JULY 8, 2020 (posted at 5:20 p.m.)
The Elizabethtown Area School District will be seeking board approval of our proposed state-mandated Health and Safety Reopening Plan at a special meeting on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at 6 p.m. The school directors are expected to vote on a final plan at this special meeting. CLICK HERE for meeting details.
Given the significance of this unprecedented plan, we are sharing, as far in advance as possible, our proposed draft with our community to review prior to this meeting (see link below). The plan is in the template format provided by the state. The content of our plan was developed using input from our stakeholders including parents, guardians, community partners, our school physician, and employees, as well as guidance and direction from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Governor.
The overarching goal of the Health and Safety plan is to ensure safety measures, protocols, and the Governor’s orders are in place to protect our students, school staff, and broader community this upcoming school year. Our Health and Safety plan is designed to reduce COVID-19 transmission in the school setting and includes the following:
- Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting, and Ventilation: Healthy hygiene practices and increased cleaning protocols will be implemented frequently throughout the day. This includes increased availability of hand sanitizer for all learning spaces that do not have sinks.
- Physical/Social Distancing and Other Safety Protocols: As per the Governor’s July 1st orders, self-provided face coverings will be required of students and staff when physical distancing is unable to be maintained. To the extent possible, bell schedules will be adjusted, arrival/ dismissal times will be altered and traffic flow within the building will be controlled to prevent larger gatherings. Larger spaces within the building may be utilized as instructional spaces to maintain physical distancing. In some instances, students will remain in classrooms and staff will move to limit student cohort movement.
- Monitoring Student and Staff Health: Self screenings will be completed at home, prior to school and work, for all students and employees. Anyone exhibiting any symptoms of COVID 19, diagnosed and/or exposed to COVID 19 or is feeling ill in general, should remain at home. Additional protocols will be in place for students and/or employees who exhibit symptoms during the school/workday. Visitors, volunteers, and the public will be restricted in order to maintain the health and safety of our students and employees.
- Health and Safety Plan Professional Development: Ongoing training and/or communication will be provided to students, staff, and families on ways to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- Other Considerations for Students and Staff: If utilizing district-provided transportation, self-provided face coverings, adhering to the Governor’s orders, will be required. Students will be assigned two to a seat, paired with siblings if possible.
With the health and safety plan protocols in place, we plan to return to in-person instruction for the start of school on August 31, 2020, as we strongly believe in the rich and dynamic learning environments our classrooms provide. However, as the health pandemic continues, we recognize not all students and families may be comfortable returning to school. That is certainly understandable and a decision each family will need to make. For families who are not ready to return to this environment, we will have a robust, graded, online learning program available. Additional communication will be provided on this option late next week. Regardless of which option families select for their children, we are committed to offering every student a quality educational experience.
Over the next several weeks, we will continue to refine the specifics of Teaching and Learning; Equity and Access; and Social and Emotional Learning in relation to our reopening plans. Again, we recognize that no one plan will appeal to everyone. We will continue to develop plans based upon the most recent guidance from state and federal levels; provide families options based on their unique circumstances, protect our students and staff to the extent possible, and are flexible to adapt to changing conditions in the local community, state, and country.
Please visit our EASD Reopening Center on the District website (www.etownshools.org) often for updates
Michele M. Balliet, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
PLEASE NOTE: Following the initial release of the Proposed Health & Safety Plan, the following language was added under the Other Considerations for Students and Staff section in both the Summary and Action Steps sections:
- Students with complex needs or other vulnerable individuals will have specific plans to address safety protocols and procedures; it is understood that these plans must be individualized and comprehensive in order to mitigate risks for students and staff. A full continuum of services will remain available for students who have complex needs, including instruction at home.
- Staff with a high risk of severe illness will work with our Department of Human Resources to create a plan to maximize their safety.