, but he speculated it was over a proposal he released this week for an LGBTQ bill of rights.

3. Pa. Lawmaker: It’s not government’s responsibility to ‘try to keep us safe’A Republican lawmaker called for Americans to exhibit “personal responsibility” to fight the COVID-19 pandemic while arguing it is the job of private businesses and individuals, not lawmakers and public servants, to implement health policy.

The remarks, by Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks, came at the end of a three-hour-long hearing on the state’s beleaguered unemployment compensation system.

Cox, chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee, then spoke for almost ten minutes, arguing that Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration could not be solely focused on public safety as the “driving force behind the decisions we in government are making.”

Government reminders of the best ways to prevent the flu, such as sneezing into your elbows, were “all good and fine,” Cox said.

But, “it’s not the government’s responsibility to pass mandates, to pass orders, to try to keep us safe.”

4. Pennsylvania got $104M from the feds to expand internet access to students. Much of it is still unspent This spring, as Pennsylvania schools struggled to complete a historic school year entirely online, state officials secured $104 million in federal funding to improve internet connectivity for K-12 and college students statewide.

Now, with less than a month until the school year traditionally starts, most of the money still hasn’t been spent – even though districts are increasingly accepting that remote instruction will be the reality for hundreds of thousands of school children this fall.

Gov. Tom Wolf has total authority to allocate the grant that Pennsylvania received from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, a pot of money created in the federal CARES Act, and controlled by the U.S. Department of Education.

So far, he’s distributed just one-third of Pennsylvania’s award, giving $3 million to preschool programs and $28 million to colleges and universities.

But his administration can’t say when they’ll release the remaining $73 million to K-12 schools or how they’ll decide to dole it out.

5. ‘This is about local control’: House GOP rolls out fall sports, school reopening bills

Days after the Wolf administration recommended the optional postponement of the fall sports season, a Republican lawmaker says he wants to take that power out of the administration’s hands and give decision-making power back to local school districts.At a news conference Tuesday, Rep. Mike Reese, R-Westmoreland, said the Democratic administration’s abrupt announcement last week “sent shockwaves” through Pennsylvania’s athletic community, and sent the state’s main sanctioning body, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, scrambling to set policy.

“Why now, right before the academic year begins, are schools not able to make their own decisions about sports?” Reese said in a statement issued by his office. “Will similar announcements be forthcoming about regarding other extracurricular activities? These should be local decisions.”

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here Monday. 

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.