Dear parents and caregivers,
Thank you for taking an unprecedented situation and adapting to it. Thank you for comforting your kids and developing new daily routines. Thank you for helping your children discover and adjust to a new way to learn. Thank you for balancing the responsibilities of our evolving situation while demonstrating patience and understanding.
As a father of two school age children I know firsthand the way school closures have impacted families and homelife. While inconvenient, please know that schools were closed in order to preserve the health and safety of our students and our communities. Your school administrators, teachers, and staff are doing their best to meet the needs of all children while schools are closed. The educational opportunities being offered may look different in each community and grade level, but I have strongly encouraged school leaders to provide meaningful instruction to the greatest extent possible.
It's not a secret that Pennsylvania is a state rich in diversity. While our diversity is a strength, in some cases it has created inequities in access to resources within school communities. While we've taken steps to address this over the past five years, COVID-19 has introduced unique conditions to our education system and amplified inequities. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is doing its best to support schools in offering meaningful instruction, including making online distance learning platforms available to hundreds of thousands of students, offering millions of dollars in equity grants to help schools ensure all students can receive instruction, and providing technical assistance via our regional intermediate units to schools across the state as they build and implement their continuity of education plans.
I am sure you have questions about how the extended school closure will impact your child, both this year and moving forward. PDE has issued guidance to schools on how to approach some of the difficult issues, like high school graduation and advancement to the next grade. Now, more than ever, it's important for parents and caregivers to engage with your child's school to learn more about their plans for continued instruction and ways to best support learning at home.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools and communities to rethink the way we've been operating for generations. But as our commonwealth's situation has evolved, our communities' and schools' responses have and will continue to evolve. We'll get through this together.