HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee is set to hold a hearing Thursday morning to discuss the impact Dept. of Health orders have had on schools. Four education professionals, including two superintendents are expected to testify.
In submitted written testimony, a Lancaster County superintendent is expected to criticize the DOH for its lack of communication with the district throughout the pandemic.
Hempfield School District Superintedent Michael Bromirski is set to testify at the hearing. In his testimony he writes his goal is to ensure all students across Pennsylvania have the opportunity to remain in school for in-person learning. He writes that there are significant concerns regarding the DOH's support for schools and says last year there were daily phone calls about everything from COVID case reports to PDE, but those calls have since stopped. He says his staff continues to go above and beyond, handling COVID issues he believes are not the job of the school district.
"I'm sharing this because I truly wonder if anyone, other than school staff, has a true picture of what we do daily because of COVID," Bromirski said. "This work is in addition to the time we need to focus on teaching and learning, facilities, general safety, or policy work, all of which demands additional time and accommodations by our staff due to COVID."
According to the Department of Education, in alignment with the requirements in 28 Pa. Code Title 28, Chapter 27, schools must:
- Report positive cases of COVID-19 to DOH for case investigation, contact tracing, and issuance of quarantine and/or isolation orders; and
- Exclude school children and staff from having contact with other school children or staff showing symptoms of a communicable disease.
Neither the Departments of Health or Education will testify at the hearing. It's unknown whether that is because they turned down an invitation to do so, or they were not invited.