Mar. 01, 2021 / Newspaper Columns

By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)

The House Education Committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives met last week to discuss the ongoing challenges facing schools and students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first hearing focused on elementary and secondary education, while the second hearing highlighted the challenges for higher education.

Getting students back in the classroom full-time statewide and finding ways to help students whose learning has been hindered due to online schooling was the primary focus of discussion. The importance of in-person instruction and peer interactions to support students’ mental and emotional health needs was emphasized, as was the need for remedial education, especially for students in early elementary grades.

The importance of access to the vaccine for teachers was also discussed. State Department of Education officials also updated lawmakers on extending the window for conducting annual assessment exams after the U.S. Department of Education announced it won’t waive the requirements this year.

For higher education, lawmakers expressed concerns about students entering college after the added educational challenges they faced during their senior year, as well as students preparing to leave college now without the full experience they expected when they enrolled. Higher education costs and financial aid were also discussed.

Both hearings can be viewed in their entirety at

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
717-260-6136 /