Bill to Offer Optional Year of Education Due to COVID-19 Goes to the Governor

HARRISBURG — Senator Mario Scavello (R-40) said parents would have the option to allow their children to repeat a grade level due to learning disruptions caused by COVID-19 under a bill approved by the Senate and sent to the governor today.

Senate Bill 664 would give parents the power to make the decision on whether their child should advance to the next grade level by July 15.

“Many parents have come to me with concerns that their child needs more in-person experience prior to moving onto the next grade level,” Scavello said. “This legislation allows parents to make an important educational decision in the best interest of their child to prepare them for the future.”

In current practice, the decision on whether to hold a student back is made solely by the child’s school and teacher. The bill would only apply to the 2021-22 school year to address learning gaps related to the pandemic.

Senate Bill 664 would also allow parents the option to extend enrollment in special education programs for an extra year due to COVID-19. This provision would prevent students with special needs from aging out of the system at age 21 after missing out on much of the specialized attention they need due to COVID-19 disruptions.

In addition, the bill would extend eligibility for programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act during the next school year. The bill would also apply to parents and children who attend schools responsible for the education of deaf and blind students.

Governor Wolf will have 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.

 

Contact: Christine Zubeck czubeck@pasen.gov (717) 787-6123