Pennsbury School Board Responds After Rally, Prepares Phased Reopen Plan

A Pennsbury High School freshman student speaks to the crowd. She questions why she can work but not go to school. Photo by Rick Rickman.

The Pennsbury School Board announced it is crafting a phased reopen plan to conduct in-person learning earlier than 2021.

This comes less than a week after more than 100 protestors rallied outside of the Administration Building in Fallsington. Students and parents raised their voices to say virtual learning wasn’t working for them.

A Pennsbury protestor holds a sign saying, “Special Needs need special attention! Not Virtual Learning!” Photo by Rick Rickman.

The Pennsbury School Board approved the district’s current plan in mid-August. It involves students not returning to the classroom until February 2021.

There are no exceptions in the current plan for students with IEPs or 504 plans. Many of the parents and students at last Friday’s rally complained about students with special needs having a hard time adapting to remote learning.

School Board President T.R. Kannan sent a letter out to families Wednesday. He stated it was apparent the remote option was not working for some families.

“We recognize that everyone’s needs are different and have heard several concerns around social and emotional needs, financial burdens, and educational & developmental setbacks during the opening weeks of our remote learning program.”

To accommodate those families struggling with virtual education, the district is developing a new plan.

“Discussions are underway to prepare a plan for a phased reopening of schools earlier than scheduled. Initially, we will focus on specific specialized learning populations across the District, followed by our youngest learners.”

Kannan said the school board will share details of the plan with families in the coming weeks. The body will then vote on the final draft at their October 15 meeting.

Still, the board insists the health and safety of students remains a top priority. Kannan noted the district is operating based on “meeting specific thresholds.” To shed light on the process, he shared a chart from the PA Department of Education.