Kids Can Repeat a Grade Due to Pandemic’s Impact on Education

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Members of the Saucon Valley High School Class of 2021 celebrate during their graduation exercises, which were held in the school district stadium June 4. Saucon Valley was one of the few districts in the Lehigh Valley that offered families a 5-day, in-person classroom option for students throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year.

If you feel your child’s education during the 2020-2021 school year was insufficient as a result of the coronavirus’s impact on education in Pennsylvania, a new law allows kids to voluntarily repeat a grade, but you’ll have to act fast if you want to take advantage of it.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 66 of 2021 into law on June 30. The new law permits students who were enrolled during the 2020-2021 school year to repeat their grade level in order to make up for any lost educational opportunities due to the pandemic, even if the student met the requirements to be promoted to the next grade level. Under the new law, parents or guardians as well as students who are 18 or older have until July 15, 2021, to elect to have their child or themselves repeat a grade level for the 2021-22 school year.

According to information shared by state Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18), who represents parts of Northampton County, Act 66 also permits students with disabilities who were enrolled and turned 21 during the 2020-21 school year–or who will turn 21 between the end of the 2020-21 and the beginning of the 2021-22 school years–to attend a school entity during the 2021-22 school year and receive services as outlined on their most recent Individualized Education Program (IEP), with all of the protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Under Act 66, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has developed and posted online a form for parents or guardians to notify school entities of their child’s plan to remain in their school and/or current grade level for the 2021-22 school year. The 2021 Student Grade Level Retainment Notification Form may be found here.

Boscola’s announcement noted that school districts are also being encouraged to post the form on their websites, along with instructions and an email address for parents or guardians to submit the form to the school.

For additional information about Act 66, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

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