Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera said Monday, the state “fully intends” to reopen public schools in the fall.
Still, Rivera noted, “We’re looking at the best-case scenario, but we’re also preparing for the worst-case scenario. We are closely watching the data to ensure the safety of all students and staff.”
During a Senate education committee hearing, called specifically to address the critical and controversial issue of school reopening, Rivera said, “It’s fully our intent that we’re going to be in a place where we are going to open schools for students in the next academic year.”
Rivera came under harsh criticism last week from Pennsylvania State House Speaker Rep. Mike Turzai, (R-28). A strong advocate of opening schools in September, he told Rivera, “Instead of providing direction and even hope, your statements are fostering depression, anxiety and hopelessness. That is not the way to govern and lead.”
The Republican chairman of the Senate’s education committee, Wayne Langerholc, said it’s imperative the state begins planning for reopening schools, as people prepare to return to work.
He called for “a path forward” to address “the thousands of parents across this commonwealth who are yearning for guidance, for hope, for a return to education for their children.”
Responding to questions about what standards the state will provide Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts going forward, Rivera said that will be a challenge.
“I can’t imagine that we would have a structure in place to mandate one strategy to all school districts across the commonwealth.”