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Penn Hills School District

Update from the Superintendent - August 13, 2020

Good morning.  Last evening, our Board of School Directors gave authorization to move forward with our proposed 20/21 School Opening Plan.  Please remain mindful that this document was approved for implementation and will be submitted later today to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE); however, the document must remain fluid and will be modified should conditions change.  An exact copy of what is submitted to PDE will be posted on our website (www.phsd.k12.pa.us) later today as well.
 
Last night's Board action will result in the following planned activities for students and staff in the Penn Hills School District:
 
Wednesday, August 19:  Instructional staff will report for duty, as planned, and continue preparations for the start of the new school year. 
 
Tuesday, September 8:  All PHSD students will begin formal instruction.  A two (2)- day onsite hybrid option will be offered to families who are interested in beginning the new school year with some level of onsite learning support.  A 100% remote option will remain available to families who wish to have their students continue their studies from home, with extended support being offered by PHSD instructional staff.  School-level teams will continue to contact individual families to confirm preferences to start the school year on September 8.
 
Conditions will continue to be monitored by PHSD officials and in consultation with local and county health experts.  Families and staff will continue to be apprised of any/all updates prior to September 8 (and after) that may be imposed by local, county, or state governing bodies and, thus, affect our ability to offer onsite instructional options.
 
As a reminder, all students and staff are expected to complete a daily wellness check prior to leaving the home.  ANYONE who is feeling ill and/or who appears to be displaying any of the known symptoms of COVID-19 exposure, including but not limited to:  a temperature over 100.4 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, chills, new lack of smell or taste, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or headache MUST STAY HOME and consult with his/her physician before returning.  
 
Last night, our Board of School Directors also approved contracted services with Mobile Health Services, a group that will provide credentialed health screeners for both students and staff at each of our three (3) schools as a supplement to daily wellness checks in the home.  Daily onsite screenings will be mandatory for students upon arrival at school and voluntary for staff.  Our Building Principals and School Nurses are reviewing the extent of services to be offered and how best to incorporate into their daily routines.
 
Any/all potential exposures to COVID-19 must be reported to a building-level School Nurse or Principal.  All reports (from students and/or staff) will be shared with the Allegheny County Health Department, and PHSD will continue to follow all next steps as directed by the Allegheny County Health Department.  
 
More information is forthcoming that will be building-specific and include transportation details (for those who opt for our hybrid learning pathway), along with next steps involved in Chromebook distribution.
 
We thank our extended school community for your ongoing support and patience as we continue navigating these very uncertain times.  As a reminder, all students and staff are under the face covering mandate issued by Governor Tom Wolf.  That mandate extends to travel on district-contracted vehicles, while onsite within the Penn Hills School District, and when participating in district-sponsored events.  As our School Opening Plan indicates, families and staff are advised to contact a building-level School Nurse or Principal to discuss medical conditions that may require accommodations.
 
We look forward to the start of the 20/21 school year.  Although the routine will be modified from what has been most familiar to all of us, WE remain committed to the spirit of "Virtually," anything is possible!!!
 
Sincerely,
Nancy
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