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Good morning. Not even the vaunted Harvard Business School is immune from a Covid-driven return to virtual learning. You can read about it in the Wall Street Journal, or you can wait for the case study.
 
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Rule waivers extended through March 2022



Business advocates have another six months to try to shred regulations that were suspended or modified during the Covid-19 pandemic.   
Why is this happening: The Wolf administration used emergency powers during the pandemic to adjust or suspend hundreds of state rules in an effort to accommodate virtual methods of delivering health care, holding hearings and otherwise doing business.
  • The regulations were supposed to snap back into place once Wolf's emergency powers ended this spring. But the legislature agreed to extend the modifications until Sept. 30.
  • The latest extension will give lawmakers more time to sift through all the rules and gauge which can be permanently suspended or modified, according to state Rep. Andrew Lewis, a Dauphin County Republican and sponsor of HB 1861.
  • "I think it's going to be challenging, for sure, because you're looking at 498 regulations and you're looking at a lot of complex issues." Lewis said in a phone interview. "But I do think it's possible."
  • Lewis said his priority has been regulations that cover access to health care, such as those that facilitate the use of telemedicine.

What's next: The governor and the legislature have a busy agenda this fall and winter, ranging from simmering conflicts over an audit of the 2020 election to redrawing boundaries for U.S. congressional districts. And, of course, 2022 is an election year for many of the state's elected leaders.
  • Lewis said he was confident lawmakers would find the time to address the regulatory waivers and give businesses some certainty.
  • "We do have a solid chunk of time here to focus individually on the issues and get the bulk of this done,” Lewis said.

The bottom line: Business and health care groups have argued that after 18 months, it should be clear that many of the suspended rules do not need to come back in their old form.
  • The question is whether six more months is truly enough time to finish them off.


Quick takes



WHO'S GETTING GRANTS: Central Penn College, Messiah University and Shippensburg University. The three Cumberland County schools are sharing in $2.5 million in federal funding following a vote yesterday by county commissioners. The money comes out of the roughly $49.2 million in federal relief funds flowing into Cumberland under the American Rescue Plan.
  • Central Penn is receiving $1.4 million for job-training initiatives.
  • Messiah is getting $600,000 for Covid-19 vaccines, testing and medical equipment.
  • Shippensburg is getting $500,000 to cover the cost of Covid-19 testing.

What's the criteria: The county based its decisions on factors like the share of students from underserved populations and the presence of workforce development programs. It also considered other pandemic-related funding the schools may have received.
  • The colleges that received grants were the only ones that applied, according to a county press release.
 


WHO'S CASTING: Theatre Harrisburg. The nonprofit theater company has hired Lorien Reese Mahay as its next executive director. She starts on Oct. 4.
  • Reese Mahay worked most recently as associate director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, which is based at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.
  • She also has worked as associate director of development for Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, New York, and program director at Watermill Center in Water Mill, New York.

The background: Founded in 1926, Theatre Harrisburg stages productions at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts and at the Jay and Nancy Krevsky Production Center in uptown Harrisburg.
  • The theater's former director, Stosh Snyder, was furloughed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 along with other employees, and did not return, according to Alison Reed Fry, a spokesperson for the nonprofit.
 


WHO'S BUILDING: Shenandoah Telecommunications, aka Shentel. The Virginia-based company is adding Hanover to its high-speed fiber network for data, phone and streaming TV service. The service is expected to become available in October to more than 6,000 homes and businesses in the York County borough, adding to Shentel's growing footprint in Central Pennsylvania.
  • The company is wiring up Carlisle in Cumberland County, as well as parts of Lancaster County with a service Shentel refers to as Glo Fiber.
  • A company unit called Shentel Business, meanwhile, signed up York College this summer for internet and voice service.
  • Shentel and other providers offer an alternative to the dominant market player, Comcast.

The background: Based in Edinboro, Virginia, Shentel provides telecommunications services largely to rural areas and small towns in Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
 
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Compiled and written by Joel Berg

 
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