BSE Notifies LEAs of APS and Deaf and Blind Preliminary Deductions for 2019-20 (July 31, 2020)

On Friday, July 31, 2020, Carole L. Clancy, Director of the Bureau of Special Education, disseminated a Penn*Link communiqué titled Approved Private School and Chartered School for the Deaf and the Blind Preliminary Deductions. In it, she reminds all LEAs that, in accordance with 24 PS 13-1376 of the PA School Code, this message is to notify each school district of residence or charter school of a child enrolled in an Approved Private School (APS) or Chartered School for the Deaf and Blind of its preliminary payment amount for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year. The student data has been entered by the host Local Education Agency (LEA) and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) electronically through the Approved Private School Electronic Management (APSEM) system. She also states that, if any student information listed is incorrect, it is the LEA’s responsibility to follow up with the APS or Chartered School for the Deaf and Blind and make corrections in APSEM. The LEA is also responsible for submitting the Request for Change in Approved Private School Assignment to PDE in a timely manner. LEAs are directed to log into the APSEM system and run the Application for Educational Assignment to Approved Private Schools and Chartered Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Enrollment Deduction Report for school year 2019-20. LEAs may find the above information useful when completing their 2020-21 General Fund Budget (PDE-2028).

Questions pertaining to the Request for Change in Approved Private School Assignment, accounting, and/or deductions, should be submitted to Jessica Burkey at jeburkey@pa.gov or 717.783.6906.

PA Administrators Seek More Specifics for Re-opening from State Officials (July 30, 2020)

On July 27, 2020, PA Association of School Administrators (PASA) officials requested more specific guidance for school re-opening during a call that included  PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine PA Education Secretary Pedro Rivera. They are seeking more concrete recommendations on how to re-open, including what format to utilize and how to handle a teacher or student testing positive for COVID-19. PASA Executive Director Mark DiRocco expressed concern that school administrators and board members are being asked to make public health decisions for which they have no training or expertise.

Although PA Health Department officials reassured the school administrators that they will help guide school districts’ responses as virus cases arise, administrators are still requesting clarity in distancing measures, transportation, and other concerns with in-person instruction. For example, state guidelines call for 6 feet (1.8 meters) of social distancing “to the maximum extent possible,” a goal that may prove difficult.

School districts must have a board-approved plan posted online before they ca Democratic Governor Tom Wolf closed schools for the 2019-20 school year in March.

For more information from the Associated Press, click here.

For information from the AP on including how school districts such as Philadelphia, Coatesville, State College, Franklin Regional, Wilson Boro, West Chester, Central Cambria, and Octorora are planning to re-open, click here.

USDE Official Says Schools Shouldn’t Expect Test Waivers for 2020-21 (July 30, 2020)

US Department of Education (USDE) Assistant Education Secretary Jim Blew has stated that states should not expect standardized testing waivers for the 2020-21 school year. According to Chalkbeat, waivers from state testing requirements that were available for school districts for 2019-20 due to school closures related to COVID-19 will not be approved by the USDE for 2020-21. On a related issue, the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a nonprofit assessment provider, has now released state and federal policy recommendations to guide lawmakers and educators in providing accurate and helpful assessments when their students return to in-person instruction.  Recent recommendations by the NWEA, a nonprofit assessment provider, include suggestions to use two years of assessment data to measure student growth rather than a single year and to rethink how assessments should be administered and utilized. 

For more information from Education Dive, click here.

Act 65 Signed into Law, Clarifies Consent Issues Related to Consent to Mental Health Treatment of a Minor (July 30, 2020)

Act 65 of 2020 has been signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf. The new law clarifies that a parent/guardian has the right to consent to in-patient and/or out-patient mental health treatment on behalf of a minor under the age of 18 without the minor’s consent. The law also prohibits a parent/guardian from overturning another parent/guardian’s consent on the minor’s behalf. However, if one of the parents/guardians with legal custody rights objects to in-patient treatment sought by the other parent/guardian, a court petition can be filed and a hearing held within 72 hours.

The law also avers that a minor placed in mental health treatment will be advised of his/her right to appeal such placement and continues the provision of Act 147 of 2004 that allows minors age 14 and older to consent to treatment without the consent of their parent/guardian. It also avers that a parent/guardian will unable to revoke consent to treatment given by the minor.

Gov. Wolf Signs Cardiac Prevention Act to help Protect Student-Athletes (July 29, 2020)

Governor Tom Wolf has signed Act 73 of 2020, which places the provisions of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act (Act 59 of 2012) into the PA School Code as a new section concerning sudden cardiac arrest and electrocardiogram (EKG) testing. The new law requires that information regarding EKG testing be added to the websites, educational publications, and training sessions required for coaches, prospective student-athletes, and parents/guardians. The new law also provides families the option to request an EKG from their family’s medical provider in addition to the standard athletic participation physical examination. The cost of the EKG testing would be the responsibility of the parent/guardian.