USDA Grants PA Waiver Request, All Students Now Eligible for Free Meals (March 30, 2020)

On Monday, March 29, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced receipt of waiver approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow schools to provide free meals to all children during the statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Before receiving the waiver, schools that did not meet area-based free or reduced-price meal eligibility requirements were unable to offer free meals to all students. The waiver eases those requirements, allowing all children to have access to food.

Many thanks to the Morning Call.

All K-12 PA Schools Remain Closed Indefinitely (March 29, 2020)

All K-12 Pennsylvania schools will remain closed until further notice because of theCOVID-19 pandemic, and schools will be putting distance learning plans in place for an indefinite period of time. Governor Tom Wolf’s March 29, 2020 announcement has extended the school closure he issued the previous week that was to be in place through at least April 6th.

Many school districts are anticipating the need to plan to be closed for the remainder of the school year and are looking to the PA Department of Education (PDE) for help and guidance. Although PDE cannot legally require school districts to teach during the closure, it is strongly encouraging teachers to continue educating students either through mandatory instruction or on a voluntary basis that is considered to be enrichment.

An important consideration in planning instruction is providing special education to students with IEPs. According to Governor Wolf, “[The state is] working on a plan to make sure we have a way to provide an education for the kids who are not getting an education for the next two months.” To that end, PA Education Secretary Pedro Rivera is also working with PA’s 29 intermediate units that provide special services to districts.

For more information, click here to see related Morning Call articles.

NASN and PDH Provide Resources for School Nurses/Health Services (March 28, 2020)

The PA Division of School Health has been receiving questions about what school nurses can do during the school closures related to the current pandemic.  Click here to access a document published by the NASN entitled “Ideas for School Nurse Activities During the COVID-19 Pandemic”.  It provides a variety of things that school nurses may consider implementing in collaboration with their administration.

In addition, please review the information on the below links and check them frequently for updates to ensure you have the most current information.

Coronavirus Information for Education:

Guidance and Resources for School Communities:

Pennsylvania Overview:

Prevention strategies: Handwashing Videos

Gov. Wolf Signs SB 751 into Law, Amends PA School Code in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic (March 28, 2020)

On March 27th, Governor Wolf signed SB 751 into law. The bill made changes to the PA School Code in order to address issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes include waivers of 180-day requirement, testing, and other mandates, as well as other items involving special ed. PRRIs, financial issues, etc. For more details, go to the “Membership” drop-down on the PAPSA website and click on “Member Resources.”