On today's program: A market research firm polls locals about how they’re dealing during the pandemic; Pittsburgh’s foundation community pledges millions in relief aid; residential child care centers weigh the consequences of staying open; and why the state’s largest school districts are still struggling to start online learning.
Millennials are over these ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ crises
(00:00 — 04:58)
Pittsburgh-based market and research firm Campos has released a survey gauging the emotions and confidence levels of more than 1,500 residents of Allegheny County.
Company president Kate Murphy says Pittsburghers are most concerned about taking public transportation and that their neighbors aren't taking safety measures as seriously as they should, but most said they feel confident in the local banking and health care industries, as well as their ability to get food safely.
Lower income respondents were most worried overall and less confident in local elected officials. People of different races responded similarly in several factors, but Murphy says more African Americans felt less secure that their job security would remain intact as the situation evolves.
About 17 percent had temporarily or permanently lost their jobs, and about 35 percent are working from home--roughly half said they're feeling less productive.
"These are people who are anxious," Murphy says. "They're reading the news more. They're worried about their safety and financial situation. For many people you add on child care duties and having to oversee homeschooling and it's a really tough mix."
Respondents weren't confident overall that the stock market would fully recover quickly, but there was broad support for state and local officials.
"By contrast, there was less confidence for President Trump and for Congress," she says.
While people over 60 are considered especially vulnerable to coronavirus, in Campos' survey, many were less fearful and worried than their youngest counterparts.
"Millennials, for many of them, this is the second 'once in a lifetime' crisis that they have weathered after the recession in 2008," Murphy says. "So they've seen what can happen to the job market and how hard it is to recover. For older folks, they may be coming at this with a long view, so they're taking it a little bit more in stride."
Murphy says responses are still welcome. Contribute your thoughts here.
RK Mellon to distribute $15 million in local aid
(05:03 — 09:02)
The Richard King Mellon Foundation will distribute $15 million in grants to Pittsburgh organizations gravely affected by the response to COVID-19 over the next six months.
The grants will be focused in three areas: health innovation, nonprofit operating costs and economic development.
Foundation director Sam Reiman began soliciting for ideas March 27. He says “the response was remarkable – an emblem of both the gravity of this moment, and the resolve and ingenuity of our community."
Some of the funding is already promised, including $196,000 to the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research to help craft a vaccine for COVID-19; $160,000 to Global Links to partner to produce face shields; and $500,000 to Bridgeway Capital to kick-start a $2.25 million small business response fund.
Reiman says the foundation will consider additional financial support based on health and economic data.
The residential child care’s dilemma
(09:06 — 13:19)
Most childcare providers in Pennsylvania were closed under state order last month, but providers that operate out of their homes are allowed to stay open.
As Keystone Crossroads’ Miles Bryan reports, that’s forced them to make a difficult choice: lose income or potentially expose their families to coronavirus.
PA schools say 'nobody was prepared for this'
(13:22 — 18:03)
Pittsburgh Public Schools will begin virtual instruction this week as other large districts like Philadelphia plan to launch by the end of the month. So why have some districts across the state been teaching students formally for weeks?
90.5 WESA’s Sarah Schneider reports on the inequities in education exacerbated by the pandemic.
The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.