PSEA president says safe in-person instruction must be priority for 2021-22 school year

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PSEA president says safe in-person instruction must be priority for 2021-22 school year

For further information contact:
Chris Lilienthal (717) 255-7134
David Broderic (717) 255-7169

HARRISBURG, PA (May 17, 2021) – As school districts make plans for the 2021-22 school year, PSEA President Rich Askey encouraged them to prioritize in-person instruction in accordance with the health and safety recommendations of state and national health experts.

“A full, safe return to in-person instruction should be a top priority for the 2021-22 school year,” Askey said. “Getting COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of school employees and some students has played a major role in making our schools safer spaces for learning. As more students are vaccinated over the summer, we believe that in-person instruction is achievable in a way that keeps everyone safe.”

Askey noted that new federal funding from the American Rescue Plan will play a critical role in meeting students’ needs in the new school year.

“School districts will have the opportunity to invest American Rescue Plan funds to make our school buildings safer, bridge learning gaps, and address the mental, social, and emotional needs of students,” Askey said. “The success of these efforts is predicated on being back in the classroom in person in the new school year.”

Askey emphasized that school districts must continue to follow all guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health in the new school year in order to conduct in-person instruction as safely as possible.

“The safety of students and staff cannot be compromised,” he said. “The good news is we have an opportunity to return to in-person instruction while keeping everyone safe, as long as we follow the guidance of health experts. Educators and support professionals look forward to working with school district leaders, parents, and community members to get students on a pathway to achievement as we emerge from this pandemic.”

Askey is a Harrisburg music teacher and the president of PSEA. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 178,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.