(WEST CHESTER, March 23, 2020) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that Pennsylvania will be extending the order to close all schools by another two weeks and that Gov. Wolf ordered a “stay at home” order for Chester County and six additional counties in the Commonwealth.

The stay at home or “shelter in place” order, which compels residents to stay in their homes and limit movement, will begin at 8 p.m. today. Trips to the previously disclosed list of life-sustaining businesses – such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks – will still be allowed under the order. There will not be a curfew.

“An outbreak such as COVID-19 necessitates swift, strong, and deliberate action. This is a serious situation and we must take it seriously,” Dinniman said. “As the governor said, anyone can catch this virus and anyone can spread it. I fully support the administration’s efforts to address COVID-19. We must each do our part to protect our most vulnerable residents and slow the spread of this deadly virus.”

The “stay at home” order covers seven counties, Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Monroe, and Allegheny and is slated to last two weeks.

The two-week extension of statewide school closures means schools will now be closed through early April.

“I will continue to work with schools and school districts to help ensure that every student has the opportunity to be educated to the top of their potential under these challenge circumstances and an unprecedented emergency situation,” Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said.

The orders follow recent news that 165 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Pennsylvania, bringing the total up to 644.

Dinniman said the Senate will be in virtual session this week and the legislature is expected to act on a delay to Pennsylvania Primary Election and changes to the school code to support schools, teachers, and students during the prolonged closure.