Pa. Intends to Reopen Schools in the Fall,
Ohio Reopens Retail Stores Tuesday
kids_classroom_hands.jpg
Pennsylvania's Education Secretary: The state fully intends to reopen schools for in-person instruction this fall.

During a state Senate Education Committee hearing held on Monday, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera told legislators that the department plans to reopen schools throughout the Commonwealth in the fall.

Rivera said during the Senate hearing that the Department of Education will be working with school districts across the state to prepare for what in-person instruction might be, as counties continue to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the secretary said schools must be able to reopen their facilities in a safe manner and be ready to address specific, unprecedented issues, such as socially distant classrooms and busing, staggered classes, increased support for students and staff. Schools are also preparing for potential cuts to programs and school budgets as a result of the financial impact of the pandemic.

The department is diligently working to make sure schools are ready to reopen and looking to other states and countries for best practices and standards, Rivera said on Monday. The department will also work with key stakeholders and intermediate units across the state to determine what the new education model will be in the wake of the novel coronavirus crisis. Rivera noted that the department will also work on developing orientation programs to help teachers and administrators become aware of the new guidelines.

In April, Rivera caused a stir when he mentioned that the state was preparing for a worst case scenario regarding the reopening of schools in the fall.
Ohio retail stores reopen on Tuesday, anti-body testing shows signs virus was in Ohio in January.

Today marks the first day Ohio retail businesses will be allowed to open their doors since the second week of March, when the state ordered certain businesses to shutdown to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s order on retail store openings will allow most businesses to reopen, but the governor said it will be a store-by-store decision if the business will open its doors. In addition, the order includes certain caveats and exemptions, including outdoor-only dining for restaurants, face mask requirements for workers, and 50 percent capacity restrictions for shoppers. Hair salons and bars will reopen on Friday, and other remaining business, including inside dining, will reopen on May 21 st.

Ohio child care businesses are not yet permitted to reopen, but plans are expected in the coming days.  
 
Also in Ohio, health officials said this week that randomized anti-body testing has begun across the state. This testing has revealed that Ohio’s first COVID-19 cases may have existed and been spreading as early as January. The state's Department of Health said they have found five different cases in five different counties that indicate the first cases of the novel coronavirus hit the Buckeye State at the start of the new year.
Daily COVID-19 update for Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 837 new positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the state total to 57,991. In addition, 3,806 Pennsylvanians have died from complications from the virus. To date, there have been nearly 238,000 negative cases across the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf is still asking all Pennsylvanians who must leave their homes for life-essential reasons to wear a mask to help stop the spread of the virus . An executive order was issued on April 15 requiring customers entering a place of business to wear a mask.

Daily COVID-19 update for Ohio

The Ohio Department of Health reported 25,250 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1,436 deaths, including probable cases, by Tuesday afternoon. There have been 4,539 hospitalizations and 1,232 ICU admissions.
Other News...
Pa. state officials provide guidelines for child care centers eligible to reopen. The Department of Human Services (DHS) released guidance on how child care centers should operate when they reopen their doors to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. DHS and the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) are providing details on the new standards through video to those centers that want to reopen.

PennDOT will use existing photos for IDs, licenses. On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced it will use existing photos currently on file with the agency for driver's license and identification card renewals. PennDOT said customers looking to renew licenses and obtain a REAL ID will only receive a standard license, as the issuance of REAL ID is currently suspended as a mitigation effort in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Northeast Pa. Rep. seeks greater COVID-19 reporting among industrial sector. State Rep. Tarah Toohil, who represents the Hazleton-area of northeast Pennsylvania, will be introducing legislation to require daily reports from Pennsylvania companies regarding the impact of the virus on their workforce. Hazleton has been one of the hardest hit areas of Pennsylvania, primarily due to number of warehouses and food packaging plants in the region.

Pa. Senate takes Gov. Wolf to court over business waiver information. Pennsylvania Senate Republican leaders have filed a lawsuit Monday in Commonwealth Court against the Wolf administration to enforce subpoenas approved by the state Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee last month. The lawsuit is seeking all notes, memos, emails, letters, and other documents related to the administration's business shutdown waiver process. Last week, the Wolf administration released a list of more than 5,000 businesses that were granted waivers.

Pa. Children's Health Insurance Program faces cuts as need increases. With the COVID-19 crisis impacting millions of workers and families in Pennsylvania, the need for programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has increased as families look to access coverage. But expected cuts in federal funding to CHIP have state and federal officials looking for solutions on how to keep the program going.
Unprecedented times, but McNees is here to help
The situation surrounding COVID-19 is changing by the hour. Capitol Buzz will do its best to keep our readers as up-to-date as possible as to local, state and federal actions relating to the virus.

As we have stated in previous editions, for those businesses seeking guidance or assistance on how to proceed during this unprecedented time, please contact the McNees Labor and Employment Practice Group , or for government relations and nonprofit consulting assistance please contact the McNees Strategic Solutions Group (MSSG) .

You can also visit the McNees COVID-19 Article & Resource Page for more information on various legal and political issues created by the novel coronavirus.

For more information on what you can do to protect yourself and others, check out the CDC's coronavirus information page or visit www.health.pa.gov .
2020 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE

The Senate will be in session on Wednesday, May 13.

May
13, 18, 19, 20
June
1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30
2020 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

The House stands adjourned until the call of the chair.

May
13 (NV), 18, 19, 20, 26, 27
June
8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30
September
15, 16, 17, 29, 30
October
1, 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21
November
10
To share on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn - click the buttons below!
100 Pine Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101