Welcome to The Philly Four, a daily recap of four of the top stories from the Philadelphia area, covering everything from local government to the Phillies bullpen. A one-stop shop for the most important news bites in the City of Brotherly Love.
- Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Monday that Pennsylvania school districts can decide for themselves to continue to enforce a mask mandate starting on Jan. 17. The decision to end the statewide mask mandate comes as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for children ages 5-11. The Wolf administration did not say if a change in the state's health conditions might cause Wolf to rescind this announcement.
- The Philadelphia Board of Education is considering a proposal that would require school district employees to gain approval before speaking with members of the media. The teacher's union immediately described the proposal as "egregious and reprehensible" and others said that it limited employees' constitutional rights.
- A widespread outage knocked out wifi and cable for Comcast Xfinity customers across the Philadelphia area. The outages stretched across the Northeast as well, affecting users in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and New York. Comcast gave reports to some Philadelphia customers that the issue would be resolved by 11 a.m.
- Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid will miss at least five games after testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe are all also in health and safety protocols. Embiid is vaccinated but suffered a breakthrough case. Head coach Doc Rivers said Embiid is "struggling with it" after entering the protocols.