A joint initiative across numerous education associations was announced on May 8, 2020 with the implementation of a task force to plan for the safe reopening of schools in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA), the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU), PA Principals Association, the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators (PACTA), and the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) will have representation on working groups categorized by key operational areas that include facility/logistics, staffing, instruction, transportation, special education, extra curriculars, health and safety, communication, resources, and community.
The associations’ goal and the work of the task force is aimed at getting Pennsylvania’s students back into their schools and classrooms and do it as safely as possible. The school groups’ task forces will review all issues related to the safe return of Pennsylvania’s students and draft plans for school districts’ use. Issues for consideration will include the potential staggering of school schedules to reduce the size of classrooms and open space gatherings, enhanced cleaning procedures and equipment for buildings and buses, implementation of additional policies related to PPE and masks, air quality measurements and enhanced filtration, meal preparation and serving procedures, after-school activity precautions to mitigate the potential spread of germs, redesigning of facilities to enhance social distancing, and procedures for student assemblies.
The commonwealth’s 500 school districts, 80 CTCs and 29 IUs have done a remarkable job of rapidly pivoting to meet all students needs via online and remote resources. However, school leaders and educators also recognize that Pennsylvanians are anxious to get students back in their classrooms this fall.
Association leaders emphasized that everyone involved in public education wants what’s best for Pennsylvania’s students and that they want to ensure that all viewpoints are considered so that schools can plan for every possible eventuality.