Bucks County

‘Pod Learning' in Pennsylvania Comes With Rules

Parents of students who will be educated in home "pods" should know the rules for the COVID-19-based learning model, according to Pennsylvania officials

NBC Universal, Inc.

The "pod" has become a popular way for some school students in Pennsylvania to learn without the need to go into a school building during the first half of the 2020-2021 school year.

There are rules for the newfound, coronavirus-based learning model, state education officials say.

The first rule is that any pod with six or more students must register with the Department of Human Services' Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Deputy DHS Secretary Tracey Campanini said.

"We require informal tracking of provider information," Campanini told NBC10. "This is an unusual time. We want to help where possible guidance and emergency plan in the home."

In addition to the registration of a pod that includes at least six children, the state requires several safety plans. Those rules are found HERE.

For the latest information about how every school district in the Philadelphia region opened for class this month, take a look at NBC10's reopening map.

The state also recommends that parents who are overseeing pods in their homes contact local municipal permitting officials, as some local jurisdictions have restrictions on in-house child care.

State and local authorities say rules like fire alarms on every level of a house are mandatory.

Some parents did their research, like Natalie Coia of Yardley Borough in Bucks County. She said her four-child pod doesn't need to be registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

"I heard about it," Coia said of the state guidelines. "We kept the number small, my two and another two friends here."

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