Philly City Council members back call for more student COVID testing

Nine members of the City Council have joined the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers in calling for the school district to continue testing for asymptomatic students as part of its COVID plan this year.

In a letter sent Friday to Superintendent William Hite and Board of Education President Joyce Wilkerson, the members said that “screening testing” — regularly testing all or a sample of students — is a “key prevention strategy” identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop the spread of the virus. | From: Chalkbeat Philadelphia (Read more.)

Income and Wages

A new tobacco tax would break Biden’s promise to low-income communities | Opinion

Our system of government is based on our elected officials following through on their ideas for the betterment of the community. Whether they’re debating trade policy or social services, improving the lives of constituents should always be first priority. Recently, Congress has signaled a disregard for low-income Americans with the Tobacco Tax Equity Act, introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) and other Democrats, to double the federal tax on all tobacco products. If passed, this legislation would wreak havoc on our communities and make it difficult for the Biden administration to live up to its promises. | From: The Inquirer (Read more.)


A year into PHLConnectED, Philly has hooked up 18,000 households to the internet

A year after city officials pledged to offer free internet to 35,000 low-income families, they are expected to announce Monday they have thus far connected about 18,720, with plans to include new households through grassroots outreach.

To date, 11,690 households have been connected via Comcast’s Internet Essentials program and an additional 7,030 families received wireless T-Mobile hot spots, according to Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology. | From: The Inquirer (Read more.)


Climate activists set their sights on Pennsylvania PUC

Pennsylvania climate activists have set their sights on the state’s utility regulator. The interfaith group POWER wants Gov. Tom Wolf to appoint new members of the Public Utility Commission who are dedicated to climate justice and ending environmental racism. They say they’ve met with Gov. Wolf and put out a call for candidates as part of an effort to reform the PUC and increase the use of renewable energy. | From: WHYY (Read more.)


COVID safety tops Philly students’ concerns before return to school

Jemille Duncan, a senior at Philadelphia’s Multicultural Academy Charter School, will be glad to finally see his classmates when school starts next week, but he worries about the spread of COVID with so many students returning to in-person learning.

“The district is in a really hard predicament because they are facing a lot of backlash from parents, and even some students who want to go back in person. And for good reason, lots of people perform better in person and teachers teach better in person,” said Duncan, who heads advocacy and policy for the student-run UrbEd Advocates. “However, I just don’t think we are prepared.” | From: Chalkbeat Philadelphia (Read more.)

Civic and Community Engagement

The woman in charge of leading DE&I efforts for the City of Philadelphia

Over the past five years, Nefertiri Sickout has been an integral part of the City of Philadelphia’s approach towards diversity, equity and inclusion. In May 2021, she was officially named chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, where she leads the Mayor’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She had been in an acting role since May 2020, following the retirement of Nolan Atkinson. | From: AL DÍA (Read more.)