PA’s largest cyber charter school to resume classes amid coronavirus shutdown
Mar 16, 2020
The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School today announced it received clarification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education about providing its students with continuity in their education plans. PA Cyber will ensure social distancing for everyone involved in that process.
CEO, Brian Hayden, said the school, which serves approximately 10,000 students, will resume instruction, including live teaching and tutoring, Wednesday, March 18; the school has notified both students and families of this decision.
Hayden said he has received dozens of inquiries from students and parents asking why a cyber school is closing, especially as many traditional schools are switching to some version of online classes during their closure.
"I believe we are obligated to create some sense of normalcy for our students and our families, Hayden said. "We regularly argue that there are advantages to a cyber education; this is one of them."
"I appreciate the difficult challenges that this emergency has placed upon all Pennsylvanians and Americans, both at home and in the workplace," Hayden said. "At PA Cyber we are fortunate that our staff are able to work from home temporarily and with modifications."
The school closed upon Governor Tom Wolf's announcement last Friday that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for 10 business days effective today in order to ensure the health and safety of the commonwealth's students and school communities and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
From that time and throughout the weekend, Hayden said PA Cyber sought additional information from the PDE to better understand what that meant for the online school. He said both Gov. Wolf and Education Secretary Pedro Rivera suggested that cyber schools could continue to provide educational services, as long as they ensured social distancing and received permission from the department.
Hayden said the school's regional offices will remain closed and no activities, field trips, or other social and extracurricular activities will occur during this time. However, the school can continue to provide many support services to students and families, including tutoring, the student assistance program, and counseling.
"I am also aware that it is likely this two-week school closure may be extended; thus, we will reassess our plans for the remainder of the school year as new information becomes available," he said.
Casie Colalella / firstname.lastname@example.org
About PA Cyber
Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.