How Pennsylvania is discouraging education during the coronavirus crisis: Corey DeAngelis

Posted on: April 17, 2020

Health experts around the world have recommended social distancing as an effective way to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to increase social distancing, state and local governments have closed schools for over 97 percent of the school-aged population in the United States. In Pennsylvania, confirmed cases of the virus are growing seemingly every day, and Gov. Tom Wolf announced a mandatory closure of all public schools on March 13.

Closing brick-and-mortar schools was a smart decision to flatten the curve in Pennsylvania. However, the state government has made decisions since then that will discourage continuity of education during the current crisis. Here’s how:

Gov. Wolf ordered all public and private schools to close, including cyber charter schools serving more than 37,000 children in the state virtually. This kind of blanket order does nothing to encourage schools to provide educational services to students online during the emergency.

Although it is still technically possible for cyber charter schools to enroll new students and provide educational services virtually during the mandated closure, the legislature just passed a bill that would actually discourage these schools from helping kids in this time of need. This at a time when Pennsylvania’s school districts were woefully unprepared to provide remote instruction for their students, unlike in many other states.

To read the rest of this column in the Pennsylvania Patriot-News, please click here.

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