Pennsylvania Education Secretary: Schools may not open in fall

Local News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — More than a month into the statewide school closure, state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera says with current data, he doesn’t see schools reopening in the fall.

“We’re preparing for the best, but we’re planning for the worst,” Rivera said.

He said schools across the commonwealth have stepped up by providing continuity of education through online and print materials, as well as programming broadcast on public television.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to make sure that the health and welfare of our students is first and foremost, front and center,” Rivera said. “And we’re not going to allow and ask students to return to school in an unsafe environment.”

Rivera says the Department of Education is working with rural and urban schools in particular, where students may not have access to technology.

“One of the things we’ve been able to do in community like that is make our online portal content downloadable and some of our equity grants have actually gone to printing and shipping and delivery costs,” he said.

Rivera said the legislature and the governor are focused on getting schools the resources they need and the Department of Education is planning for all possibilities for next school year.

“We’re going to track the data and we’re going to hope for the best, but unless we can really work towards solving this pandemic and lessening the number of cases, there’s a chance that students may not return to school,” Rivera said.

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