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School Operating Status

It is essential to have data on how students are learning in order to support the goals of access and equity, especially for student groups that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Describe the current status of data collection on operational status and mode of instruction of all schools in your State. This description must include:

  1. A description of to what extent, and how frequently, the State collects now and will collect in the future data for all schools in your State on:

    1. Mode of instruction: The number of schools in your State that are offering fully remote or online-only instruction; both remote/online and in-person instruction (hybrid model); and/or full-time in-person instruction;
    2. Enrollment: Student enrollment for all students and disaggregated for each of the student groups described in A.3.i-viii for each mode of instruction; and
    3. Attendance: Student attendance for all students and disaggregated for each of the student groups described in A.3.i-viii for each mode of instruction.

    Prior to reopening schools in the fall of 2020, LEAs submitted Health and Safety Plans to PDE, which provided a point-in-time indicator of LEAs' intended mode of instruction at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. LEAs updated their Health and Safety plans as necessary and posted those plans on their websites.

    In December 2020, PDE required LEAs to submit forms attesting to health and safety precautions the LEA would take if it planned to provide any in-person instruction. If an LEA attested to providing no in-person instruction at that point in time, then PDE could assume all schools, and therefore all students, within that LEA were receiving fully remote instruction. This enabled PDE to estimate that approximately 40 percent of all LEAs, representing just under 40 percent of enrolled students (using the enrollment data of school year 2019–20), were offering fully remote instruction in December 2020.

    Throughout the 2020–21 school year, PDE has relied on the weekly input from the 29 regional IUs to understand the current operational status and mode of instruction of LEAs. Each IU updated a spreadsheet of current modes of instruction for the LEAs within their geographic region on a weekly basis. However, since the data is at the level of the LEA, not each school within the LEA, it was impossible for PDE to accurately assess the mode of instruction provided to students at the school level.

    To access information needed for this ARP ESSER application, PDE used data collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to determine student eligibility for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits. To issue P-EBT benefits, DHS collects information at the individual student level, including the school where they are enrolled and their school's current instructional model (i.e., fully in- person, fully remote, or hybrid). This data collection will continue through the summer of 2021 or as long as P-EBT benefits are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since PDE assists DHS with the P-EBT program, DHS will continue to share the ongoing collections of student enrollment by mode of instruction in response to the requirements of ARP ESSER. This is PDE's most current data to understand the modes of instruction for LEAs, and PDE's only dataset to understand the modes of instruction for individual schools and for enrolled students by student group. 

    For enrollment and attendance, PDE typically collects school- and student-level data through the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS), PDE's statewide longitudinal data system. Since LEAs do not submit student-level daily attendance data in PIMS, PDE's Data Quality Office follows an approved process for federal accountability that uses truancy data, days enrolled, and days present to calculate a student-level indicator for chronic absenteeism. This indicator is used to determine risk factors for students at the individual, school, and student subgroup level.

    Future Plans:

    In the short term, PDE will continue to partner with DHS to share more up-to-date data on student enrollment by mode of instruction for the 2020-21 school year. PDE is exploring ways to collect information on students' modes of instruction in the 2021-22 school year, to understand the continued impact of the pandemic on learning and teaching.

  1. The data described in A.5.i.a. and b. using the template in Appendix A (and to the extent available, the data described in A.5.i.c.) for the most recent time period available. Please note that this data can be submitted separately within 14 calendar days after a State submits this plan. The SEA must also make this data publicly available on its website as soon as possible but no later than June 21, 2021, and regularly provide updated available information on its website. The Department will periodically review data listed in A.5.i on SEA websites.

    Indicate the date or time period represented by the following data.

    The tables below use October 2020 student enrollment data submitted by schools, which are the most recent and accurate available. The mode of instruction is as of October 2020 for schools in public school entities (including school districts, charter schools, cyber charter schools, and career and technical education centers). Student groups listed are those requested by the U.S. Department of Education. Both tables are provided on PDE's ARP ESSER Data and Reporting site.

Table A2. Mode of Instruction by School as of October 2020.

In the most recent time period available, how many schools in your State offered each mode of instruction or learning model described below? Each row should account for all schools in your State, so that, for each row, the sum of the numbers in the "offered to all students," "offered to some students," and "not offered" columns is equal to the number in the "all schools" column. 

Mode of Instruction Offered to All Students Offered to Some Students Not Offered to Students Total Number of Public Schools
Remote or online only635 (21.8%)1,977 (67.8%)302 (10.4%)2,914
School buildings open with both remote/online and in-person instruction (hybrid) 182 (6.2%)1,910 (65.6%)822 (28.2%)2,914
School buildings open with full- time in-person instruction62 (2.1%)950 (32.6%)

1,902 (65.3%)


To the extent data are available, please complete the above table for 1) all schools in the State, and 2) separately for each instructional level (e.g., pre-kindergarten/elementary schools, middle schools, high schools).

PDE does not have the data necessary to identify schools by instructional level because there are numerous grade configurations of schools across the state and no standard definition of categories such as elementary, middle, and high schools.

Table A3. Mode of Instruction by Student Subgroup.

In the most recent time period available, what was the enrollment and mode of instruction for the schools in your State? 

Student Subgroup Total Statewide Enrollment (in Public Schools) Students Who Are Remote or Online Only Students in Both Remote/Online and In-Person Instruction (Hybrid) Students in Full-Time In-Person Instruction
Students from low-income families715,065402,135 (56.2%)245,657 (34.4%)67,273 (9.4%)
White, not Hispanic977,031297,696 (30.5%)521,586 (53.4%)157,749 (16.1%)
Black or African American, not Hispanic214,138173,840 (81.2%)34,777 (16.2%)5,521 (2.6%)
Hispanic, of any race217,773153,603 (70.5%)53,474 (24.6%)10,696 (4.9%)
Asian, not Hispanic70,17046,273 (65.9%)20,528 (29.3%)3,369 (4.8%)
American Indian or Alaskan Native, not Hispanic2,3551,210 (51.4%)847 (36.0%)298 (12.7%)
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, not Hispanic1,287685 (53.2%)491 (38.2%)111 (8.6%)
Two or more races, not Hispanic70,84535,654 (50.3%)27,371 (38.6%)7,820 (11.0%)
Race/Ethnicity information not available0000
Female753,226350,219 (46.5%)314,903 (41.8%)88,104 (11.7%)
Male800,373358,742 (44.8%)344,171 (43.0%)97,460 (12.2%)
English learners72,78854,079 (74.3%)15,819 (21.7%)2,890 (4.0%)
Children with disabilities271,557124,031 (45.7%)116,218 (42.8%)31,308 (11.5%)
Students experiencing homelessness419,69111,909 (60.5%)6,252 (31.8%)1,530 (7.8%)
Children and youth in foster care49,7905,549 (56.7%)3,231 (33.0%)1,010 (10.3%)
Migratory students4
2,450 (73.1%)675 (20.1%)228 (6.8%)
  1. To the extent available, a description of the planned operational status and mode of instruction for the State and its LEAs for Summer 2021 and for the 2021-2022 school year.

    In Pennsylvania, LEAs determine their school calendar and mode of instruction locally. As a result of communications with LEAs and stakeholders and regular coordination with regional intermediate units that liaise with LEAs, PDE expects that the vast majority of students will be able to resume access to in-person instruction at the start of the 2021–22 school year.

    Through the summer of 2021 and into the 2021–22 school year, PDE will continue to partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to provide up-to-date information on community transmission of COVID-19. PDE recognizes that while schools across the commonwealth are planning for a return to in-person instruction five days per week in the 2021–22 school year, there may still be a need for short-term transitions to remote instruction in certain circumstances. To provide predictability for planning purposes, flexibility for schools mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and for families that request periods of remote instruction for their children as a result of the pandemic, PDE will follow the same practice that was implemented during the 2020–21 school year, which is to consider the COVID-19 global pandemic an emergency as contemplated by Section 520.1 of the Pennsylvania School Code. PDE has issued guidance to LEAs regarding how remote learning time can continue to satisfy the 180-day and 900/990-hour state statutory requirements in the 2021–22 school year.

    The decision to enact temporary provisions under Section 520.1 of the Pennsylvania School Code remains a local one. PDE has cautioned LEAs that, when making decisions related to the provision of instructional time, all LEAs must be cognizant of issues such as the provision of planned instruction needed to attain the relevant academic standards set forth in Title 22, Chapter 4 of the Pennsylvania Code; implementation of systems for tracking attendance and instructional time, especially related to students engaging in remote instruction; the provision of free, appropriate public education (FAPE); and equity in access to instruction for all students.

4 Indicates students identified in the identified subgroup during the 2019-20 school year.