Reps. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) and Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Franklin/Fulton) joined together to unveil two pieces of legislation that will impact sports, extracurricular activities and educational opportunities for students during the upcoming 2020-21 school year.
Last week, the Wolf Administration announced they recommend there be no high school sports until Jan. 1, 2021. This response came as a shock to everyone, including PIAA officials who had already made the determination to move forward with school sports in the fall. Reese and Topper said the recommendation to stop school sports until January was issued without evidence, science or data to back it up.
With the 2020-21 school year rapidly approaching and guidance from the administration continuing to change, the pair said students, parents and communities need clear and transparent direction for how extracurricular activities will occur in the fall without worrying that the guidance will change at any minute.
Reese’s legislation, House Bill 2787, would allow Pennsylvania’s local school districts to make decisions regarding fall sports and activities.
“The governor’s announcement to stop all high school sports until Jan. 1 came as a complete shock to students, parents and even PIAA officials,” said Reese. “Why now, right before the academic year begins, are schools not able to make their own decisions about sports? Will similar announcements be forthcoming regarding other extracurricular activities? These should be local decisions driven by local circumstances and included in each school’s athletic, health and safety plan.”
Topper’s legislation, House Bill 2788, will allow students and families to have the option to continue the student’s education and extracurricular activities for an additional year to make up for the loss of instruction and competition during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.
“We must provide options for our students and their families who have already been robbed of so much,” Topper said. “Students in Pennsylvania must have access to exceptional educational opportunities and if they don’t, then we’re simply not doing our job.”
The bills will go to the House Education Committee for consideration.