Parents Must Decide by July 15 Whether to Pursue 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. Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

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.

“The pandemic presented challenges for all of us, including our children. Some kids struggled with online learning and would really benefit from being able to repeat a grade,” Bartolotta said. “I co-sponsored the legislation that gives parents the power to decide if the additional year of education is best for their children because parents need to have a seat at the table. We must all work together to best prepare the next generation.”

The form is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website at www.education.pa.gov. 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: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463