All schools across Schuylkill County will be closed for at least two weeks starting Monday due to the threat of COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
This applies to all public and private schools.
The unprecedented move was announced Friday afternoon as schools closed for the weekend. The move was taken at the order of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
“The health, safety and security of our students and staff are our highest priorities. We take very seriously our role in the protection of our most precious people. It is my hope that you believe in our commitment to your child and the well-being of all in our school community,” Pottsville Superintendent Jeffrey Zwiebel writes in a letter to parents in his district.
That letter appears to be a template sent by all public school superintendents in Schuylkill County.
Further, Catholic schools in the Allentown Diocese took similar measures Friday.
In a message to parents and staff, it reads:
“After ten business days, the situation with the pandemic will be re-evaluated. Diocesan schools will be receiving further guidance regarding a number of issues over the next few days.”
This move appears purely preventative locally. As of Friday at 4 p.m., there are 0 presumed positive cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in Schuylkill County or any neighboring counties.
Schuylkill County Schools Closing for 2 Weeks on Coronavirus Fears
According to the letter, this is the plan for schools across Schuylkill County. It appears every school received the same letter to send home to parents.
Here’s what you need to know:
- All schools are closed between March 16-29. School tentatively resumes on March 30.
- No one will be allowed inside school buildings during the time they’re closed.
- Once schools are closed, they’ll be cleaned and then locked up.
- No school events will happen between March 16-29. Some will be postponed, others cancelled entirely.
- Make-up days: Any days previously scheduled to be closed around Easter will now be make-up days. Any other days needed to be made up will happen at the regularly scheduled end of the 2019-20 school term.
Students and staff were instructed Friday to remove all class materials: textbooks, workbooks, and technology (if applicable).
“These items will only be expected to be used if the closure persists longer than two weeks,” the letter reads.
Further, students are advised to practice the following safe habits during the two-week break to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus:
- Don’t leave home regularly
- Avoid travel
“Please know that this decision does not come without knowledge of the disruption this causes for our students, staff and families. It has not been taken lightly. We recognize the burden this places on families. We are also saddened with the possible opportunities that are lost because of the closure. It is only because of the possible health risks to so many that this decision, while difficult, is being made. None of us want to be the one whose child is sick or whose grandparent becomes gravely ill. Mitigating the number infected is our main goal.” the letters read.
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- SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus in Schuylkill County