Below are some important Harrisburg updates that may be helpful to you.
As we head into the final weeks of August, it’s no surprise that this week was another one with only a small amount of activity in Harrisburg. As to be expected, the noteworthy events that took place this past week were COVID-19 related, particularly when it comes to returning to school and participation in athletics.
First, the Department of Agriculture announced this week that the 2021 Farm Show will be held virtually, and not in the Farm Show Complex. This would mark the first time in the 104 year history of the Farm Show that the event hasn’t been held in Harrisburg, and has certainly been a sign of the times. While it seems early to make this determination, I hope we can find an adequate replacement to showcase all of the positives that our agricultural community brings to Pennsylvania.
On the subject of returning to school, the House and Senate Education Committees had a joint hearing to examine the guidelines and processes by which schools will be operating in the fall and their effect on parents, families and teachers. Among the topics discussed were how the lack of in-person education can affect a child, particularly in terms of mental health and other services, teacher shortages, and school district liability. It was certainly the most comprehensive hearing so far, and is definitely worth a watch.
Along these same lines, and informed by some of the information obtained over the past couple of hearings, the House Education Committee held a voting meeting on Thursday in which they advanced three pieces of legislation:
- House Bill 2787 Authorizes a school entity to determine whether to hold sports and other extracurricular activities in-person and whether to allow spectators.
- House Bill 2788 Allows a parent to elect to have a child in a public or non-public school repeat a grade, including all academic and extracurricular activities.
- Senate Bill 1216 Authorizes the Secretary of Education to address disruptions to teacher training and certification caused by the COVID-19 disaster emergency.
Finally, the Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee heard testimony on resuming school sports safely, and the hearing with additional information can be viewed in its entirety here.
I encourage you to continue to stay calm and safe in whichever way you can as we ride this out together. I have been sending out newsletters almost daily with the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 with specific information related to our area. If you’re interested, you can sign up to receive these newsletters on my website, senatormensch.com. You can also keep an eye on my website for news releases, email me with questions or concerns, or find contact information for my district offices which you can get in touch with if you need anything.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 215-541-2388.
Senator Bob Mensch
24th Senatorial District