The State Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would allow parents to choose to have their children repeat a grade level because of learning loss due to COVID-19 for the upcoming school year.
The decision on whether a student should repeat a year is currently made by schools and teachers.
“We thought this year because of the extraordinary year that it was with COVID, that decision should lie with the parents,” said Senate President Pro Tempore and author of Senate Bill 664 Jake Corman.
He said many parents have seen their children’s education hampered by the pandemic, when the nation pivoted to remote learning.
“This allows the parents, who know their children best, to ultimately make the decision whether their child is prepared to go to the next level or not,” Corman said. “And if not, [it’s] certainly understandable this year to be held back a year because of all of the extraordinary circumstances that went on this school year.”
The bill would only apply to the 2021-22 school year to address learning gaps related to the pandemic. It would also allow parents to enroll special education students in programs for an extra year.
The Arc of Centre County CEO Becky Cunningham said in a statement that the organization strongly supports the bill, adding it will “provide a lifelong benefit” for students with disabilities.
The bill was sent to the House for consideration. If passed, parents will have until July 15 to decide whether to have their kids repeat a year.