Open Letter to Governor Wolf: Declare an Emergency on Omicron

Do you have school-aged children or loved ones who work in school buildings? Are you close to a health care worker caring for a COVID-impacted neighbor? Check on them. They are not OK!

Our global battle against the novel coronavirus has taken many different forms and has presented countless narratives.

We are in a better position today than we were two years ago, before the shutdown measures were first needed. We know more about this virus and the preventative measures necessary to fight it. Many of us are vaccinatedboosted and/or recovered from COVID-19.

Many others have been provided ample opportunity to get vaccinated and have chosen a different path that they believe makes the most sense for them.

What should be crystal clear to us all is the critical importance of leadership and the information needed to make decisions that best protect our communities. I commend local health and education decision-makers for doing their best to lead now that the virus has turned pages and medical guidance, supply of resources and public sentiments have shifted.

You are doing your best, but sometimes your best needs additional support.

It is time for Gov. Tom Wolf to declare a state of emergency to address the presently dominant Omicron variant and its impact on our school and health care capacity.

Maryland has done soDelaware has done so. Several counties here in Pennsylvania have done so.

What is more alarming is the haphazard guidance and decision-making provided to school leaders throughout the commonwealth and the pleas for help that I am regularly hearing from those leaders.

Governor Wolf, I am certain that you have heard these calls, as well. Heed the call and step into this moment, not with an extension of the previous mandates or required closures, but with the resources and regulatory flexibility that can be marshalled through a Pennsylvania Emergency Declaration with the narrow focus of supporting our education and health institution capacity during this month of high positivity rates, high contact-tracing backlog, and low staff availability.

Declare today your intention to combat the emergent lack of staffing.

Declare today your intention to assist with school contact tracing.

Declare today your intention to direct resources to school transportation.

Declare today your intention to provide the help and respite that our frontline workers need.

Declare today your intention to use the next 21 days to reestablish a sound footing for our institutions that are buckling under the current shift in this virus.

We are all eager to care for our communities and provide safe learning spaces for our young people. These next few weeks will go a long way to ensuring our ability to make it through winter.