PSATS Daily COVID-19 News

Most Recent Post | American Rescue Plan Federal Funding for Townships | COVID-19 Fact Sheets | COVID-19 Guidance for Townships

Most Recent Post

Pa. COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, Deaths Continue to Drop

COVID case counts for Pennsylvania decreased for the ninth week in a row, with 2,053 new cases of COVID-19 reported this week, 20.8% less than last week. The statewide COVID-19 total case count now stands at 1,210,340. Both nationally and in…

Reminder on Meetings, Masks, and the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration

As we reported yesterday, Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration is now officially ended with the adoption of HR 106 and certification of the ballot questions that amended the Pennsylvania Constitution. The disaster declaration ending triggered the expiration of…

Pennsylvania Remains at 13th for Vaccine Doses Administered Per Capita

In a switch from using the State Department of Health numbers to using the more accurate CDC numbers, the following is an update on vaccination numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania remains at 13th for total doses administered…

Pa. COVID-19 Cases Plummet as Vaccinations Increase

Case counts decreased for the eighth week in a row with 2,595 new cases of COVID-19 reported this week, 40% less than last week. The weekly average of new cases in Pennsylvania has plummeted from the most recent peak of…

Click to view all Coronavirus-Covid-19 Posts



American Rescue Plan Federal Funding for Townships
Recorded PSATS Town Hall on ARP Application Process Now Available
If you missed PSATS staff and state Department of Community and Economic Development staff in the June 7 Virtual Town Hall, a recording is now available. The town hall “ARP Update: Application and More” provides an overview of the application process, what happens if your township doesn’t apply, and next steps. Click here to view the Town Hall!  
Click here for a copy of the presentation.

Townships Need to Submit Application to DCED for ARP Funds ASAP
The state Department of Community and Economic Development recently sent out an email about how to apply for your township’s allocation of federal American Rescue Plan dollars.  If you did not get an email directly from DCED, please check your spam filter. As a backup, you will also be getting a hard copy letter from Gov. Tom Wolf, via U.S. mail, in the coming days to also alert you to the process.  
 
Please note that townships that do not make application this month will forfeit their claim to this year’s funding and the money will be redistributed to communities that do make application so long as it does not make their total grant more than 75% of their 2020 budget.  
 
Click here to see how much your township will receive. Note: The final numbers are slightly higher than originally reported.

Click here for detailed, step-by-step instructions to submit this application for the ARP funds. Here is what you need to apply: your township’s EIN, DUNS number, SAM number, and address; direct deposit information; authorized representative information; contact person information; and completed certification document. You will also need your total 2020 operating budget (general fund, state fund, all other non-federal funds) in effect as of January 27, 2020, because your total grant award is limited to no more than 75% of your 2020 budget. U.S. Treasury regulations require the following documents to be completed and attached to your DCED Single Application, and links are provided here: Award Terms and Conditions Agreement and Assurances of Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Note that several sections will be pre-filled and nothing more will be needed. 
 
Click here to login to DCED’s Single Application website using your Keystone Login credentials. DO NOT apply to the U.S. Treasury through the ID.me site.
 
DCED has been designated by the governor as the lead commonwealth agency for managing American Rescue Plan payments to non-entitlement communities (municipalities with populations of less than 50,000). The lead role was given to the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services. For questions about your allocation, the application process, or the program, call the Center at 888-223-6837 or email covidarpa@pa.gov. If you need DCED Customer Service to assist with your application, call 1-800-379-7448 (M-F, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
 
Please note that PSATS does not have access to the DCED portal and therefore cannot assist with the application process.  

Clarification on SAM number: DCED has provided the following guidance on the need for a SAM number as part of the DCED Single Application Process. All municipalities, even those with populations of less than 50,000 (non-entitlement communities) are now federally required to obtain a SAM number for their ARP grant reports. However, if your township doesn’t have a SAM number or is in the process of registering for or updating your township’s number, include a copy of the email confirmation from SAM as part of your DCED application to show that your township has started the registration or update process. This will allow you to timely complete and submit the DCED application.  
 
Click here to apply directly to the official SAM site, which is an official U.S. government site and is free-of-charge. Note that the SAM process can take 10-14 days. You will be registering your township to pursue federal assistance only. If you are having difficulties, the SAM Customer Service number is (866) 606-8220.  If your township is still waiting to hear about your SAM registration 10-14 days after requesting your township’s number, call DCED Customer Service at (717) 787-3405 to alert them to the delay. If you have an issue with your DUNS number, click here or call

Click here to learn about new PSATS Premier Partner Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC, who is providing discounted pricing to PSATS members for technical assistance for the ARP funding.

PSATS is providing resources for townships interested in learning more about this funding and how it may be used.

Town Hall Update on Federal Funding Regulations
Click here for a copy of the presentation for PSATS’ Virtual Town Hall on May 14 on the U.S. Treasury regulations, which contain important details on how townships can use these funds as well as reporting and compliance requirement. Click here to watch the May 14 Town Hall.

Click here to access the U.S. Treasury Regulations
Click here for a fact sheet about the American Rescue Plan. (Updated May 2021)
Click here for a sample budget resolution

COVID-19 Fact Sheets


PSATS has updated fact sheets to help townships navigate the latest mitigation orders, including what to do if an employee becomes sick or is exposed to COVID-19 and how to evaluate options for safe public meetings. The fact sheets are a PSATS member service that also link townships directly to the supporting state and federal orders and guidance.

  • Ensuring the Safety of Township Employees and the Public (under construction)
  • Meeting Guidance for Townships During Pa.’s Phased Reopening (under construction)
  • Guidance for Townships on Park and Recreational Facilities and Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic (under construction)
  • Safe Operations of Trash Collection, Recycling, and Sewage Treatment Plants  (under construction)
  • Public Works and the COVID -19 Challenge by LTAP (under construction)

COVID-19 Guidance for Townships



Vaccine Access Now Open to All Pennsylvanians
All Pennsylvania adults are now eligible to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine. Click here for the vaccine provider map. Pennsylvania is currently distributing much of its supply through the hospital systems, which have been running regular clinics. Additional supply is being provided to pharmacies through the federal government.

Masking Order to Expire No Later Than June 28 

Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam recently announced that the state’s masking order will be lifted when 70% of eligible Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated or June 28, whichever comes first. The change was made based on the number of Pennsylvania adults who have received at least one dose of vaccine. Click here for more. 

Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, or local rules, including local business and workplace guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday. In addition, fully vaccinated people may refrain from testing following a known COVID-19 exposure unless they have symptoms. Click here for more. Click here for a chart showing CDC masking guidance for both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people.  

State Mask Order Applies to Townships 
Townships should be aware that Pennsylvania’s mask order applies to areas both inside and outside of local government facilities. The order is is an enforceable disease control measure authorized by the Disease Prevention and Control Law.  

The mask order requires masks indoors or in enclosed spaces where other people who are not in the individual’s household are in the same space, irrespective of physical distance. In addition:  

  • Masks are required outdoors with non-household members if unable to maintain sustained physical distance of at least six feet;  
  • Masks are required to participate in an indoor/outdoor event, gathering or group setting if someone is present who is not a member of your household; and  
  • Businesses must require all to wear a mask or face shield and take reasonable steps to enforce these provisions.   
  • There is an exception for “working alone,” which includes someone inside an office or inside a cubicle “with walls high enough to block the breathing zone of all people walking by, and the worker’s activity will not require anyone to come inside of the worker’s workspace.”   
  • Full vaccinated people no longer are required to wear a mask or physically distance as of May 13, except where required by federal, state, local, business, or workplace rule.

Keep in mind that there are exemptions, including, individuals with medical conditions, where wearing a mask would create an unsafe working condition, an individual working alone, individuals communicating with the hearing impaired or another disability, and children under two years. Face covering is broadly defined and includes any covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps or loops over the ears or wrapped around the lower face.  Face shields continue to be acceptable as an alternative to a face covering.  To read the Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions on the order, click here

Can Advertised Virtual Meetings Still Violate the Sunshine Act?

The Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas recently issued a decision in McGrath v. Board of School Directors of City of Scranton, which involved a school board’s violation of the Sunshine Act and Act 15 of 2020.  
At the meeting in question, the school board furloughed 218 employees and terminated their health insurance coverage. The only public notice for the meeting stated that the meeting would be conducted virtually through Zoom and the public could view the meeting on the district’s YouTube channel. Prior to the start of the meeting, the district learned that the YouTube livestream was inoperable but proceeded with the meeting anyway. During the meeting, the district began to livestream the meeting on its Facebook page but did not communicate that to the public. It also posted copies of the meeting after the fact. 
 
The judge held that the furloughed employee satisfied her burden of proving that the school board and school district violated Sections 702, 704, and 710.1 of the Sunshine Act and Sections 5741(c) and (f) of Act 15 of 2020 and was entitled to an order temporarily enjoining the school board’s actions to furlough and terminate health insurance. The court held that the “public had a right to observe the Board’s virtual meeting on September 14, 2020, and to be furnished with advance public notice of the technology to be used to witness that meeting” and that “no member of the public was able to observe the meeting in real time by way of the technology identified for public viewing in the only public notice.” 
 
While the decision applies only to the parties involved, it serves as a reminder that township officials must allow the public to view or hear public meetings, including virtual meetings. While townships have the ability to conduct meetings virtually and limit the number of physical attendees at public meetings to comply with the commonwealth’s gathering limits, the public must be notified of how to access the meeting and be able to do so. 


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