Pennsylvania Reminds Parents That Learning Pods Must Have an Evacuation Plan
Pennsylvania parents thinking of starting a learning pod for their children should prepare to jump through quite a few bureaucratic hoops.
The state Department of Human Services’ Office of Child Development and Early Learning announced on August 26—the day school was set to begin—that families with kids attending public school cannot form a learning pod of six or more unrelated students unless the parents do all of the following:
1. Develop a COVID-19 health and safety plan that aligns with with state and CDC guidelines.
2. Develop an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.
3. Check with local zoning zoning ordinances in case residential childcare is prohibited.
4. Ensure that every space where the pod gathers has a functional fire detection system.
5. Ensure compliance with child protective services, and make sure anyone working with or supervising children undergoes a background check.
6. Make clear to all adults in the pod who supervise children that they are mandatory child abuse reporters and must alert the authorities if they suspect anything is amiss.
7. Fill out the department’s online forms, which state that in the event of an investigation, parents must “provide access to DHS personnel who arrive at the service location and present a Commonwealth-issued ID badge.”
Surely it’s a snap for you to develop a health and safety plan aligned with CDC guidelines? Here they are. Note, for instance, on page 10, that if one of the kids tests positive for COVID-19, your job would then be to “determine if,
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