HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The deadline looms in Pennsylvania for parents to decide if they want their children to repeat the school year after COVID-19 left many struggling with remote classes.

Lawmakers made a final vote in June to approve a bill to let parents decide whether to have their children repeat a year of school, a measure designed to help children catch up after a year of schooling disrupted by the pandemic. Governor Tom Wolf signed it into law June 30.

Act 66 will also permit students in special education to return for another year, even if they have reached the maximum age of 21. It passed PA Senate by a vote of 50-0

Under Act 66 parents have to decide by July 15 whether their child should repeat a grade. Students would be able to participate in extracurricular activities but they would not get another year of eligibility to play sports if they have already maxed out.

“As required by Act 66, PDE developed and posted on its website a standard form for parents, guardians, and students at or over the age of 18 to notify school entities of their plan to remain in the current grade level and/or school for the upcoming school year. The completed form must be signed and submitted to the student’s district and/or school by July 15, 2021.”

Students who have reached age 18 would be able to make their own decision about whether to repeat a year.

“Some students have struggled, and it makes sense to give parents a stronger say in whether their child should advance to the next grade level or repeat a grade to make up for learning loss,” said the sponsor, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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