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Lawmakers OK letting students repeat year because of COVID

June 24, 2021 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Lawmakers made a final vote Thursday to approve a bill to let parents decide whether to have their children repeat a year of school, a measure designed to help children catch up after a year of schooling disrupted by the pandemic.

The Senate voted 50-0 for the proposal, which also would permit students in special education to return for another year, even if they have reached the maximum age of 21.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has not taken a stand for or against the bill, although his office said Thursday there are concerns about about how it might affect schools’ finances, staffing and programming.

“We will review the bill when it gets to the desk,” said Wolf press secretary Lyndsay Kensinger.

Under the bill, parents would have to decide by July 15 whether their child should repeat a grade. Students would be able to participate in extracurricular activities but they would not get another year of eligibility to play sports if they have already maxxed out.

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Students who have reached age 18 would be able to make their own decision about whether to repeat a year.

“Some students have struggled, and it makes sense to give parents a stronger say in whether their child should advance to the next grade level or repeat a grade to make up for learning loss,” said the sponsor, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre.