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Schuylkill Barges Moved, I-676 Opened; PHLConnectED Giving 35K Students Tech; Wolf: No Fall Sports
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 08/06/20 4:41 pm | updated: 08/06/20 4:41 pm
Both sides of I-676 have now reopened. Three barges that became wedged under the Vine Street Expressway I-676 bridge across the Schuylkill River have been removed. Tug boats were able to push and pull the barges away from the bridge at around 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, 8/6. The barges were being used by the Army Corps of Engineers contractors to dredge the river. They became unmoored during Tropical Storm Isaias on Tuesday afternoon and floated into the bridge because of record high flood waters. Traffic on I-676 had been closed. SEPTA Regional Rail was also shut down for a while. PennDot says that there was on only minor damage and nothing that would affect its structural integrity.

Philadelphia officials announced plans on Thursday, 8/6, to get technology and internet access into the hands of every student who needs it by the time school starts on September 2nd. The Philadelphia School District will be beginning the 2020-21 school year all-digital with students participating in remote virtual learning. It is important that all students have the tools necessary. The new PHLConnectED program will outfit 35,000 K-12 students with laptops and internet access. The program will be purchasing wired, high-speed internet through Comcast's Internet Essentials or high-speed mobile hotspots from T-Mobile for families who are housing-insecure. It will ensure that every student has access to a device, whether a laptop or tablet. Many devices were already distributed in the spring. Families will also have access to dedicated technical support and 'digital navigators' that will guide them through the use of the devices and internet. There will also be multilingual and disability support. Families will be contacted through their school or the school district next. Overall, this is the first step is the city's larger digital equity initiative.


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's administration recommended on Thursday morning, 8/6, that all K-12 school and recreational youth sports be postponed until at least January 1, 2021. Wolf said, "Anytime we get together for any reason, that's a problem because it makes it easier for the virus to spread," Wolf said. "So the guidance from us, the recommendation is that we don't do sports until January 1." The joint recommendation came from the Pennsylvania Department of Heath and Pennsylvania Department of Education. Wolf said that this is a "strong recommendation" but it is not an order or mandate. He said that, "As with deciding whether students should return to in-person classes, remote learning or a blend of the two this fall, school administrators and locally elected school boards should make decisions on sports."

Last week, the PIAA already decided to allow fall sports to continue, leaving decisions to individual districts and leagues. The PIAA released a statement saying they are meeting on Friday to discuss the governor's comments. Leagues in the area and across the state are in limbo waiting for the decisions. Wolf's recommendation does not include collegiate or professional sports.

SEE: PIAA Approves Fall Sports
SEE: PIAA: No Parents/Fans In Fall Says State

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