In this update:
How to get state-related assistance during the coronavirus shutdown
While my offices are still not accepting in-person office visits or taking in-person meetings, our offices are handling constituent-related issues during this time.
Here are the various ways you can contact me:
District Office – 717-741-4648 (leave a voicemail)
Capitol Office – 717-787-7085 (leave a voicemail)
Email – SenatorKristin@pasen.gov
Contact Form – SenatorKristin.com/contact-me.
Please note: Due to the high volume of inquiries our office has received over the last two weeks, please only contact our office one way as this will ensure we handle your matter and can assist others in a timely manner. I really appreciate everyone’s patience during this time.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania crosses 5,800; York County has 79 cases
Earlier today, the Department of Health released their latest data that show York County has 79 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Pennsylvania currently has 5,805 confirmed cases.
To date, Pennsylvania has lost 74 individuals to the coronavirus. Just yesterday, the American death toll to this deadly virus surpassed the American lives lost on September 11, 2001. We must be united in our resolve to contain and defeat this virus.
More information from the Department of Health can be found here.
Common sense needed now more than ever as we battle pandemic, together
Earlier today, I sent a letter to Governor Wolf with many of my colleagues asking his administration to see the merits in small business waiver requests. The concern many local citizens have expressed to me is that while most small businesses are ordered to close under the governor’s mandate, big box stores are allowed to operate with little regard to CDC guidelines. These stores are often jammed with people wall-to-wall and pose a great health risk to both customers and employees.
Many small businesses can adhere to CDC guidelines and serve their customers. We are NOT calling for every business to reopen, nor are we ignoring safety guidelines that are recommended to protect customers and employees. We are simply calling on the governor to use common sense and be transparent about the decisions he is making.
You can read our letter here. I will keep you posted on the feedback we receive.
License to Carry Permits expired March 19, 2020 or later are extended to May 30, 2020
License to Carry Permits that have expired on March 19, 2020 or later have been extended to May 30, 2020. The Pennsylvania State Police will re-examine the possibility of an additional extension as that date gets closer.
Furthermore, the York County Sheriff’s office is still assisting with applications via mail. You can find more information here.
I appreciate all of the York County Sheriff’s efforts to ensure our Second Amendment rights shall not be infringed during this pandemic.
Educational resources available for students during indefinite school closures
Governor Wolf recently announced that all schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed indefinitely in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. A number of resources have been developed to provide a continuity of education for Pennsylvania students.
Schools that are interested in offering new courses or supplementing existing programs can subscribe to the online learning platforms Odysseyware and Edgenuity. These resources are available at no cost to school districts through their local intermediate unit.
The Department of Education also plans to provide grants for schools to purchase computer equipment to support online learning programs. Applications will be available through the department’s e-grants system by April 6 and must be submitted by April 10.
In addition, Pennsylvania’s seven Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) channels will also provide instructional programming for students. The Learning at Home resources are available to families and educators at https://learningathomepa.org/.
More information about continuity of education for Pennsylvania students during the COVID-19 shutdown is available here.
Major disaster declaration issued in Pennsylvania
President Trump issued a major disaster declaration in Pennsylvania this week, freeing up federal money that can be used to help fight against COVID-19. The federal assistance will bring money to state and eligible local governments as well as certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.
In addition to providing direct support, the declaration also ensures that eligible expenses related to the COVID-19 response – including materials and supplies to support state and local response efforts – will be partially reimbursed by the federal government.
The President’s statement on the disaster declaration is available here.
PA 2-1-1 steps up COVID-19 information efforts
The United Way of Pennsylvania and PA 2-1-1 are ramping up efforts to keep Pennsylvanians connected to verified sources of information on the coronavirus and resources to help households struggling with a loss of income.
PA 2‑1‑1 is part of the national 2‑1‑1 Call Centers initiative that provides an easy-to-remember telephone number and web resource for anyone seeking health and human services information – for everyday needs and during crisis situations.
Pennsylvanians can now text “PACOVID” to 898-211 to receive text messages with links to vetted sources of factual information. Pennsylvanians can also visit www.uwp.org/211gethelp for information on statewide, regional and local resources.
Text and website are the quickest ways to access help since PA 2-1-1 has seen more than double its normal contact volume over the past week. However, Pennsylvanians can also dial 2-1-1 on their land line or mobile phone to be connected to a resource navigator.
USDA waiver will ensure all children qualify for free meals
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow all schools to provide free meals to children during statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Previously, only a limited number of schools were permitted to offer free meals community-wide.
Thanks to the USDA waiver, local education agencies (LEA) – including school districts, charter schools, intermediate units and career and technology centers – can operate their food distribution sites under the Seamless Summer Option or Summer Food Service Program. LEAs can begin applying for a waiver from the Pennsylvania Department of Education immediately. The department is prepared to expedite reviews and approvals.
USDA has also authorized the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to operate a Disaster Household Distribution program to provide critical food supplies to Pennsylvanians adversely affected by statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts. More details about that announcement are available here.
Utility providers offer special programs for families affected by COVID-19
Coronavirus mitigation measures have had an enormous impact on many household budgets, leaving many families struggling to pay all of their bills on time. Many utility providers throughout the state are working to help families during this difficult time by offering modified payment plans and other programs to support affected families.
I strongly encourage community residents to contact their utility providers as soon as possible to learn what programs and services may be available.
Visit the State Museum of Pennsylvania online
Coronavirus mitigation efforts mean we can’t visit museums, but we can access their entertaining and thought-provoking online exhibits. The State Museum of Pennsylvania has several virtual exhibits to explore.
Penn’s Treaty features the text, art, artifacts, and documents related to Commonwealth founder William Penn’s establishment of a “firm league of peace” with Native Americans.
Made in PA includes a sample of the many products for which the Commonwealth has been distinguished.
Steel: Made in Pennsylvania photos of abandoned and active Pennsylvania steel mills document a moment in the history of one of Pennsylvania’s most important historic and contemporary industries.
Check out the rest of the museum’s online exhibits.
Stay safe – follow these tips
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