Gov. Wolf Announces Nearly $5 Billion in Federal COVID-19 Relief for Pre-K-12 Schools

By: Press Release

Governor Tom Wolf today announced that Pennsylvania is expected to receive $4.9 billion in federal relief funds to help Pre-K to 12 schools return students to classroom learning and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most.

The funding, and the state’s nearly complete special initiative to provide teachers, school staff and contractors the opportunity to get the voluntary, single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, supports the governor’s goal to help more schools to reopen and for additional students and teachers to safety return to the classroom.

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Wolf administration refuses to release details of wasted COVID-19 vaccine doses

By: Ese Olumhense

HARRISBURG — The Wolf administration is refusing to disclose details of wasted coronavirus vaccine doses, including how many have been discarded by each provider, citing a decades-old law that it has frequently used to shield the public from scrutinizing its pandemic response.

The state Department of Health recently denied a public records request by Spotlight PA seeking documentation of vaccine doses that providers did not administer because of expiration, damage, or other factors. The request did not seek any patient information.

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Pa. says it’s starting to excel at COVID-19 vaccine distribution

By: David Wenner

Pennsylvania officials on Thursday said during the past week the state has vaccinated more residents per 100,000 than all but one other state.

“That is proof the pace of vaccination is accelerating here,” said Alison Beam, the acting secretary of health.

Officials further said Pennsylvania stacks up especially well when compared with the other states that have the largest populations of people 65 and older.

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Wolf pessimistic about his stimulus spending hopes for Pa.

By: Katie Meyer

Ask us about COVID-19: What questions do you have about the coronavirus and vaccines?

Gov. Tom Wolf says there’s a lot he’d like to do with the billions of federal dollars set to flow into Pennsylvania now that President Joe Biden has signed the massive stimulus plan.

But in a virtual appearance Thursday at a conference for the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the governor, who has less than two years left in his term, said he doesn’t have much hope he’ll be able to do any of it.

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Gov. Wolf Signs Bill Preparing National Guard to Assist with Vaccination Efforts

Press Release

Governor Wolf signed House Bill 326, which permits the Pennsylvania National Guard (PANG), in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, to develop plans for the establishment and operation of regional sites for community distribution and administration of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies, and vaccines for a virus, including COVID-19. The bill also requires a report on the Administration’s plans to incorporate the National Guard into its overall vaccination strategy while taking into account vaccine availability and other vital ongoing missions.

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Could teachers become a higher priority on Pa.’s list for COVID-19 vaccinations?

By: Jan Murphy

Pressure has been building for teachers and other school employees to jump to the front of the line in Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution to allow a return to in-person classes.

The authorization of the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine could be their ticket to do just that.

On Monday, a state Department of Education official said updated information about vaccine distribution to educators is forthcoming. A state Department of Health spokeswoman elaborated on that point, saying specific details are hoped to be announced later this week.

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Wolf says state must do better with inoculations as Pa. reports 3,427 new cases

By: Mick Stinelli

Even though new cases of COVID-19 continue to drop after a winter surge, the United States on Monday still reached the sobering milestone of 500,000 people who have died of the virus.

In Pennsylvania, 3,427 new cases were recorded between Sunday and Monday, one of the lowest daily case counts in recent months. The state Department of Health also confirmed 44 more people had died of the virus.

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Pa. education groups urge state to prioritize school staff vaccinations

By: Andrew Goldstein

Calls continue to grow for the state to prioritize school employees in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans.

Nine statewide education groups on Thursday sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf and other state officials urging them to vaccinate teachers, support staff and school administrators more urgently.

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Pandemic changes up Pennsylvania’s state budget hearings

By: Charles Thompson

The late-winter ritual of state budget hearings is getting a coronavirus makeover in Pennsylvania this year.

The House Appropriations Committee announced Monday that its three-week, department-by-department review of Wolf Administration budget requests will open in the main House chambers starting Feb 16, in order to give presenters and committee members a chance to follow all relevant social distancing protocols.

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Pa. Legislature saw its financial cushion grow to $200 million amid pandemic

By: Jan Murphy

While Pennsylvanians and its business community struggled to make ends meet last year, the state’s legislative branch closed the books on its 2019-20 fiscal year sitting atop a reserve of $200 million in its combined reserve accounts, according to an audit released on Thursday.

This annual review of legislative spending reflects an increase of $27.8 million from the prior year after its estimated commitments were paid. It also is more than double the amount held in reserve just three years before and the highest it’s been since at least 2013.

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