Governor Wolf has signed Senate Bill 751, containing emergency relief provisions for School Districts, into law. Some of the major highlights of the law, which resolve many of the outstanding issues facing School Districts since the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, are as follows:
1. The law waives the 180 day requirement for public schools.
2. The Secretary of Education is authorized to increase the number of flexible instruction days to a number to be determined by the Secretary, and waive the application deadline.
3. The law addresses a major question related to school support staff affected by the closure, mandating that all school employees (professional and non-professional) receive the same amount of compensation as they would have had the closures not occurred.
4. The law further states that no employee shall receive more or less PSERS service credit, nor contribute more or less to PSERS than they would have but for the closure.
5. All School entities must provide recommended cleaning materials and protective equipment to any individual performing cleaning services in the school.
6. All School entities shall, in good faith, prepare a continuity of education plan to offer further educational services to students.
7. No School entity shall receive any less money from PDE than they would have but for the shutdown.
8. All school must provide notice to the parents or guardians of special education students of the school district’s plan for ensuring FAPE.
9. The law guarantees transportation subsidies shall remain the same as they were prior to the shutdown.
Our office will continue to provide guidance on new developments as legislation is passed in response to the Coronavirus.