Coronavirus Updates: School Closures and More

Posted on March 13, 2020 · 5 mins read


Governor Wolf declared on Friday March 13th that all school districts will be closed for two weeks starting March 16th. Individual school districts in the legislative district have their own announcements posted with more details. It is possible schools could be closed for longer than two weeks, but hopefully the virus outbreak will be contained and the closures will not last long. Of course, the health of the community comes first and we must watch out for the most vulnerable – the virus is particularly aggressive against the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions especially asthma or lung-related disease. Unfortunately, due to poor air quality, Allegheny County already has much higher rates of asthma and lung cancer compared to the nation, meaning that adults and children here are particularly susceptible.

Thankfully, most school districts are making preparations so that children that rely on school lunches for healthy meals can still pick up breakfast and/or lunch at designated locations. Please read the articles below for more information on the school closures and where to find school lunch pick up locations:

  • Avonworth: school lunches will be available, parents requested to call the school for details.
  • Carlynton
  • Chartiers Valley
  • Cornell: can pick up at one of following locations: Neville Island, Cottage Park Pavilion; Coraopolis, 5th Ave Gazebo (parking lot); or Cornell School District Cafeteria. Lunch will be available starting Monday 3/16 between 11am-12pm, and breakfast will be available starting Tuesday 3/17 between 8am-9am. Please contact the school for more information.
  • Montour
  • Sto-Rox: school lunches at Sto-Rox Junior/Senior High School from 11:30am to 1:30pm, plus a few other locations.

Please call the school district directly if you have any questions about the closure or how to get school lunches.

Last week I wrote about how the coronavirus underscores the need for a single payer healthcare system, paid sick leave, and more. As this crisis continues, it is increasingly clear that even more action will be needed. In addition to single payer healthcare as a human right, and paid sick leave for all workers (full-time or part-time), I call on elected officials of all levels of government to urgently consider the following actions:

  • Public utilities including municipal water should NOT shut off services to anyone and should extend due dates and cancel late fees for the next few months, to let people get back their financial footing after Coronavirus. Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority has already taken this action, for example.
  • No one should be evicted right now while finances and jobs may be tight; people need a place to live! Magisterial judges should refuse to evict for the next few months. I sign on with the Green Party of Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh DSA’s open letter in favor of a moratorium on evictions.
  • Speaking of finances, many service employees (restaurants, etc.) and small businesses will be impacted by reduced hours, now that Governor Wolf has declared a mandatory closure of non-essential services for the next two weeks. I believe unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other social programs should be expanded in order to make sure every worker has necessary food and supplies. You can apply for unemployment insurance today, but I support actions to rush the paperwork and increase the benefits during this crisis.
  • Local magisterial judges should be flexible about hearings, and simply send rescheduling notices rather than warrants for missed appointments during the Coronavirus lock down. Judges should also take extra care to resolve cases without jail time (community service if fees are not appropriate), as jails are breeding grounds for infections diseases like Coronavirus.

Lastly, to do my part with preventing the spread of Coronavirus especially to susceptible members of our community, we’ve decided to temporarily halt door-to-door canvassing and public campaign events. We’ll shift gears to focus on social media and online campaigning, including blog posts and videos, for the next few weeks until it appears more safe to resume petitioning and canvassing to get on the ballot.

I will be monitoring the Coronavirus situation and updating this page and social media. Please follow the campaign on social media if you aren’t already, @VoteGarret on Facebook and Twitter. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help!

Photo Credit: Ron Gavalik, during a recent Green Party of Allegheny County executive officer meeting.

UPDATE, 3/15: Added call for expanded help to workers affected by Governor Wolf’s mandatory closure of non-essential services for the next two weeks, announced late on Sunday March 15th.

UPDATE, 3/16: Added a link to information about unemployment insurance for workers affected by COVID-19.

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