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Gov. Wolf Signs Act Permitting Students to Repeat Grade Level

The following message was sent to the entire district community on July 6, 2021:

Dear UPSD Community - 

I wanted to take this opportunity to pass along information that may be of interest to some of our families given the unique circumstances of the last school year.

On June 30, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 66 of 2021 into law. Act 66 permits students that were enrolled during the 2020-21 school year to repeat their grade level in an effort to make up for any lost educational opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even if the student met the requirements to be promoted to the next grade level. Based on this Act, parents/guardians and students, at or over the age of 18, have until July 15, 2021, to elect to have their child or themselves repeat a grade level for the 2021-22 school year.

Additionally, Act 66 permits a student with a disability who was enrolled during the 2020-21 school year and turned age 21 during the 2020-21 school year, or between the end of the 2020-21 and the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, to attend a school entity during the 2021-22 school year and receive services as outlined on their most recent Individualized Education Program (IEP) with all the protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

As an important reminder, if our administration, teachers and staff had any concerns about a student’s progress or retention over the past year, they would have already reached out to discuss those concerns. We know that some parents were interested in this opportunity based upon their student’s experience last school year, and the decision is one that needs to be thoughtfully made by each family. We are sharing the Act 66 information with all of our families at this time, so parents/guardians may make informed choices for their student(s) in regard to the coming school year.

As required by Act 66, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) developed and posted a standard form for parents/guardians to notify school entities of their child’s plan to remain in the school and/or current grade level for the 2021-22 school year. 

Parents/guardians or students (age 18+) who wish to take advantage of Act 66 must complete, sign, and submit the Act 66 of 2021 Student Grade Level Retainment Notification Form to the appropriate building principal on or before July 15, 2021. The form only needs to be completed and submitted to the school principal if you wish to repeat the 2020-21 grade level.  If you are moving onto the next grade level, no action or form is needed. 

Students 18 or older who plan to repeat a grade level during the 2021-22 school year must complete and submit the form themselves . For a student with a disability who turned 21 during the time periods listed above, both the parent/guardian and the student must complete the form. Forms are to be submitted to the building principal on or before July 15, 2021- they may not be submitted to PDE.

Guidance and answers to FAQs on Act 66 of 2021 is now available on PDE’s website. The Student Grade Level Retainment Form was also made available on PDE’s website beginning Tuesday, July 6, 2021. 

Questions about PIAA eligibility for middle school and high school students should be directed to the PIAA, as they govern the eligibility status for student athletes. The initial feedback  indicates that students who opt to repeat another grade of middle school or high school will NOT be granted an additional year of PIAA eligibility.  

Thanks for your continued cooperation, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your building principal with questions or concerns.

Dr. Allyn J. Roche
Superintendent of Schools