Nineteen states have or are currently considering legislation or regulations that would further restrict learning pods. The restrictions range from annoying to prohibitive—but each additional regulation limits parents’ ability to educate their children as they see fit. Lawmakers must ensure that these burdensome requirements do not encroach on their states, or parents’ ability to easily and freely educate their children.
Some states require permission from the government to form learning pods:
- Florida—In Broward County, the nation’s sixth-largest school district, families are required to obtain a license if they want to form a pod.
- Pennsylvania—Parent-led learning pods are considered “non-licensed part-day school-aged childcare.” Families must notify the agency before creating a learning pod for more than six school-age children.
- South Carolina—Learning pods are required to be licensed. Families must cease operation if they are found to be operating an unlicensed learning pod.
Others have specific rules on how learning pods may operate:
- Michigan—Strict rules govern what rooms and locations can be used for what purpose, preschools are required to obtain an additional license to operate as a pod during the school day, and pods must adhere to strict teacher-to-pupil ratio requirements regardless of what parents and families want.
- Oregon—If families decide to form a learning pod without parental supervision (for example, pooling resources to hire a teacher or tutor to run the learning pod), the state will require the learning pod to register as a childcare center and follow all applicable regulations.
- Texas—In Austin, anyone hosting a learning pod—even one run in someone’s home—must have a detailed health and safety plan, including at-home symptom screening, face covering requirements, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection procedures, and a plan for “meals and snacks.”
- Virginia—In Fairfax County, public school officials issued a notice to district teachers saying they “cannot tutor children for private compensation if the same children are receiving instruction from them in Fairfax County Public Schools.”
And some states require learning pods to be classified as private schools:
- North Carolina—A homeschool arrangement cannot be larger than two families, or it is considered a private school. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services requires that learning pods obtain a license to provide childcare to school-age children, unless they are contracting with a public school.
- Washington—Parent-led learning pods do not qualify as home schooling, since the parents aren’t all staying on site. If children are dropped off at a location, the learning pod is considered an unapproved private school until the learning pod gets state approval.
States considering further restrictions on learning pods:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
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