Penn-Trafford Announces Reopening Plans
[Harrison City, PA, June 16, 2020] The Penn-Trafford School District (PTSD) has announced tentative plans for the reopening of school and athletic programs for the 2020-2021 school year. PTSD formed a Pandemic Team as well as an Athletic Task Force to carefully review the precautions and recommendations issued by federal, state, and local governments, CDC, PA Department of Health, as well as the NFHS and PIAA. PTSD realizes that the knowledge regarding COVID-19 is constantly changing as new information and treatments become available. These reopening plans may be adjusted as new information becomes available, in order to decrease the risk of exposure for our staff and students.
Return to School Plan
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is requiring every school district in the state to develop and approve a Health and Safety Plan before school can reopen in August. It has provided schools with four types of reopening to choose from:
Option 1: Total reopen for all students and staff (but some students/families opt for distance learning out of safety/health concern).
Option 2: Scaffolded reopening in which some students are engaged in in-person learning, while others are distance learning (i.e., some grade levels in-person, other grade levels remote learning).
Option 3: Blended reopening that balances in-person learning and remote learning for all students (i.e., alternating days or weeks).
Option 4: Total remote learning for all students. (Plan should reflect future action steps to be implemented and conditions that would prompt the decision as to when schools will re-open for in-person learning).
A recent survey by the district indicated that 87% of Penn-Trafford parents want to fully send their child(ren) back to school. With that being said, the Penn-Trafford School District Pandemic Team is currently working on a Health and Safety plan to implement the above “Option 1” and fully open all schools in August with normal schedules. This plan will incorporate as many guidelines as practicable that have been recommended by PDE and the CDC. Alternative distance learning from each student’s teachers will be an option for those who wish to keep their child at home for health or safety reasons. In this scenario, students would follow their normal PTSD class schedule in a remote format. Parents also have the option to enroll their child in other remote learning platforms such as the PTSD online eAcademy program, an outside cyber school program or homeschool. The district will send out one more survey prior to board approval to gather parent input during plan development. The plan is scheduled for approval at a special school board meeting on June 29, 2020 based on input from all stakeholders. Once approved, the plan will be posted on the district website (www.penntrafford.org) and the district will be permitted to resume all activities effective July 1, 2020.
Return to Athletics Plan
Kerry Hetrick (Athletic Director) presented the district’s Athletic Health and Safety Plan – as mandated by Governor Wolfe – at the June 15 school board meeting. The PTSD school board approved the plan, which permits off-season conditioning for fall sports to begin on June 22, 2020 (winter and spring sports teams would begin in subsequent weeks). The plan includes the following provisions (further details are available at www.ptwarriors.org):
- Prior to participating in any PTSD athletics, students must file all appropriate waivers and parent permissions.
- Each athletic team will have an individualized plan detailing how it will comply with the overall district plan in each of three phases.
- Coaches and athletes will be screened for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to all workouts. This will include a temperature check and screening questions for each participant.
- Any athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days and will need a clearance by a health care professional before returning to athletics.
- Coaches will enforce state and local limitations on gatherings. In the initial phase, the limit is 50 athletes for outdoor sports (no more than 10 per group) and 10 athletes for indoor sports (no more than 5 per group). These limits will increase in the second and third phases.
- Cleaning schedules have been implemented for all athletic facilities to mitigate any communicable disease (Infectious Disease Recommendations were already in place).
- Athletic equipment will be cleaned intermittently during practice.
- Students must bring their own water bottle; hydration stations will not be available.
Public Use of Facilities
Beginning on Monday, June 22, the Penn-Trafford tracks, tennis courts and fields (with the exception of the high school baseball and high school softball field and all playgrounds which will remain closed) will reopen to the public for recreation and fitness use. Per district policy, facilities will be off-limits to the public while they are in use by students for athletic practices. A schedule of team practices will be posted on the athletic website under the MORE tab. (Warrior Stadium Schedule) (www.ptwarriors.org).