Now that we're about 3 weeks into our new school year, I wanted to provide another update. We just posted additional details as part of our latest PHSD Pandemic Update, which may be found on our District's website (www.phsd.k12.pa.us). A quick summary of COVID-19 cases confirmed since July 1, 2021 is as follows:
- Overall Known PHSD Cases: 38
- Known PHE Cases: 12
- Known Linton Cases: 3
- Known PHHS Cases: 19
- Known Other PHSD Cases: 4
*Please note that 6 of these known cases occurred prior to the start of school.
Based on these numbers, it seems clear our COVID-19 mitigation strategies are helping us to manage this pandemic. For that, we remain grateful; however, we continue to acknowledge and respect that not everyone in our extended school community shares the same view on the effectiveness of masks and/or vaccinations. Still, all stakeholders appear committed to preserving onsite learning options as best we can under these very difficult circumstances. I think most also agree that remote learning is a good fit for some students, but it is not a good fit for most students.
We appreciate the support we continue to receive from our families and staff and your willingness to keep in the home those who are manifesting COVID-related symptoms, including but not limited to: headache, fever, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, anything allergy-like, etc. For our families specifically, please trust that our staff will remain flexible and continue supporting your students when they return to school.
I also want to recognize the amazing character and attitude expressed on and off the field by both our Penn Hills HS and the Woodland Hills HS football teams last Friday night. Again, while modified operations was not ideal, the players on both teams seemed to understand and appreciate the reason for the modifications. Similarly, I was equally impressed with the Senior Class representatives with whom I met this morning to discuss modified Homecoming activities. These student leaders demonstrated maturity beyond their years and became fully immersed in creative conversations about alternate activities that will ensure fun but also help us contain the spread of COVID-19 within our community.
Unfortunately, a positive attitude, hopeful spirit, and safe practices cannot cure all present challenges and those to come. Transportation operations continue to be affected by the ongoing driver shortage, which is further exacerbated by necessary policies that require employees with the above symptoms to remain in the home, and now, we are being cautioned that cafeteria operations may be further affected by product shortages that are becoming more and more common across the US. While I have no magic wand and cannot promise that things will settle down any time soon, I maintain faith in our PH community and in our PH workforce. I sincerely believe our exceptional strength, courage and resilience will continue to get us through.