Parents Must Decide by July 15 for Optional Year of Education due to Covid-19

HARRISBURG – A new state law empowers parents to decide whether their children should advance to the next grade level or be held back a year due to learning disruptions created during COVID-19, according to Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32).

Parents who wish to pursue the additional optional year of education for their children must complete and return a standardized form to their school district no later than July 15. The deadline allows school districts enough time to plan for changes in class sizes for the upcoming school year.

“Given the last year and a half, some students may need flexibility to overcome the learning obstacles they faced. Parents were forced to become teachers, and teachers had to become online learning experts while students faced the stress of isolation and distractions at home. Everyone did their best, but the reality is that some students’ education was compromised,” Sen. Stefano said. “Legislation I co-sponsored would give them a chance to learn what they need to know in the traditional setting, which gives certain students the best chance at success.”

The form is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website at The Department of Education also developed a Frequently Asked Questions page about the new law and encouraged all school districts to make the form available on their websites as well.

The additional optional year of education was provided in Act 66 of 2021, which was signed into law on Wednesday. The option would only apply to the 2021-22 school year to help manage learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CONTACT: Mark Fetzko, 717-787-7175

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