Pennsylvania Department of Education extends school closures through at least April 6

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced Monday that schools in the commonwealth will remain closed through at least April 6. This adds another 5 business days to the original closure order which would have ended Monday, March 30.

“Protecting the health and safety of students, families, teachers and all employees who work in our schools is paramount during this national health crisis and we must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said in a statement. “The number of positive cases increases daily and we’re seeing it spread to more counties. We must adhere to the social distancing guidelines. Extending the closure will help every community in its efforts to mitigate the spread.”

Rivera said his decision to extend the school closure aligns with Governor Tom Wolf’s “stay-at-home” order announced for six counties.

The state’s 29 intermediate units will be providing technical assistance to help develop plans ensuring all students continue their education.

“We know students are eager to engage with their teachers and return to learning,” Rivera said “Beginning tomorrow [Tuesday], all schools will be able to work with their local intermediate unit to develop instructional plans for all students, including those with disabilities and English language learners.”

Rivera also cancelled standardized testing for students in career and technical education (CTE) programs for the school year. This includes exams from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) and National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS). 

It follows a previous decision by the Department of Education cancelling all PSSA testing and Keystone exams for the 2019-20 school year, as well as the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA). The U.S. Department of Education has waived accountability and reporting requirements for the 2019-20 school year.

When it is determined that students can return to school, staff will be given two days to prepare the classroom and cafeterias as well as schedule transportation.

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