December 3, 2020
The District was notified today of several additional positive COVID-19 cases, all regarding staff: one probable positive at Horace Mann, one confirmed case at the Junior High, and three positive cases at the Senior High. It is our understanding that since the confirmed cases occurred over the closure, no additional staff/students will need to be quarantined.
As of today, we are still planning to return to in-person learning on December 7 as previously communicated. We will continue to monitor the situation and make families aware of any changes. Additionally, on Monday, November 30, 2020, the IASD Board of Directors authorized the Board President and me to sign an attestation and submit it to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The signed attestation is accessible via the District website. You can click here to review a FAQ page from the Department of Education to learn more about the attestation and other frequently asked questions. This signed attestation will allow us to return to in-person instruction while in the “substantial” category by agreeing to adhere to the following:
- The Department of Health’s extended facial covering mandate.
- Closure of school(s) based on the number of cases we encounter by the individual school.
The good news is that our current Health and Safety Plan that was approved in September is already in alignment with the Commonwealth’s expectations. In fact, our plan is more conservative in nature and will stay that way, as I see no reason to lessen our procedures during the height of the pandemic. Additionally, we will continue to adhere to the social distancing procedures we have already implemented in our classrooms.
I want to prepare families for possible additional closures based on the number of cases, by building, the District encounters. Additionally, our ability to remain open also depends on our ability to staff our classrooms. Closures could occur as a result of our inability to staff our buildings due to sickness. As of now, we are not at that point and I am extremely blessed to have an amazing group of educators, school nurses, and support staff. They have worked relentlessly to do all they can to support our families during these turbulent times.
As per the Department of Education, there are no exceptions to closing; however, we do have some ability to implement a phased reopening and we have done that already. My goal is not to upset you or cause panic; rather, my intent is to be clear that by reopening and signing the attestation, it is inevitable we will encounter more cases and this could result in additional closures. Failure to sign the attestation would have resulted in the District being 100% remote and the cancellation of all extracurricular activities. I fully expect a surge in cases as a result of the holiday season and continual increases in community spread numbers. Now, more than ever, your continued grace and compassion is needed.
Mr. Michael J. Vuckovich