Pa. Schools get state guidance about handling COVID-19 outbreaks

Schools get state guidance about handling COVID-19 outbreaks
By MARK SCOLFORO Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state government agencies are providing school leaders with advice about how to respond when students or employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been on school property. The guidance issued late Thursday ranges from cleaning and tracing the sick person’s contacts to shutting down buildings for two weeks or longer. The Education and Health departments is recommending procedures that depend on how many people are infected and how widespread the disease has been growing in their county. School leaders had sought the advice as they plan for restarting instruction this fall.

Wolf: No plan to change recommendation on school sports

Wolf: No plan to change recommendation on school sports
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says he has no plans to change his recommendation that scholastic sports be canceled until 2021. Wolf spoke Thursday after the PIAA asked him to reconsider his stance. The PIAA, the governing body for school sports in Pennsylvania, is making the case that fall sports can proceed safely. But Wolf says that scholastic and other youth sports should be put on hold to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Pennsylvania reported nearly 1,000 new virus cases and another 24 new coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday.

Aliquippa School Bord Hears Parents Concerns on Reopening

Story by Beaver County Radio News Correspondent Sandy Giordano 

(Aliquippa, Pa.) Concerns about the reopening of school set for August 31, 2020 in the Aliquippa School District   were addressed by the school board at last night’s deliberation meeting   Nadfine Anderson,  a grandparent of an elementary school student said that more parental input  would have been appreciated in the making of decisions prior to the  hybrid plan being drawn up. Dr.Peter M. Carbone told the parents that some students will attend class on Monday and Tuesday, some on Thursday and Friday.  all students will work from home on their district-issued   on Wednesdays.  He told the parents the district is to meet with Rhodes Transit in regards to the busing arrangements.

Board President LaRita Stewart told the parents , in regards to attending school during the pandemic that this   is uncharted waters for all of us.”
The HEALTHY  PARENTING PROGRAM  was introduced to the board by Chevonne Walters, a parenting educator. She explained the programs available for parents.   at A Child’s Place,PA located at 1217 7th Avenue in Beaver Falls, PA.

Worldwide virus cases top 20 million, doubling in six weeks

Worldwide virus cases top 20 million, doubling in six weeks
By MARK STEVENSON, NICKY FORSTER and MICHELLE R. SMITH Associated Press
It took six months for the world to reach 10 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus. It took just over six weeks for that number to double. The worldwide count of known COVID-19 infections climbed past 20 million on Monday, more than half of them from the U.S., India and Brazil. That’s according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The real infection numbers are believed to be much higher, given limitations on testing and the many mild cases that have gone unreported.

Pennsylvania may seek federal loan to pay jobless benefits

Pennsylvania may seek federal loan to pay jobless benefits
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania has contacted the U.S. Department of Labor about a loan to prop up its unemployment compensation trust fund as President Donald Trump pushes states to help pay for an extension of federal unemployment benefits. Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said it was waiting for federal guidance to understand the full impact of Trump’s executive order. It’s not clear whether Trump has the constitutional authority to extend federal unemployment benefits by executive order or whether states will sign on. Under Trump’s plan, the $400 a week requires a state to commit to providing $100.

Reese, Topper to Unveil Legislation Regarding Sports, Extracurricular Activities and Educational Opportunities for Upcoming School Year

Reps. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) and Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Franklin/Fulton) will host a press conference to unveil two pieces of legislation that will impact sports, extracurricular activities and educational opportunities for students during the upcoming 2020-21 school year.

Last week, the Wolf administration abruptly announced that they recommend that there be no high school sports until Jan. 1, 2021. As already acknowledged by the administration, this recommendation was issued without evidence, science or data to back it up.

With the 2020-21 school year rapidly approaching and guidance from the Wolf administration continuing to change, students, parents and communities need clear and transparent direction for how extracurricular activities will occur in the fall without worrying that the guidance will change at any minute.

Reese’s legislation would allow Pennsylvania’s local school districts to make decisions regarding fall sports and activities.

Topper’s legislation will allow students and families to have the option to continue their education and extracurricular activities for an additional year to make up for the loss of instruction and competition during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

Schools to get more state virus analysis to guide reopening

Schools to get more state virus analysis to guide reopening
By MARC LEVY and MARK SCOLFORO Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Under pressure to give schools more health guidance about how to safely reopen, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration says it’ll provide recommendations to school districts based on the local rate of transmission of the coronavirus. The Department of Health said Monday it plans to provide an analysis showing the seven-day rate of transmission in each county and group those rates into three categories: low, moderate and substantial. The department’s recommendation on how to reopen would be based on those categories. While a county’s transmission rate and corresponding category could change week by week, Wolf’s administration said schools should consider changing their instructional models only after looking at the past two weeks of transmission.

Pennsylvania sees 601 new COVID-19 infections, 3 more deaths

Pennsylvania sees 601 new COVID-19 infections, 3 more deaths
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s new cases of COVID-19 are at 601 and the state Health Department says three additional deaths have been reported. So far nearly 120,000 Pennsylvanians have been infected with the coronabirus, and 7,317 have died. Officials say cases among younger people, notably those 19 to 24, have been increasing significantly. Cases among younger age groups have become more common than in those 50 and older.

Gov. Wolf Announces $96 Million for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Gov. Wolf Announces $96 Million for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
Application Period for Final Round of Funding Now Open 

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that $96 million in state grants have been awarded to 4,933 Pennsylvania small businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis and subsequent business closure order.

Businesses in every Pennsylvania county received grants in this first of two rounds of funding, and 2,512 grants – or 51 percent – were awarded to historically disadvantaged businesses.

“As we continue to address this public health crisis, it’s critical that we also focus on our state’s economic recovery and supporting our small businesses across the state, which continue to be impacted by our necessary mitigation efforts,” Gov. Wolf said. “This funding will go a long way to help small businesses, including historically disadvantaged businesses, at a time when they need it most.”

The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses.

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) distributed the funds to the Pennsylvania Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which are administering the grants through three programs: $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program, $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program, and $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program.

“The COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly affected small businesses across the commonwealth, an unfortunate circumstance that could not have been predicted or prepared for,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “However, through the collective action of the Wolf Administration, the General Assembly, and the CDFI Network, Pennsylvania’s hardest hit and most at-risk businesses will be able to access the funding they need to shore up their resources and regain sound financial footing as we move into recovery.”

The second and final round of funding is open starting today through 11:59 PM on Friday, August 28. Eligible applicants not awarded in the first round do not need to reapply and will be rolled into the next round for consideration. More information on the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program, including how to apply, is available on DCED’s website.

“The PA CDFI Network targeted these funds to reach the smallest and most vulnerable businesses across the state and we received an immense response with close to 50,000 applications submitted in the first round and more than $860 million in total requests,” said Daniel Betancourt, chairman of the PA CDFI Network and President & CEO of Community First Fund. “We are grateful to be part of this first step with Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Legislature to get much needed resources to the small businesses that have been so adversely impacted by the pandemic.”

The grants may be used to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, and for technical assistance including training and guidance for business owners as they stabilize and relaunch their businesses.

“These grants and the relief they will provide are testament to what we can do when we prioritize the right initiatives,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia, Montgomery), Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “It is because of collaboration and a collective focus that today we were able to deliver help to the auto body shops, the barbershops, the beauticians, the pizza shop owners, the soul food establishments and other businesses across the commonwealth. It is critical to understand that there is still a great deal of need and must continue to direct resources and aid to our small business community to help it recover from the devastation of the pandemic.”

“I could not be more proud or more grateful for the great work of DCED and Pennsylvania’s CDFI Network in delivering substantive, fair, equitable, need-based assistance to our state’s main street and historically disadvantaged small businesses. Our program design and the accountability it provides to taxpayers and to our federal funders is a model for the nation,” said state Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe), Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “I appeal to the US Congress and to our colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Harrisburg to recognize the success of this program in assisting small businesses devastated by the pandemic and to invest further in the program so we can help even more of them.”

“Our business community has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is in need of immediate assistance. The grant program is targeted to help small businesses manage costs, handle expenses, and stay in operation in this exceptionally difficult time,” said state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny, Westmoreland). “Since COVID struck our state and debilitated our business community, I have been advocating for bridge grants and sought millions in aid for impacted businesses and workers.  The small business assistance grants are one of the tools we can use to bolster business, maintain jobs and help workers at a time of immense distress.”

“For minority and women-owned businesses in Pennsylvania COVID-19 didn’t create a crisis, it laid bare the crisis our minority entrepreneurs have been facing for decades,” said state Rep. Jake Wheatley Jr (D-Allegheny), Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee. “While I’m glad to see the positive impact of these grants and I urge all local community businesses to apply for the next round of grants, we need to expand investment in programs like this because it’s long past time for the legislature to address the systemic flaws that are leaving too many marginalized people behind.”

“The burden that COVID-19 has put on business owners, employees and families in southeast Pennsylvania gets heavier every day,” said state Rep. Chris Sappey (D-Chester). “At this point, when we talk about addressing the pandemic, we must not only fight it with masks and social distancing, but we also must equally and strongly support our business community, where this fight for our health and safety actually is taking place. Commerce and industry must survive this virus, as well. Pennsylvania needs this aid now, and my office is eager to work with any business that needs help applying.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive ahead of Trump visit

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive ahead of Trump visit
By FARNOUSH AMIRI and DAN SEWELL Report for America/Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s governor has tested positive for the coronavirus just ahead of a planned meeting with President Donald Trump. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s office said Thursday he took the test as part of standard protocol before meeting Trump at an airport in Cleveland. He had planned to join the president on a visit to the Whirlpool Corp. plant in northwest Ohio. His office said DeWine has no symptoms, but was returning to Columbus before Trump landed. His office said he and his wife, Fran DeWine, will both be tested there. DeWine then plans to quarantine at his home in Cedarville for 14 days. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted tested negative.