Pennsylvania's teachers and students will be permitted to return to schools across the state as early as July 1, the state's Education Department announced on Wednesday.

The guidance says that schools in counties that have reached either the "green" or "yellow" phase of the state's coronavirus reopening play may reopen for in-person instruction on July 1.

As it stands now, by Friday (June 5), all of Pennsylvania will have at least entered the yellow phase of the state's reopening plan.

“Educators, students, and caregivers have done a remarkable job as we all navigate through this pandemic,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera “Now we need to direct our energy to focus on how to resume instruction in the 2020-21 school year."

This is not necessarily mean that schools will re-open for the upcoming year this summer, but it does allow schools to offer summer programming if they choose. Of course, some schools may use the summer months to implement plans for the 2020-2021 school year.

The schools will be required to develop health and safety plans based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state Department of Health (DOH), they say.

Officials released the initial guidance today so educators can begin to make their plans. All plans must be submitted to the education department. They also call for the district's plans for safety to be shared publicly with the school community.

You can view some of the guidance provided by clicking here.

They say that today's release provides the "preliminary guidance to aid in planning for a return to in-person instruction, delivery of services, and resumption of extracurricular activities.”

"We fully expect students to return to classrooms in some capacity and are confident that schools will use this guidance to build a framework that best meets the unique needs of their students and communities," Rivera said.

Higher education facilities (postsecondary) across the state are allowed to resume in-person instruction as early June 5, according to today's announcement.

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