ISSUE 89 | December 21, 2020
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
The COVID vaccine is here — what does that mean for PA schools?
COVID-19 vaccines are now being distributed to frontline health workers and other high-risk groups in Pennsylvania.

Under the state’s current plan, school staff will receive immunizations in the next round of distribution.

Effective immunizations could make in-person learning significantly safer, although health and education experts say that the return to normal schooling may take time.  

Thousands of PA families face potential eviction in 2021
A large number of Pennsylvania households could be at risk of losing their homes in January, with federal eviction protections and other relief programs set to expire at the end of this year.

According to one estimate, up to 240,000 tenants (15 percent of Pennsylvania’s renters) owe $958 million in back rent. 

PA child care centers wrestle with COVID surge
Pennsylvania’s child care centers are struggling to stay open amid surging coronavirus cases and diminished government assistance.

The last federal stimulus funding for the state’s child care providers was distributed in October; some providers are worried that, if they close, they will not be able to reopen.

The need for child care is high as parents return to work. 

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Enhanced advising may improve outcomes for students of community colleges
Only about a third of full-time students at community colleges graduate within three years.

A recent memo from the research organization MDRC offers guidance on how community colleges can improve educational outcomes.

The organization suggests implementing an “enhanced advising” approach, which would reduce advisor caseloads and offer more frequent and holistic advising. 

The Vaccine Is Here. Are U.S. Cities Ready?
To distribute the new COVID-19 vaccines, communities across the country must navigate logistical challenges as well as barriers surrounding public education and trust.

This is essential in order for city governments and local health departments to reduce ‘vaccine hesitancy,’ which is common among some communities that have been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic.

Some milestones may reduce equity gaps among community college students
A new study from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University examines how racial and ethnic inequities affect community college students in different types of programs, and how those inequities can lead to variation in labor market returns.

The authors found that the attainment of academic milestones – like earning a pre-transfer associate degree – may be especially helpful for reducing equity gaps faced by Black and Hispanic students.  

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