Dear Parents and Guardians,
The Tussey Mountain School Board met in a special session last evening. One of the main items on the short agenda was the approval of our Health & Safety Plan, which outlines our plans for returning to school in the fall. This plan was thoughtfully and carefully put together by a committee made up of administrators, school nurses, teachers, support staff members, parents, and board members over a three week period. A complete copy of this plan is available on our website.
We were charged by the Pennsylvania Department of Education with developing a plan for reopening that was flexible enough to allow us to respond to different threat levels based on local infection rates. I invite you to please take a look at this important document, but I’ll supply some highlights that I know are of great concern to many of you:
If we are still in the green phase when school opens on August 20th, we are planning a complete opening with some precautions. All schedules will remain the same. Masks will be optional for students and staff. We will attempt to social distance as much as possible, but it is impossible to keep six feet between younger children particularly, and we cannot guarantee social distancing especially on buses. Students will be asked to sanitize their hands frequently and will be permitted to bring bottled water to school. All water fountains will be closed. Our cleaning staff will be working to ensure our schools and all surfaces are regularly disinfected. We have used grant money to purchase four fogger/disinfectant units that will allow us to quickly disinfect whole classrooms and buses. We are still working to determine what breakfast and lunch will look like. The Department of Health will provide guidance as we get closer to opening. At a minimum we plan to offer bag lunches to be eaten in classrooms. Ideally, we will be able to serve hot food. We are also hoping to move some tables outside on nice days or come up with other creative ways to use our cafeteria without putting anyone at risk. Students whose parents are not comfortable with them returning to school may continue full time online learning.
Our plans are to move to a hybrid schedule if we are forced back into yellow. Students whose last names begin with A-J will be attending school on Monday and Tuesday. Students whose last names begin with K-Z will attend on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday and Saturdays will be disinfecting days. We hope to make it easier on families by bringing them into school together rather than bringing in students by grade level. This will ensure fewer students in each classroom and on each bus, allowing for social distancing. Days when students are not in school, they will be provided with online work. Students whose parents are not comfortable with them returning to school may continue full time online learning. Student and staff use of masks will be recommended. We will move to an extended lunch schedule to ensure social distancing. Students will eat lunch in their classrooms. Isolation rooms will be set up in case students become ill.
Schools close. Return to full time online learning for all students.
As you can see, we have tried to cover all contingencies. If you have questions or concerns about the plan, please first access the plan and read it fully. If you still have questions, please feel free to call us at 635-2975.
A BIG THANK YOU TO THE CLASS OF 2020
Also at last night’s board meeting, Emma Watkins. President of the Class of 2020, presented a gift to the district of $7,222.48 from the class to be used to completely upgrade and overhaul the sound system for the Dick Hess Memorial Field. The only stipulation is that Mr. Carrier must thank the Class of 2020 at each home football game. We sincerely thank this class who got so little for doing so much.
Please be safe and take care of one another.
Dr. Jerry Shoemake