PA Bill Would Allow Extra Year In School Because Of Coronavirus

HARRISBURG – The state Senate has approved legislation providing parents the opportunity to allow their children to repeat a grade level because of educational disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure, which only would apply to the 2021-22 school year, now goes to the state House for consideration.

If the bill is approved and Gov. Tom Wolf signs it into law, parents would have until July 15 to decide whether their children could advance to the next grade level or be held back. Currently, the decision on whether a student should repeat a grade rests solely on the child’s school and teachers.

“Students have spent a lot of time learning at home over the past year, so parents have played a larger role than ever in the education of their children,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman of Centre County, who authored the bill. “Giving parents the option to provide an extra year of education for their children offers a pathway to help students who have suffered serious learning gaps during the pandemic.”

The bill also would allow parents the option to extend enrollment in special education programs for an extra year due to COVID-19. The provision would prevent students with special needs from
aging out of the system at age 21 after missing out on much of specialized attention they need due to the virus outbreak’s disruptions. The bill would apply to parents and children who attend
schools responsible for the education of deaf and blind students.

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