PSEA is a community of education professionals who make a difference in the lives of students every day.
Phoenixville EA member John Odell is in his second successful career after 24 years with the Army.
Pennsylvania’s public schools should be the safest and healthiest places for students to learn and grow.
PSEA is committed to making changes aimed at protecting everyone who works and learns in our schools.
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David Broderic (717) 376-9169
HARRISBURG, PA (January 7, 2021) – PSEA President Rich Askey today issued the following statement after the Departments of Education and Health updated the state’s COVID-19 plan for Pennsylvania’s schools, which would bring additional students back to school buildings for in-person instruction at the start of the next semester.
“There is nothing Pennsylvania educators want more than to be back in the classroom with their students. But rushing students back at the height of a pandemic with no clear plan to enforce health and safety guidelines will set back our efforts to achieve that goal.
“We have serious concerns about any plan to allow more students to attend school in-person without ensuring that all schools are following the state’s COVID-19 health and safety guidance.
“As COVID-19 cases increase to near-record levels in Pennsylvania and as a more contagious strain of the virus has been identified here, this is no time to encourage schools to bring more students and staff in contact with one another in areas with high rates of community spread.
“Noticeably lacking from this updated guidance are stronger transparency mechanisms to ensure uniform and accurate reporting of COVID-19 infections present in school communities.
“For months, PSEA has been encouraging the Wolf administration to make certain that all schools are complying with the current guidance. And we will continue to speak up until we are all certain that every school district is complying with the state’s health and safety guidelines – without exception.
“The plan the Wolf administration announced today must be adjusted immediately to ensure that every school in Pennsylvania is following the state’s health and safety guidelines before we bring more students and staff members back into school buildings.
“Scientists and health care professionals have warned for weeks that the next two months could be among the worst – if not the worst – of this pandemic. Now is the time to exercise the most extreme caution and compliance, so that we can beat this virus and get our schools back open for in-person instruction once and for all.
“The most important thing state government can do at this point is ensure that schools are complying with the state’s health and safety guidance. Right now, we still don’t have a clear, statewide process to ascertain whether schools are following rules designed to keep students, staff, and their families safe.”
Askey is a Harrisburg music teacher and the president of PSEA. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 180,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.