Return to Full In-Person Classes at Pottsville Area Hinges on COVID Transmission Data
The chances of Pottsville Area School District returning to in-person classes 5 days a week any time soon seem unlikely.
The school’s pandemic planning team will meet on Thursday to discuss this possibility as well as how the 2020-2021 school term has started.
But until the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health says the “community spread” of COVID-19 in Schuylkill County is reduced, it seems unlikely Pottsville Area administrators will go against the state’s guidance.
Pottsville Area Unlikely to Return to Full In-Person Classes in Near Future
On Tuesday, interim Superintendent Jared Gerace informed Pottsville Area school board members that the state DOH still considers the community spread of the China virus to be moderate. Previous guidance from the DOH and the state Dept. of Education says local schools should consider either a hybrid — or as Pottsville calls it, “blended” — class schedule or go fully virtual.
The state has 3 classifications of the community spread of the virus, High, Moderate, or Low. The state says schools should only consider a full, 5-day class schedule for all students if the transmission rate is Low.
And it seems that’s what Pottsville Area is going to follow.
Gerace showed directors that Schuylkill County is currently in the Moderate category despite very low new case numbers being reported daily here.
The school district’s pandemic planning team will still consider the option and the parameters that might get the school back to a full in-person class schedule.
“We’re going to discuss the possibility of transitioning to full in-person instruction,” Gerace told board members Tuesday.
The acting Superintendent said that possibility will hinge on the school’s ability to provide its normal daily routine while promoting the “health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.”
Some of the logistics that need to be ironed out prior to a full reopening of the schools in Pottsville include:
- Food service
- Social distancing
“These conversations with our leadership happen daily,” Gerace said. “It is on the forefront of our mind.”
That meeting will also review the first few weeks of the new school year, including the good and bad of the first weeks of its blended reopening.
Some local school districts have reopened fully to start the 2020-2021 school year while others have chosen to go the route Pottsville chose. North Schuylkill School District has agreed to start phasing in a full reopening of its schools recently after starting with its own hybrid model.
There, students in lower grades are coming back to school full-time before students at the high school level.
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