Tom Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks during a briefing in June. On Friday, Wolf took to social media to quell rumors that he was ordering online only school in the fall. "I want to be clear: I am not closing school buildings or canceling classes."

Washington County recorded 17 new cases of the coronavirus in the 24-hour period ending at noon Friday, bringing its total number of cases since March to 740.

Allegheny County recorded an eye-opening 244 new cases, but those were derived from tests taken over a one-month span, from June 30 to July 30. Allegheny County added 33 new hospitalizations, a record number, and four additional deaths. Seventy-seven of the new cases are from staff and residents of long-term care facilities.

Greene County added two new cases, to bring its total to 105, and Fayette County added 11 new cases, putting its total at 363. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 970 additional cases of COVID-19 were recorded statewide, bringing the commonwealth’s overall total to 112,048.

The increasing number of cases both in the Pittsburgh region and across the commonwealth is occurring at a moment when school boards and administrators are trying to decide whether to resume in-person instruction in a few weeks, stick with the online format that was used in the spring, or mix some combination of the two. Rumors have been rife in recent days that Gov. Tom Wolf was going to issue a blanket order mandating that all school districts in Pennsylvania proceed with online-only instruction in the first nine weeks of the school year.

However, Wolf scotched those rumors Friday, taking to social media to say that the decisions about whether to offer in-person instruction or not will be made on the local level.

“There are widespread rumors that I will soon be announcing a statewide school building closure or canceling classes this fall,” Wolf wrote. “I want to be clear: I am not closing school buildings or canceling classes.”

The governor also said, “School governing boards and administrators will determine if school buildings reopen and if classes resume in person, remotely, or a combination of the two. The best way to find out about these local decisions is to contact your school’s governing board or administration.”

Staff Writer

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. He serves as editorial page editor, and has covered the arts and entertainment and worked as a municipal beat reporter.

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