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Saturday, August 1, 2020

House Education Committee to Host Two-Day Public Hearing on Reopening Schools in Fall

HARRISBURG – The House Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Curt Sonney (R-Erie), will host a two-day public hearing next week to discuss safely reopening schools this fall.

The hearings will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 4, and Wednesday, Aug. 5. Tuesday’s hearing will be a continuation of a previous hearing the committee held in June where teachers, administrators and directors from public and nonpublic schools discussed their plans and concerns for getting students back to the classroom in the fall. Wednesday’s hearing will focus on stakeholders recommended legislation to the committee designed to ensure better flexibility as school administrations navigate and adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the American Academy of Pediatrics has said, our school policies must be guided by what is best for the children, their health and well-being. So, getting our students back in the classroom this fall is a top priority,” Sonney said. “Across the board there has been a lack of communication, direction and transparency from the Wolf administration on how our schools should reopen.

“These hearings will help the public, and us as legislators, gain better insight on the concerns and struggles our schools are currently facing and help create better policy to ensure our students’ educational needs are met,” continued Sonney. “We are running out of time; we need answers and solutions. We must prioritize our students - we cannot let them fall through the cracks.”

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) also noted the importance of getting students back in the classroom this fall and the lack of clear direction from the administration.

“As the first day of school approaches, it is important that we give both parents and students predictability and confidence that there is a plan to reopen schools safely,” said Benninghoff. “As we continue to learn to live with COVID-19, students should not be deprived of the choice of having important in-classroom instruction and parents should not be forced to make the difficult choice between earning a living and being full-time, in-home educators. Unfortunately, the administration has come up short on answers and school leaders are calling for firm direction and not loose guidelines. I hope these hearings will help show the problems facing those trying to reopen schools without a concrete plan and highlight areas where more direction is needed. From there, it is our hope that the Wolf administration will see this as an opportunity to work with the people’s representatives to develop a well-thought-out plan to open schools safely for the benefit of educators, parents and our children.”

The hearings will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4, and Wednesday, Aug. 5, in the House Majority Caucus Room, Room 140, Main Capitol.

Those invited to testify during Tuesday’s hearing include members of the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, Alliance of Approved Private Schools, PA Cyber Charter School, Agora Cyber Charter School, the ARC of PA and the Association of School Nurses and Practitioners.

Wednesday’s panel of testifiers will include representatives invited from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), PA Association of School Administrators (PASA), PA Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) and PA State Education Association (PSEA).

Barring any technical difficulties, the hearings will be streamed live at www.RepSonney.com and www.pahousegop.com.

14 comments :

Anonymous said...

Let's hope the Republican brethren in Harrisburg don't follow the leadership from D.C. in using the health of our children and teachers as political fodder. They would throw our precious kids under the bus so to speak by having them return to the classroom because it might make things less like they really are --pandemonium -- in this country because our national leaders did not take this virus seriously. The real Trump Re-Election Playbook is to suppress voters that would cast their ballots for Biden and to pretend that things are getting back to normal when they obviously are not.

Anonymous said...

You mean Hide in the Basement Socialist Biden?.... Yeah..... right...

Anonymous said...

Do you want our precious kids to continue to lag behind because of your fear Kids need to be in school there are lots of children who are unable to do school via distance learning. Teachers claim they are afraid of dying yet they continue to go to Starbucks for coffee and the grocery store and Walmart etc. Taxes pay for these teachers salaries they should be expected to return to work they can wear masks and help to clean rooms, do not social distance the children they need the interaction. If teachers are afraid to return to the classroom they can and should be replaced with a teacher that wants to. There is a total of 17 cases in Potter county 17! All Potter County schools should be open.

Anonymous said...

DEFUND Teachers Unions who are using COVID 19 to line their pockets with x-tra taxpayer money!!! KEEP the POLICE!

Anonymous said...

@2:59- Ahh. Where is the Starbucks in Potter County? Besides, going to the grocery store is a bit different than putting 20 - 30 students in a classroom in the middle of a pandemic. How can you call our children "precious" in one sentence and then insist that they NOT social distance (when that is proven to help stem the spread) in a later sentence? I realize that students need instruction, but this is not 1863! Let's use the online tools we can, while we assure safety for the children and their families until we get this virus thing better controlled. At least consider a hybrid model! Look at the states in the south and southwest that blatantly disregarded the warnings and opened too soon...they are hotspots of infection. There will be an increase in cases if schools open. Consider the proximity on busses, in the cafeteria, in the hallways. Many possibilities for increased viral spread. Potter County is not immune just because it is rural.

Anonymous said...

The virus hasn`t really hit Potter County yet. It will, and when it does your prospects will be grim. Keep pretending it`s nothing and you will be fine... Until you aren`t... You can Blame it all in Biden.

Anonymous said...

The Republican death cult will always put money over lives. Greed is the driving force behind the school reopening push. Gov Wolf has been getting very high polling for the good job he has been doing. The GOP on the other hand has done everything wrong. Time to stop worrying about what the 1% wants and start worrying about what is best for the 99% and rushing to open school is not in the best interest of anyone. Read about the children camp in Georgia and how many got the Corvid 19. It can happen here if we let the GOP have it way!!!

Anonymous said...

It's just a good thing that we came into this virus with the greatest economy this world has ever seen. Just think what it would be like if Hillary had been elected and we came into this with obamas economy. We are lucky we were strong going into this or things would be much worse and biden would do nothing to help us recover because he knows nothing about jobs or economics. His policy would be for everyone to hide somewhere and hope somebody else solves this thing. Somebody like Trump.

Anonymous said...

The COVID case & death numbers are very inflated, & everybody knows it!!!

Anonymous said...

8:15:00 PM Tell them that in Florida. 7:35:00 PM Are you insane ?

Anonymous said...

7:35:00 PM Trump caused this thing ! He knows it and he will deflect blame to everyone else. Obama cleaned up a Republican trashed economy.

Anonymous said...

Trump did not "cause" this.... dig deeper than the surface left agenda, several years back.... you will see who's funding was cut & they went to China to circumvent US laws to continue research. On viruses.

Anonymous said...

11:31:00 AM LOL

Anonymous said...

So all of the enlightened adults sit here smugly defending whichever political agenda they blindly support, pointing fingers at each other and laying blame. Meanwhile, we’re clamoring to send children back to school, in favor of the ‘economy’...even though most of you don’t even know what means. It’s sad, but it’s not surprising; we don’t care about human life in this country any more, particularly our children...there have been 200 of our “precious” children gunned down in school shootings since that first one in Columbine, but we’re cool with it...the 2nd amendment is worth their sacrifice. Just like the ‘economy’ will be worth however many more people will have to be needlessly sacrificed. And don’t forget, when you’re spouting your YouTube statistics about children don’t die from Covid, you’re intentionally dismissing the teachers, the faculty, to support staff, bus drivers and parents and grandparents who will interact with these same ‘precious’, asymptomatic virus transmitters, because those folks do die from Covid. But it’s cool...we don’t really care.