Students and teachers in Pennsylvania will be allowed to return to the classroom on July 1, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
The state Education Department announced Wednesday plans to resume in-person teaching.
Only schools in counties that have reached either the “green” or “yellow” phase of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan will be permitted to return to the classroom, according to preliminary guidelines issued by Education Secretary Pedro Rivera.
According to the guidelines, it will be up to each school to come up with their own health and safety procedures that meet both federal and state guidelines.
The newspaper reports that the guidance doesn’t specify how many students will be allowed in each classroom, but it does call for a six-foot separation between students.
“Schools can then personalize those expectations based on the needs of their classrooms,” Rivera said during a news conference.
It will also be up to schools and colleges to decide if they want to return to in-person instruction.
“Schools are going to have to engage their communities and their specific needs through this plan," Rivera said. He said the department knows that “not every parent will want to or be able to send their children back to school,” and remote learning may still be a part of some districts’ plans for the upcoming school year.
The July 1 date means some summer school programs may take place in-person. Rivera said some summer schools will still take place virtually even with the OK to resume in-person.
He said some logistics are not completely figured out like whether younger children or students with special needs will need to wear masks.
Other changes to be expected include how students are transported to and from school as well as when the school year will begin, he noted.
The goal, Rivera said, is to have all students and staff back in school this fall.
“The worst case scenario is that we continue with full online virtual instruction as we are,” he said.
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