Pa. DHS issues guidelines for supervision of learning groups

Students in a computer class.
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"Parent or guardian oversight is key to our definition of a pod,” she said. 

In these cases, DHS has laid out regulations for 12 or more children of the same age group and guidelines for smaller groups.

"What we don't want are parents quitting their job to stay home with their school-aged children,” she explained. 

Miller stresses their priority is health and safety, saying that pods need to have a COVID-19 safety and health plan that line up with CDC and DHS guidelines 

Pod supervisors are mandated reporters for suspected child abuse, and she added anyone responsible for the group should get a background check.

“Pods also need a plan to address response, evacuation and family notification in the event of an emergency,” she said.

And Miller said in response to a growing need for childcare, the DHS has also eased restrictions of paid childcare regulations for school-aged children.

"We don't require your child's weeklong basketball camp coordinator to register as a licensed childcare program. So in this new normal, what we've done is waive the 90-day limit on these types of programs so they can continue to operate throughout the school year and provide quality child care that families desperately need,” she said.