Coronavirus - April 23 Update #9

Coronavirus - April 23 Update #9
Posted on 04/23/2020

I hope this communication finds all of you in continued good health and remaining safe during this ongoing crisis. It goes without saying this crisis has presented us all with challenges that we could have never imagined. Nonetheless, we are committed to helping each other work our way through this crisis and remain confident in our distance education program that we have been operating over the past few weeks. Additionally, we will continue to work toward improving our distance education program, and we will rely on your feedback to make sure our program continues to evolve, with the goal of meeting our students’ needs.

One of the methods we are using to gather your feedback is a district survey tool. The survey, located at the following link is designed to gather feedback on a variety of topics that include the amount of work being assigned to our students, ongoing access to technology and interaction between our students and their teachers. We understand the responses will be very different for students depending on their grade level. Therefore, you will notice some of the questions in the survey are specific to grade levels. If you have students in multiple grades, we ask that you take time to complete the questions that are specific to your student’s grade level. We know this is an additional demand on your time, but we want to state the high value of this information and how it will assist us as we look to improve our program. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Another message we have heard from our parents is the amount of communication you are receiving as a result of this program change. We believe the information is useful, as indicated by our families, and we are also aware it is quite abundant. In an attempt to continue providing information to all of you, and to make it more convenient for our families to access, our district has created a website dedicated to sharing information about our program. The website will be updated on a regular basis by the district administrators. Please be sure to visit the website for regular updates. This will be the main mode of communication, exclusive of a weekly communication from me and those communications by the teachers of your students.

I would like to take a moment in this communication to ask you join me in extending our personal thanks to our dedicated food service employees who have worked to provide student lunches during this closure. They are a wonderful group of people who maintain their commitment to our families and remain positive during these challenging times. I know they mean so much too so many, and I know we are all so grateful for their dedication and hard work. The lunch schedule utilized over the past several weeks will be maintained for the upcoming week. Lunch distribution will continue on Monday, April 27, 2020, Wednesday, April 29, 2020 and Friday, May 1, 2020, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

In our district’s previous communication with our families, we shared our administration would be working on developing a schedule for students to enter the buildings to retrieve any remaining belongings. After several conversations and considering the safety of our students and our staff, we have developed a tentative schedule for our buildings. If any of the proposed schedules is in conflict with your availability, please contact the building principal and they will work with you to schedule an alternative time. All relevant CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines will be followed during these pickups. The proposed schedule is as follows:

South Western High School – students will be able to enter the building, in a limited number, on the following dates: May 21, May 22, May 26 and May 27. High school locker cleanout will be done alphabetically on the listed dates from 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM. A schedule with the alphabetic breakdown for each day will be emailed out to students on Friday, April 24th. Students will also be asked to return any district owned property (i.e. textbooks) to the administrators who are present during their scheduled time. *HS Seniors will be asked to return their district issued technology equipment when they turn in all other materials.

EHMIS – Students will be permitted to enter the building over the course of several evenings and weekends beginning early to mid-May. The purpose of having students enter the building during the evenings and weekends will be to limit the exposure of our students to the building which remains an active construction site. EHMIS administration will also post a schedule of student pick up times by the first week of May to the distance learning website. Students will also be asked to return any district owned property during these scheduled times. * Eighth grade students will be asked to return their district issued technology equipment at a later date. The anticipated return date of this equipment will be in the first week of June. A more specific schedule will be posted to the distance learning website as soon as it is developed. Please note there will not be any construction workers present during the times students will be picking up their materials.

Elementary Schools – students will be permitted to pick up their belongings beginning the week of June 1, 2020. Like the other buildings, the elementary administrators will post a pickup schedule for our elementary students and their families to the distance learning website in the next several weeks. Once the schedule is posted, you will be contacted via email to ask you to visit the website for the specifics of the schedule. As we continue to follow all CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines during this closure, we are working to limit the exposure of our employees. We continue to operate under the Stay at Home orders from Governor Wolf. Therefore, we are limiting the operational hours of our district and building offices. The physical offices are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM – 2 PM. (Elementary Offices are open on a rotating basis so please call the office to make sure it is open prior to your arrival.) If you have an urgent need to come to a building office, we are following the PA Dept. of Health mandate requiring all visitors to wear a mask. District employees will also be wearing a mask. Again, we ask that our families only come to the office in the event of an urgent need. Furthermore, we ask you to contact the office to inform the staff of your visit. Please rest assured our office staff and administrators are available each weekday during normal business hours (8:00 AM – 4:00 PM) via email and phone calls to respond to any concern or question our families and/or community members may have for us.

As most of our community knows, our district started a major renovation of EHMIS this school year. For the past several weeks the construction site has been shut down as a result of the crisis. Recently the site has been permitted to reopen under the Governor’s orders and we have restarted the construction process. Our district administration has been in contact with the construction companies to review protocols being used to follow all CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines. In addition to maintaining strict protocols, we have isolated the areas under construction and reduced, if not eliminated, the opportunity for inadvertent interactions between the construction crews and district personnel in the
building. The district will continue to work with the construction companies to ensure the safety of all personnel on site.

The final piece of information we want to share in this communication is related to kindergarten registration. Parents that have already submitted the online registration form will receive a phone call to complete the data submission and verification part of the registration process. The data submission and verification process will enable the district to plan for classroom staffing and bus routes. Academic screening will be completed at a future date to be determined. Additional information and updates about registration will be posted on the district website and social media. If you know of any families who will be registering a kindergarten student for the 2020-2021 school year, please encourage them to contact Mrs. Lisa Duke, Registrar as soon as possible. We also encourage you to visit the District Registration website and to follow social media, Facebook and Twitter.

In closing, our district appreciates all of your support and commitment to our students. We wish you all the very best during this time, and as always, please stay safe and healthy.


Jay H. Burkhart, D.Ed.
Superintendent of Schools

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