Carole Bailey, president and CEO of the East End Cooperative Ministry, prepares a box in the organization's food pantry. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)

In the ongoing pandemic, Pittsburgh’s homeless service providers report increased need and costs

When stay-at-home orders were enacted in late March, many people experiencing homelessness had nowhere to go. Shelters around the city saw increases in demand and have had to adapt to this new reality, taking measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, keep residents occupied and help people living on the streets. These new conditions have had an impact on residents’ mental health and, combined with heightened demand, have increased shelters’ operating costs.

A Pittsburgh Public Schools transportation van parked outside the district's administrative building in Oakland in August 2018. (Photo by Kat Procyk/PublicSource)

Pittsburgh Public releases its health and safety plan, a board member pushes to start the school year with everyone remote

At last, details of the health and safety plan for Pittsburgh Public Schools were released Wednesday at the start of the school board’s July legislative meeting. It was also proposed by a board member that staff and students begin the first nine weeks of the school year in full-time e-learning. The release of the 59-page health and safety plan comes two days after a public hearing, where multiple speakers voiced worries to the board about the return to school in the fall. 

Pam Capretta, district chief operations officer, presented key aspects from the plan regarding cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, monitoring, social distancing and other health and safety protocols. More than 770 viewers were tuned into the livestream. The school board’s vote on the plan was postponed until Aug.

Campaign to reopen Pittsburgh Public Schools amid coronavirus pandemic releases 407 recommendations

It’s a historic task in the making. How can Pittsburgh Public Schools reopen by the end of next month? More than 300 parents, students, educators, public and health officials, community members and dozens of organizations collaborated on the undertaking. They spent hundreds of hours conversing about what families and staff need for a safe return to  Pittsburgh Public Schools [PPS] as part of the district’s All In to Reopen Our Schools campaign. On Wednesday, 407 recommendations for the district from the campaign’s 14 subcommittees on topics from instruction to health and safety were made public on the district website.

UPMC's logo atop the U.S. Steel Tower, Downtown, as seen from Webster Avenue in the Hill District. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

UPMC could captain nursing home COVID response under bill it helped to write

Update (7/14/20): UPMC will lead the charge to test all southwestern Pennsylvania care home residents and employees for COVID-19, and to strengthen the facilities' ability to fight the virus, the state Department of Human Services announced. The department announced that UPMC will also join the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in working with facilities in the state's northwest. Efforts in other regions of the state will be led by Thomas Jefferson University with the University of Pennsylvania (southeast), Geisinger Clinic and Lehigh Valley Hospital (northeast), Pennsylvania State University (southcentral) and Geisinger Clinic (northcentral). UPMC has applied to lead a $52.5 million state-funded effort to harden nursing homes and similar facilities — from Pittsburgh to Erie — against COVID-19. A decision from the state Department of Human Services on the contract is expected this week.