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Penn Hills School District

Update from the Superintendent - October 29, 2020

Good morning PH Families-
I am happy to report that our Board of School Directors has given our District Team authorization to start moving toward increased onsite instructional time for those families who want this option.  *Please allow me to be very clear, however, that any/all shifts will be contingent on local conditions, which will continue to be monitored very closely.
Given the hard work and dedication of ALL members of our PH Family, we have been able to control COVID-19 exposure in our schools to date; however, we fully recognize our continued vulnerability.  As of this morning, our District records reflect the following activity from March 13, 2020 to present:
  • CONFIRMED COVID-19 Cases involving a PHSD affiliate (student, employee, and/or volunteer):  6
    • 1 from July
    • 2 individuals who had not been onsite for 7 months prior to testing and who remain offsite
    • 2 individuals who do not have regular contact with students or instructional staff
    • 1 individual who had contact with a classroom
  • Out and Awaiting Test Results:  2
  • Known PHSD Affiliates Who have Tested and Received Negative Results:  28 *does not include individuals who tested multiple times in the same approximate timeframe
Specific to the case above that references contact with a classroom, eleven (11) individuals were notified as per our local protocols and in conjunction with Allegheny County Health Department consultation, and there have been no new cases reported since this time.  *Please trust that we will contact you if there's reason to believe your child might have been exposed to COVID-19 while at school.  We are following similar procedures with our staff.  If you happen to "hear" various accounts or claims through informal conversation, please help us to protect the privacy of those involved.  
As our organization plans for its latest shift, we are working behind the scenes to adjust current transportation and food service operations to accommodate planned changes.  To that end, each PH Family will be receiving updated transportation information within the next few days, as routes are being adjusted districtwide.  Bus stop locations are not expected to change, and most pick-up and drop-off times will change only minimally; however, vehicle assignments will be shifting to accommodate anticipated roster changes as we approach the second grading period and in support of planned shifts in onsite learning options.  Operationally, we expect to retain current daily practices in our schools that include only minimal movement outside the classroom for students in grades K-8 and continued consumption of breakfast and lunch in classrooms for grades K-12.  While we have no documented proof, it seems limiting student movement throughout the day has been key to COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Assuming local conditions remain stable, planned onsite learning shifts are as follows:
Monday, November 9:  Kindergarten will move to a 4-day (M, T, R, and F) hybrid option.  The 2-day hybrid option will be dissolved.
Tuesday, December 1:  Grades 1, 6, 7, 8, 11 and 12 are expected to move to a 4-day (M, T, R, and F) hybrid option.  The 2-day hybrid option would be dissolved for students in these same grade levels.
Monday, January 4:  Grades 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, and 10 are expected to move to a 4-day (M, T, R, and F) hybrid option.  The 2-day hybrid option would be dissolved for students in these same grade levels.
*Please allow me to stress again that shifts will only be made if local conditions remain stable.  If we can manage these shifts with minimal negative health impact, it is possible that we might be able to offer a 5-day onsite learning option as early as Tuesday, January 19; however, that is not etched in stone, and K-12 families would still have the option of 100% remote learning.
While we have a plan to increase time onsite for students, we remain mindful that we could be forced to shift to a 100% remote learning model at any time, if local conditions change.  *As a reminder, all K-12 students will be assigned 100% remote learning on Tuesday, November 3 to accommodate community voting in our schools.
Please expect that Principals and Counselors will continue reaching out ahead of November 9, December 1, January 4, and January 19 (planned shift dates) to confirm current family preferences as options change:  onsite or 100% remote.
I also ask all PH Families to follow safe practices during the upcoming holiday season.  PLEASE also continue keeping at home students who are exhibiting possible signs of COVID-19 exposure that include but are not limited to:  sore throat, fever, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, body aches, vomiting, or diarrhea.
I wish Everyone continued good health and encourage you to reach out to me directly should you have questions or concerns and/or if you need assistance.  
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