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Oct. 3-9 Explained: Learning To Read Online, Counting Kids With COVID & Trick-Or-Treating Safely

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

On this week's Explainer:

Keystone Crossroads' Avi Wolfman-Arent reports that more than a half a million kids in Pennsylvania are learning to read right now. It's a demanding task in normal times, and considered by many to be the most significant event of a child's academic career. Remote learning could exacerbate existing gaps in literacy skills, which can impact a student's grasp of other subject areas.

WESA's Sarah Boden reports that since the beginning of September, 300 children in Allegheny County have tested positive for COVID-19. While severe coronavirus illness among children is uncommon, dozens of kids statewide have experienced multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare but serious complication of the infection.

Health officials warn that even children without symptoms can spread the disease to vulnerable populations, like older relatives. And, Boden looks at the potential implications of changes to Gov. Tom Wolf's relaxed limits on crowd sizes, as the region experiences lower rates of infections daily.

And WESA's Kiley Koscinski reports that trick-or-treating is on in the city of Pittsburgh this year. She offers suggestions on how to stay safe while still having spooky fun this month.

Pittsburgh Explainer is hosted by Liz Reid and produced by Katie Blackley. New episodes come out every Friday. Subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher and Spotify.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer of Pittsburgh Explainer and our Good Question! series. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community.
Liz Reid oversees newsroom operations at WESA. She began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor. You can reach her at