July 19, 2021
Dear Students, Parents, Family Members, Staff members and Friends,
As the pandemic recedes and life begins to look more and more normal, we are looking forward to getting back to school as it used to be. We just received a letter from Noe Ortega, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, indicating that the Department of Education and the Department of Health will not be providing guidance to schools regarding their school reopening plans. They have decided to allow local officials to make decisions based on the current circumstances in their districts. We welcome this decision. We have always believed that we should make decisions based on what’s happening in our neighborhoods, rather than the infection rates in the big cities.
As of last Friday, the infection rates as measured by the Department of Health were low in Both Bedford and Huntingdon Counties. Accordingly, at this time we intend to fully open on August 23rd with no mask mandate in place. Of course, that is subject to change depending on circumstances on August 23rd, but we are very hopeful. If students or staff would like to wear masks, that is certainly an option. We will continue to keep some mitigation measures in place such as hand washing stations and keeping drinking fountains closed. We will also continue to keep students as socially distanced as possible in classrooms and continue to allow students to eat outside in nice weather.
We have no control over the vaccination rate or the infection rate. The new delta variant of the virus is very contagious and is spreading among those not vaccinated. I strongly urge everyone to get a COVID 19 vaccination. My sole reason for this plea is to help keep schools open. If you choose not to get the vaccination, I urge you to monitor your personal contacts and those of your loved ones. Please keep home from school students who are showing any symptoms or have a fever above 100.4. My hope is that we will have a normal year and soon the pandemic will be a memory.
Thank you for your help. I wish you and your family a happy and healthy summer.
Dr. Jerry Shoemake