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Boscola Bulletin

Pennsylvania Schools Closed Through 2019-20 School Year

Secretary of Education Implements State-Level Waivers to Ensure Continuity and Flexibility
Governor shares video message to students, parents and educators

Pennsylvania Schools Closed Through 2019-20 School YearContinuing his efforts to protect the health and safety of students and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that all schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. The governor made the decision in consultation with Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. Students and families can continue to pick up meals at designated sites.

Although schools are closed, teaching and learning may continue: schools are strongly encouraged to provide continuity of education for all students in the most appropriate and accessible ways possible. PDE has secured resources intended to help all schools that want to use them – including those not currently offering online platforms, those requiring additional technology support, and those that may rely on traditional methods, such as paper lessons, to continue educating students. There is no cost to schools or students for these resources.

Today’s decision applies to all public K-12 schools, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers and intermediate units. All Department of Education early learning program classrooms, including those for Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) and Preschool Early Intervention, will also remain closed.

Colleges and universities may not resume in-person instruction or reopen their physical locations until the governor permits them to open or lifts the closure of non-life-sustaining businesses.

Schools will remain closed though the end of the 2019-2020 academic year as it is defined by the local school calendar.

Under the state’s directive, schools could begin summer programming on the day after their academic year ends.

Secretary Rivera added that all re-openings will be contingent on public health guidance provided by the Secretary of Health and stay-at-home orders issued by the Governor.
In addition to the school closure announcement, through his order Secretary Rivera also took action that will ensure crucial stability of education programs. Under Act 13 of 2020, the secretary has exercised his executive authority to adjust requirements for the evaluation of professional employees and waive student teaching requirements that may not be possible in the context of school closures.

The department has been providing ongoing guidance to school communities in the form of FAQs. The guidance information is available at education.pa.gov/COVID19.

Thank You, Grocery Workers!

Grocery Store Workers Are Putting Their Lives on the Line. It’s Time to Protect Them.

Thank you for being there - Grocery Store WorkersI fully support of Senate Bill 1101 (SB1101) which would designate workers at food processing/protein facilities across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as “essential employees” and/or “front line employees” for all matters/circumstances, including but not limited to childcare, safety measures and paid leave to be made available to these workers.  These workers are vital to the food supply chain that nourish and feed our communities.

When going out to replenish your supplies…

  1. Stay Safe: If you’re showing symptoms, please don’t shop. See if a loved one can shop for you. Minimize frequency of shopping trips. 
  2. Social Distance: Maintain as much distance as possible from other shopping, especially while waiting in line, and employees when you can. The CDC recommends at least 6 ft. 
  3. Limit Contact: Do your best not to touch surfaces and bring your own wipes to disinfect touch-points, including the handles on shopping carts. Sanitize your own reusable bags before bringing them in 
  4. Use Credit Cards: If possible, use your credit card instead of cash and wipe down your card/phone before and after your shopping trip 
  5. Be Supportive: Workers are doing their best to keep shelves stocked and store staffed to serve you (and no…they don’t know when they will be getting in more toilet paper!)

Order to Provide Targeted Distribution of COVID-19 PPE and Supplies to Hospitals - Signed Yesterday

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf signed an order to provide critical aid to hospitals with targeted PPE and supplies distribution. We all need to be working together, with one another – not against one another – in order to successfully fight this pandemic. Making the best use of our medical assets should is paramount – preventing sick Pennsylvanian’s from having to CHOOSE which hospital to go to for help in fear that some hospitals will not have what is needed to treat COVID-19 effectively.

The order will ensure the efficient allocation and effective use of critical medical resources, such as N95 face masks, ventilators, respirators, face shields, safety goggles, disinfectants and other sanitizing solutions by hospitals in the state.

The order reads, that “despite the voluntary efforts of health care providers and despite the exhaustive work of commonwealth agencies to procure PPE and other medical resources from private industry to support Pennsylvania’s health care workers, facilities and emergency responders, a critical shortage of PPE, pharmaceuticals and other medical resources remains.”

The governor consulted with Sec. of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, and Randy Padfield, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), in developing the order to ensure all commonwealth resources are harnessed to meet the imminent surge of COVID-19 cases and to prevent overwhelming the health care system.

The order mandates that private, public and quasi-public health care providers and facilities, as well as manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of PPE, pharmaceuticals and other medical resources located within the commonwealth, submit current inventory quantities of PPE, pharmaceuticals and other medical resources to PEMA within five days of today’s order. Health care providers and facilities are further ordered to provide written reports detailing facility health care needs and other pertinent information in the form, manner and frequency directed by PEMA.

PEMA will make arrangements with other commonwealth agencies to reimburse facilities for PPE and other supplies and equipment, then arrange for supplies to be allocated to where they are needed most.

Read Governor Wolf’s order as a PDF here or on Scribd.

Department of Health – Hospital Preparedness Dashboard

Hospital Preparedness Dashboard

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has launched a new hospital preparedness dashboard that provides county-level information, including the number of available beds and ventilators in use at facilities across the state. The dashboard also provides an overview of the capacity of the state’s entire health care system.

The dashboard can be found in the COVID-19 section of health.pa.gov. View the desktop version of the dashboard here or the mobile version of the dashboard here.

Stimulus Checks

U.S. Stimulus ChecksAmericans will start receiving U.S. CARES Act stimulus payments through direct deposit next week. If you have not filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, it is still possible to receive a stimulus payment. The IRS states that “retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans' benefits, and taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally file a tax return will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income and those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as, Supplemental Security Income benefits.  Retirees who receive either Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits will also receive payments automatically.” For more information please visit the IRS website.

Pennsylvania's primary election was rescheduled to June 2. Are you ready?

☑️ Check your voter registration status: VotesPA.com/Status
☑️ Register or update your registration: Register.VotesPA.com
☑️ Sign up to vote by mail ballot: VotesPA.com/ApplyMailBallot

Pennsylvania's primary election was rescheduled to June 2. Are you ready?

Home from college?

No Place for Hate

No Place for HateHarassment against Asian Americans has risen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This behavior is unacceptable. Joined by legislators and community leaders, Governor Wolf released a statement encouraging Pennsylvanians to support the Asian community.
If you witness any discrimination or harassment, please email the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission at PHRC@pa.gov or call my office at 610-868-8667.

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
One East Broad Street
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