While Pennsylvania schools are preparing to reopen for learning this fall, they are looking for further guidance on how to do so safely amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. This week, they were given a little more information on how to do so. Continue reading below for more information.
New Guidance Released by PA Department of Education
Pennsylvania Health Secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, and Education Secretary, Pedro Rivera, released a new metric in order to help school districts decide whether they should go all online, all in-person learning, or a mixture of the two. Counties throughout the state will be classified based on their case counts. Classifications will include low, moderate, or substantial. They will be classified based on infections per 100,000 residents and the percent positive rate. The classifications are as follows:
- Counties deemed low have less than 10 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of less than five percent
- Counties deemed moderate have 10-100 cases per 100,000 and a positive rate of five to less than 10 percent
- Counties deemed substantial have 100 cases per 100,000 infection rates and a positive rate of over 10 percent
Are Schools Required to Follow the Guidance?
The new guidance released by the Department of Education recommends that school districts follow these classifications. However, they are not mandated. Schools in counties that are considered substantial are recommended to provide online-only instruction, which schools classified as low or moderate can provide in-school instruction or a hybrid method.
With an even division on the matter from parents, Levine spoke out on trying to find a balance regarding the issue. However, she is aware there will always be criticism. In response to the issued guidance, the PA Public Schools Education Association said that while they appreciate the guidance, they want more from the state. This is especially so regarding social distancing and wearing masks for in-school instruction.
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