June 3, 2020
I know this message finds you working tirelessly to conclude a school year without precedent, while you prepare your students, staff, and community for the uncertainty that may accompany the next. While the 2020-21 school year will bring significant challenges, your efforts over the past few months give me confidence and hope.
To support you and your teams, today the Department of Education is issuing Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Schools. This guidance summarizes recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health; maps these to the state’s Red/Yellow/Green phased reopening plan; and serves as a starting point for school leaders to consider in preparations for the upcoming year.
Today’s guidance focuses on planning and procedures to promote safe operations. From my discussions with superintendents, charter chief school administrators, and intermediate unit executive directors, I know you are equally concerned with more adaptive challenges—refining plans for remote delivery of educational and student services as COVID-19 response efforts continue; addressing lost instructional time and opportunities, especially when those have been experienced by vulnerable students; and prioritizing the social and emotional health of students, staff, and families amid compound health, economic, and racial justice crises. Accordingly, later this month, PDE will release additional guidance that outlines steps for school openings while addressing safe operations, teaching and learning, and student and staff wellness—with attention to equity throughout.
As always, thank you for your tremendous leadership, commitment, and care over the past three months. I am privileged to work alongside you in serving our students.