January 6, 2021
Now that the holidays are over, I know that everyone is anxious to get back to school. We have been carefully monitoring infection levels in our own school community as well as the infections in the larger area with an eye to reopening on Monday, January 11th. After careful consideration and discussions with our medical personnel and advisors, we have decided to reopen both the elementary and middle/high school buildings on Monday January 11th in a hybrid model, which brings in half the school population for a week at a time. We have split our population in half and those groups are listed on the website. We have tried to keep all members of the same household in the same group, but if you find that isn’t the case, call our office, and we will make that change if possible. Hybrid weeks will run from Monday through Thursday with Friday being a virtual day to allow our cleaning crews to completely disinfect each building. We will begin with Group A on Monday, January 11th and continue with Group B on the following Tuesday, January 19th. We plan to limit this hybrid program’s length as much as the virus will allow.
In order to be allowed to open school at all during the most recent government lockdown, any school in Pennsylvania that wanted to open for students while the state risk level was substantial was required to agree to abide by the Governor’s newest masking mandate as well as state school closing guidelines. These guidelines set up a rigid system for school closures based on the amount of positive COVID cases in any school building during a 14 day period. State mandated closures can be from 3-5 days up to 14 days depending upon the number of positive cases. The agreement is posted on our website labeled Attestation Agreement if you would like a further look at the details. We chose the hybrid mode to start because we believe that it gives us the very best chance to open and stay open. Our hybrid program is defined and is available as the Health and Safety Plan posted on our website. We still do not know the full impact of holiday travel on our students because some people show symptoms later than others. We hope that by opening in a hybrid mode, we can limit students’ exposure more completely by ensuring social distancing on the bus, in the lunchroom, and in the classroom.
As we have stated all along, we believe that kids should be in school. We want our students back so they can begin their routines again and we can slowly get back to normal. We are going to start slowly with the hope that by doing this we can avoid stopping and starting, which is so disruptive for everyone. We ask for your continued patience as we begin the process of recovery. Hopefully, we will not be in the hybrid mode long. Please help us out by keeping sick students home and calling our nurses with any COVID family updates. I believe that by following this course of action and being prudent, we can give our seniors of the class of 2021 the best chance of a regular spring.
Dr. Jerry Shoemake