Message from the Secretary of Education – March 6, 2020

Published On: March 12, 2020Categories: News

March 6, 2020

Message from the Secretary of Education,

It has certainly been an eventful few day across the commonwealth and nation as we all prepare and contemplate the potential impacts of the coronavirus in our personal and professional spaces. I know this has not been an easy time to be a school leader and am sensitive to the impact I know this is having on your day to day work at the local level. 

As PDE continues to monitor news about the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, we continue to collaborate with the Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, county municipal health departments and others to ensure the most current and accurate resources are available to all our education communities. This morning, Governor Wolf announced that there are two presumptive cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania. The impacted people are under quarantine. Over the past several days, PDE has received many requests from school leaders regarding the potential impact that the coronavirus could have on their school calendar, including meeting the required instructional time and on the administration of state assessments. 

While instructional time and assessments are important state and federal requirements, as you continue to work with your local health and emergency officials to review and revise your pandemic plans, the primary goal of any plan should be preserving the health and safety of your students and staff

When making contingency plans, you should consider using all available tools to meet instructional time, to include re-purposing snow days and Act 80 days built into your calendar or extending the school calendar. 

If there is a time at which one or more schools in an LEA is in jeopardy of not meeting the 180 days or 990/900-hours required, PDE will publish a template on its website for LEAs to apply for a waiver to request no loss of state subsidy.

Additionally, if an outbreak of the coronavirus does impact your community and prevents you from administering PSSAs or Keystone exams, the Department will help you work through those scenarios when they arise. Any plan on Covid-19 should be grounded in preserving the health and safety of the educational community. 

To help you in your planning, you’ll find the PEMA contacts for each county on PEMA's website

Based on today’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency by Governor Wolf, PDE will continue to work on and provide updated information and additional opportunities to engage as the situation develops. You are encouraged to visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website for information regarding coronavirus.

Thanks again for all you do on behalf of our kids and families in the commonwealth. 

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