Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 across the Commonwealth, Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has introduced a comprehensive bill that addresses issues raised by the mandatory closure on March 16 of all Pennsylvania schools.
“The closure of all schools across Pennsylvania was a prudent step in the state’s efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus. First and foremost, we must take every step possible to protect students and staff, as well as their families,” Senator Langerholc said. “However, that leaves us in uncharted territory in regard to testing and mandatory instructional days requirements. The legislation I am introducing will ease those requirements — but only for the current 2019-20 school year — as we continue to face the uncertainty and the challenges that have been created by this pandemic.”
Among the numerous relief measures in Senator Langerholc’s bill are provisions to:
- Waive instructional days/hours requirement for all public and private schools, career and technical education programs, prekindergarten programs and student teacher programs.
- Direct the state Secretary of Education to apply to the US Department of Education for a waiver of the PSSA/Keystone Exams for the 2019-20 school year.
- Allow for an increased number of flexible instructional days.
- Waive testing requirements for career and technical education students.
- Extends deadline for continuing education for teachers and administrators.
“We are unsure as to when the current crisis will abate and school districts will be able to reopen,” Senator Langerholc said. “We must act now to set the guidelines that school districts will need to move ahead and continue their mission of providing a quality education to Pennsylvania’s children.”
More information about the state’s response to COVID-19 is available at Senator Langerholc’s website: https://www.senatorlangerholc.com/.