Governor Tom Wolfe signed Act 66 of 2021 into law on June 30, 2021. Act 66 allows students in Special Education who were enrolled during the 20-21 school year and have “aged-out” of school (by either turning 21 during the 20-21 school year or before the beginning of the 21-22 school year) to attend school during the 21-22 year and receive services as outlined on their most recent IEP.
These students are referred to as “staying an additional year.” Also, parents of children in K-12 can make the decision if they wish for their child to repeat a grade level. These provisions are to make up for any lost educational opportunities due to COVID-19 pandemic. This does not apply to preschool as preschool is not a grade level.
In the past, the decision to repeat a school year was made by the school districts and the teachers who were in consultation with the parents. However, as so many students were remote this year and saw their teacher only via a screen, it makes sense to have parents determine what is the best course of action for their child. For the students in Special Education, the last year of school is vital as it is when the students prepare to transition into the “real” world of employment. Certainly, with the goal to have the students experience success after school, this additional year should have positive outcomes for all.
Parents interested in reenrolling their child under the above options must submit the Act 66 of 2021 Student Grade Level Retainment Notification Form to their school district on or before July 15, 2021. Further guidance and the form can be found at: https://www.education.pa.gov/Schools/safeschools/emergencyplanning/COVID-19/SchoolReopeningGuidance/ReopeningPreKto12/Pages/Student-Grade-Level-Retainment-(Act-66).aspx