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Procedures for Electronic Filings and Video/Telephonic Hearings During COVID-19 Emergency

These procedures are adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education pursuant to the July 10, 2020 Order of Governor Tom Wolf Authorizing Commonwealth Agencies to Conduct Administrative Proceedings Online by Telephonic Means. The following procedures shall be effective as of September 1, 2020 and shall be applicable to all administrative proceedings before the Department, excluding proceedings before the Professional Standards and Practices Commission.1

These procedures do not supersede federal statutes or regulations applicable to administrative proceedings.  For example, the procedures are inapplicable to federal food and nutrition appeals governed by federal regulations.  

All Administrative Proceedings are Required to be Conducted by Virtual Means

Presiding officers shall conduct all administrative hearings for the Department using video, telephonic, or other online conferencing means. In-person administrative hearings shall not be conducted. A presiding officer shall, through pre-hearing order, notify the parties in advance of a hearing of the virtual means to be utilized, keeping in mind the nature of the evidence and the technology available to the parties and witnesses.

The notice shall include:

  1. The date and time of the hearing.
  2. Whether the hearing will be conducted by telephone or video conference.
  3. Instructions on how to participate in the hearing remotely including sequestration of witnesses, if necessary.
  4. The deadline and method by which the presiding officer and court reporter are to receive documents and the directive that all documents must be pre-marked and exchanged prior to the hearing. Electronic pre-hearing submission of documents is preferred.

Further guidelines to assist presiding officers in the conduct of hearings by virtual means is attached as Appendix A.

Members of the press and the public may listen to the video or telephonic proceedings by contacting the presiding officer and will be provided with a call-in number or live stream access for the video or telephonic hearing. They will be permitted only to listen.

All Filings with the Department are Required to be Made by Email

Due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, the Department is accepting administrative filings only by email.

Instructions and Procedures for Emailing Documents for Filing

    • Documents to be filed must be in PDF format.
    • Documents to be filed concerning all matters except the Charter School Appeal Board shall be emailed to:
    • Documents to be filed concerning the Charter School Appeal Board shall be emailed to:
    • Documents to be filed must be attached to the email and not contained in the body of the email.
    • The email and attached documents must contain the filer's name, email address, telephone number, and the case's docket number (if one has been assigned).
    • A document submitted for filing by email shall not be delivered in hard copy form to the Department or the presiding officer unless otherwise directed by the presiding officer.
    • The email and attachment will constitute the official record of the filing.
    • Documents received by 5:00 pm will be considered filed that day. Documents received after 5:00 pm or on weekends and holidays will be considered filed the following business day.
    • The email address is solely for submitting attached PDF documents for filing.
    • Please do not include comments, questions, or additional correspondence in the email.

All Parties Must File a Notice of Appearance with an Email Address for Service of Documents

All parties in any matter before the Department shall file a notice containing an email address at which notice or other written communications required to be served upon the party shall be delivered. If an attorney appears in a representative capacity in a proceeding, the attorney shall file with the Department and deliver to the other parties a written notice of the appearance, which shall state the attorney's name, PA Bar ID Number, email address, and the name of the person or persons on whose behalf the attorney appears. Additional notice or other written communication required to be served on or furnished to a party shall be sent to the attorney of record for the person at the stated email address of the attorney. A form notice of appearance is attached as Appendix B.

Service of Documents filed by Email

    • Service of all documents where a party or its attorney has filed a notice of appearance containing an email address for service of documents shall be accomplished by delivery of documents to the designated email address.
    • Where any party has not filed a notice of appearance containing an email address for service of documents, documents filed by email must be served on that party by mailing a paper copy, properly addressed with postage prepaid.
    • Documents submitted for filing must contain a signed certificate of service indicating the date the document was emailed to the email address designated in the notice of appearance or placed in the mail.


1 Procedures applicable to the Professional Standards and Practices Commission