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Local news matters to help us all be safe

Dear reader,

The past few weeks have been full of uncertainty for all of us here in north central Pennsylvania when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted today to provide you with an update on how we have been covering the crisis here at the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and the resources we have made available so you and your loved ones may remain up-to-date and prepared in the coming weeks.

First, internally, a large portion of our staff is now working from home, with only essential employees at our main office in downtown Williamsport. Our reporters, with precautions, are still out and about covering events and bringing the latest and most important local news to you each day. Just as you are with your families, we are assessing each day how best we can keep our employees safe and healthy so that they may continue to bring you the latest local news on how COVID-19 is affecting and altering our way of life.

Second, we have devoted nearly all of our reporting resources to coverage of the coronavirus. Since it began, we have produced nearly 200 unique local stories on how the virus is impacting our region. We have stayed in touch with all three health systems in our region with updates on how they are handling this crisis and the latest developments coming out of them, such as UPMC’s announcement this past week of progress toward a vaccination. We have reported on the safety and readiness of our food supply and agricultural community. We have looked into and reported on how funerals are being handled now that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are requiring Americans to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people. We have spoken with local restaurants on how they are adjusting to life with only delivery or to-go customers. We have kept in close touch with our local education community and provided updated news on schools and lunch programs for children. We have provided a daily list of cancellations and postponements of public events and gatherings so that you can remain informed.

We have many other important local stories planned in the coming days, including additional tips and strategies parents can use to help their children adapt to learning in a virtual environment now that universities and public and private secondary schools have canceled in-person classes; how the closure of businesses is affecting families that may now find one if not both parents out of work.

To help you sort through all this information, we also added a section at the top of our website labeled COVID-19 where you will find the most recent news about the coronavirus, along with a button on the right side of our website where readers may find all of the news stories produced by our reporters since this public health crisis took off in our state. This section contains all of the latest local, state, national and international coverage of COVID-19 and how it is reshaping life around the globe. We are continually updating this section so you may remain informed on everything from business closings to new numbers of those testing positive for the virus.

Last, we ask that you and your loved ones stay safe as we collectively go through this challenging time. We strongly urge you to adhere to the restrictions to stay at home.

Please.

We will do our part to keep you as up-to-date as possible with local news from a staff that you can trust. Local news matters, now more than ever, and we work each day, in all that we do, to remain your trusted local news source.

— Robert O. Rolley Jr., Publisher,

and L. Lee Janssen, Editor.

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