As TESD Plans to Reopen Schools, Will the Teachers Return to the Classroom or Is the Risk Too Great?

Next week, the community will learn the specifics of the reopening plan for the TESD schools. Scheduled for release the week of July 20 with school board vote to occur the following week, the public will have a short window to review and provide feedback on the proposed reopening plan.

In advance of the public release of the reopening plan, we learned that last week the District leadership held a meeting with a select group of parents. In my last blog post, some have taken issue with my interpretation of the meeting — by my calling it a “secret” meeting and attendees as “handpicked”.

For the record, I will stand on the words in my post, the meeting attendees were handpicked and individually invited; the criteria for selection unclear.  Because the administration and/or school board presented no notice of the reopening meeting, provided no public agenda and repeatedly asked attendees not to videotape and to keep information to private “is”, in my opinion, the hallmark of secrecy.

From a transparency and communication standpoint, wouldn’t it have made more sense for the District to videotape the parent reopening meeting and then provide the link on its website for all those interested?

Moving on … Coronavirus cases keep increasing at alarming rates across the country and this comes as our District is wrestling with “how” to reopen the schools. Making these decisions is not easy. There’s the issue of safety, and that’s complicated because students, teachers and parents all have different Covid-19 risk levels.  With the upcoming release of the District’s reopening plan, parents debate whether they send their children physically back to school or take the distance learning option.

Available medical research seems to indicate that students would be at lower risk than adults for serious health problems related to the coronavirus, leading to concern for the risk teachers would take returning to the classroom. Considering teacher safety (in addition to the students), especially those who are older, medically vulnerable or who may be afraid of putting a family member at risk must be another priority in school reopening discussion.

Did the District’s newly formed Pandemic Committee seek input from the teachers in drafting the reopening plan– were the teachers engaged in the process?  It is my understanding that two teachers were invited to the parent reopening meeting last week – unclear if they attended as TEEA (teachers union) representatives. Although I did not hear that these teachers participated in the reopening discussion, someone who attended the meeting did offer that other teaching staff (substitutes?) would be hired for the daily lunch period when schools reopen.

Has the District involved TEEA involved in the decision-making process for reopening? As preparation for the fall, was there online distance technology seminars held this summer for the teachers? In advance of the draft reopening plan announcement, did the administration schedule a special meeting for the teachers, similar as was held for the parents?

At the June school board meeting, the public learned that Dr. Chris Groppe was to head the TESD Pandemic Committee, part of the state required reopening process. Although the District’s announcement did not include the membership list of the committee, the additional eight members with their specific responsibilities, are as follows:

  • Jeanne Pocalycko, Personnel matters
  • Wendy Towle, Instructional plan development
  • Mike Szymendera, Technology implementation
  • Oscar Torres, Equity monitoring and liaison with families in need
  • Ellen Turk, School safety
  • Mark Cataldi, Liaison with principals and school board
  • Art McDonnell, Operations and facilities
  • Chris Connelly, Communications

We all know that reopening of schools is not simply a matter of turning a key. Will the District’s reopening plan next week include input from all stakeholders – the superintendent, administrators, Pandemic Committee, principals, teachers (and TEEA), school support staff (including TENIG), school board, parents, school nurses and psychologists and state health officials?

In closing, I saw the following posted on social media today – a thought-provoking list of questions as reopening plans develop with teachers returning to the classrooms. My understanding is the list was written by a teacher (and a parent) in Hawaii but is applicable everywhere.

  • If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19, are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?
  • If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?
  • Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids’ families need to get tested? Who pays for that?
  • What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?
  • Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?
  • Substitutes teach in multiple schools. What if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all the kids in each school now have to quarantine and get tested? Who is going to pay for that?
  • What if a student in your kid’s class tests positive? What if your kid tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Do we all get notified who is infected and when? Or because of HIPAA regulations are parents and teachers just going to get mysterious “may have been in contact” emails all year long?
  • What is this stress going to do to our teachers? How does it affect their health and well-being? How does it affect their ability to teach? How does it affect the quality of education they are able to provide? What is it going to do to our kids? What are the long-term effects of consistently being stressed out?
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  1. The Union Presidents and Union reps are talking to the Administration -and they should be- I bet on a daily basis. The question is, why the secrecy? Thats where the meat of the work is getting done, and students, parents and taxpayers won’t hear about it until the plans are finalized. They’ll then push it through, the Board will ask little to no questions, the Board will tell the Administration how great they are and the rest of us will be treated like second class citizens and after thoughts in a system that is designed by Administrators/Teachers, and for Administrators/teachers. Otherwise, why are decisions made behind closed doors with no stakeholder input?

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    Thug Life Reply:

    After years of getting, the union should finally give and stand down for the good of the community and kids. They won’t. They will milk this for all its worth and play selfish politics with this pandemic. It’s sad too because the member teachers (well, most) themselves are willing…their union bosses are the problem.

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  2. If as you say, the union and the administration are meeting, those closed door activities are not filtering down to the teacher level. My next door neighbor is a TE teacher and has no idea what is going on and I cannot believe that she’s the only one not in the loop!

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    Wonderings Reply:

    Berwyn Resident,

    Im sure teachers are included in the secret meetings and I’m sure like the hand picked parents, they are also hand picked and Administrator friendly.

    Each school has 1 or 2 union reps. They’re probably included and of course the two Presidents at CHS are attending and demanding every possible accommodation and consideration for teachers.

    If what I’m saying isn’t true, why aren’t the Administration and Board including parents, students and taxpayers in the process?

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  3. Well isn’t this the million dollar question — “was there online distance technology seminars held this summer for the teachers”! Maybe our family is in the minority but for us the spring distance learning program failed miserably. I would love to think that the administration and staff worked on improving the distance learning product this summer but I bet that didn’t happen. I would love to hear from TE teachers and if they will go back to the classrooms.

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  4. TE admin and Board can’t seem to understand how/why secrecy breeds mistrust. No doubt this isn’t easy but TE failed in the spring and this parent hopes they’ve improved and planned for REAL teaching, REAL learning and REAL accountability. That said, this parent is skeptical at best right now – especially as I look at other districts’ efforts AND inclusion of the public. For example, Council Rock in Bucks County has WEEKLY interactive meetings dealing with the re-opening process. We have secret meetings whose goal is to make the Board feel good when they do (as usual) whatever the administration tells them. And then give parents ONE week to decide their child’s future. Kids need interaction, parents need information, they both need accountability to ensure real learning is taking place. Sadly not sure they will get any.

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  5. Why does each district have to come up with their own individual plan? Where is the state in this, considering the federal government (eg Devos) has abandoned any involvement? To help with devising alternative plans, why haven’t several districts gotten together to devise a set of recommendations that should be implemented under various scenarios? Time to think and work out of the box, do something different, stop trying to solve such complicated problems individually. For example, why couldn’t individual districts offer some joint online courses to minimize extra costs and the need to hire as many extra staff?, Once more T/E has predictably dropped the ball.

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  6. And someone please tell me where the school board is on all of this, do they think that having secret meetings is OK? Whoops, that’s right the post said that the the president of the school board attended the secret meeting.

    School board directors are elected to lead, so where’s the leadership? Look around at other school districts, parents are receiving continuous updates and details from their superintendents. Here in the #1 school district, we get secret meetings. I cannot hardly wait to see how the board spins this at the school board meeting.

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  7. Phoenixville has regular meetings between superintendent and parents. Slides from the meetings and recordings are available.

    https://www.pasd.com/news/what_s_new/calling_all_parents__chats_with_the_superintendent

    Also, Phoenixville has published their DRAFT plan–not approved by the board.

    https://www.pasd.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_435174/File/2020-2021%20Kelly%20Files/COVID%20Info/School%20Reopening/06-23-20%20v2Phased%20School%20Reopening%20Health%20and%20Safety%20Plan-Phoenixville%20Area%20School%20District-Rev%206-22-20%20(Board%20Approved).pdf

    Note that on page 6, there is a parents/emergency coordinator from Phoenixville Hospital on the team. We don’t have any parents or a school nurse.

    Also, look at this:

    https://www.pasd.com/our_district/reopening_information

    So much information all in one place.

    There are ways to do this. It is hard, but possible. Why can’t T/E do this for our community?

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    I am really impressed by Phoenixville Area School District — wow — very thorough w/great communication and updates provided. If our District needs a model — here it is!!

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  8. Looked up Council Rock. They have a reopening hub.

    https://www.crsd.org/domain/4107

    They provide a link to their draft plan. Also, Bucks County Department of Health Director participated in a zoom with parents.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Council Rock is another of those top rated school district — Bucks County. Council Rock actually has their draft plan back on July 7, held a public forum on July 9 with a follow-up meeting scheduled for July 16. Included in the discussion is the Bucks County Health Director available to answer questions. If Council Rock can have Zoom meetings for all of its parents, I’m still struggling with why TESD has only had a secret meeting with a few parents.

    Please TESD board & administration — don’t you think that the entire community should be PART of the process to reopen schools?

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  9. #1 was so sweet and we earned it !! We are at #4 I believe now and if same leadership (elected or not as our huge tax burden pays for both) how will you feel when we are #11 in 2022. Status quo and #11 it is.

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  10. Our district will never follow anyone else’s model, no matter how great it is. Look at past years during the budget process when we had so many great financial whizzes that offered their services for free(Neal and Ray come to mind first but I’m sure there were others) the board and the administration never took them up on their offer despite the fact that they offered many brilliant suggestions. Why? Because they think they already know everything and any offer of public hearings or public comments are a sham because they’ve always already had their minds made up before any vote happens. I have no doubt that the reopening plan will be the same. They already know what they’re going to do and they don’t feel the need to share it with any of us(or the teachers)until the last minute. Reopening schools is going to take thinking outside of the box to come up with creative solutions to handle this unprecedented event. As a parent, I want to know what my child’s day is going to look like from beginning to end. How are they spacing the bus seats? Are they taking temps when kids arrive at school? Is everyone wearing masks?, all day? What if child doesn’t want to wear a mask? What’s the procedure if a student or teacher falls ill, does the whole classroom isolate for two weeks? Where are they eating lunch? Can they bring their own lunch? Is there recess? Do they switch rooms during the day and for specials? Are they just going to have to stay in one room, all day, in their seat for 8 hours? Until I have the answers to these questions (and more) I cannot make the decision if I will keep my child home to distance learn or return to the classroom. One week is not enough time to make such an important decision and ALL parents should be included in the decision making process. It’s too important not to include everyone. Not to sound dramatic, but it literally could be a life and death decision parents will have to make in the next few weeks with no guidance from the administration. We are paying all those high administrative salaries and bonuses for what? “Secret” meetings and no transparency what so ever. I feel like I keep voting the “right” people to sit on the school board, who will make the changes we need, and then they get elected and change. I don’t get it and I don’t know how to change it….

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  11. DeborahAnn,

    Thanks for your comment. You had me all the way to:

    “”I feel like I keep voting the “right” people to sit on the school board, who will make the changes we need, and then they get elected and change. I don’t get it and I don’t know how to change it….””””

    I will keep making this comment for the next 4 years:

    How in the world could you feel like you’re voting in the right people when the people you are voting in are members of the same group they are making decisions about. If you were a teacher or Administrstor and a School Board Director so could grant you and your friends a raise, would you do it? If you had influence over a $140M budget, what area in the Budget do you think you would give the most consideration to? School Board Director and teacher Kyle Boyer has stated many times that he represents teachers. Not parents, not students and not tax payers. It is a jaw dropping experience every time I hear him say it. True to his word, every vote he casts goes directly to the benefit of teachers.

    All you have to do is vote in Board Directors who are not teachers, not Administrators and not people who work in higher education. They are inherently bias towards people who do what they do so will vote for themselves every chance they get.

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    DeborahAnn Reply:

    Wondering, I guess I didn’t word that last part correctly. For the record, I never vote for teachers, administrators, etc. exactly for the reasons you list. What I should have said is that I feel like I’m voting the right people in but there are not enough of them to make a majority and enforce the needed changes.

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    T/E Anonymous Parent Reply:

    Kyle is really bold and obnoxious about that. I’m not sure whether to be disgusted, or actually give him credit for at least the trivial honesty.

    [Reply]

    Wonderings Reply:

    T/E Anonymous Parent,

    He’s honest about it now, after he won the seat. At an education committee meeting, right before voting against an 18 month parent driven, science based, data and fact driven Literacy Prigram, he said, “I know I’m voting against the parents who got me this seat on the Board.” It was stunning. He has blinders on. 100% behind teachers. For everything. Even something as trivial as the school calendar. At another meeting to discuss the upcoming school calendar, he said that he was fighting for the best for the teachers. There were many parents at the meeting representing many diverse cultures and religions. They were advocating for days off for the equivalent of their Christmas Day Holiday. I think it was May 7. Kyle said “March and April are long months for teachers and they need time off then.” Keep in mind teachers get 16 plus weeks off AYEAR, all the sick days they want, every holiday and if they’re really stressed out, 2 or 3 of them are granted sabbaticals every year. It is insane, and they complain and want more and more and more. They can’t be fired no matter what they do or say and they know it so they do and say whatever they want to do and say. I have many examples and can back up everything I’m saying.

    [Reply]

    Wonderings Reply:

    To Kyle Boyer,

    The teachers got the last 2 weeks in March off and all of April!!!!

  12. Our school board is a rudderless ship, unfortunately consisting of members who are not qualified for this crisis. My hope is that the one or two who ARE qualified are taking control of this situation. So from my perspective – if you aren’t happy with the Board, seek to change its members. Issue after issue after issue we see core problems…starting with a lack of leadership and followed with a lack of accountability.

    As for the teachers, while I generally don’t find myself a fan of their union I can’t really blame them for being cautious or concerned about going back to the classroom. We should not be forcing or encouraging them to return to the classroom if there are legitimate health issues – it’s a simple as that. We’re better than that, and quite frankly, they’ll seek legal intervention if they believe they have to. And they will be successful.

    I don’t see much of a change of anything since mid-March when we all went into quarantine. Scientificially/medically, there hasn’t been any change, so if it was dangerous in March then how can it be safe in August?

    This long time taxpayer and resident believes we are headed for another semester or year of online learning. There really are no alternatives.

    And for those of you not in the “know” – Conestoga football’s voluntary workouts have recently been cancelled indefinitely. Players have tested positive, and my understanding is that they have been interacting with other players and coaches. We should be praying for their return to health as well as the others who may have been unknowningly adversely affected.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Oh my gosh — I had not heard about the CHS football players and hope for their speedy recovery! This really should be a wake-up call (as if there was any doubt!) that yes covid-19 is in our community!

    [Reply]

    DeborahAnn Reply:

    I agree with you and if I was a teacher, I would not want to be back in a classroom where there is no plan in place and no guidance of how things will work. I’m sure at some point the union will step in and not let this happen.

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  13. I would open schools exactly as Unionville proposes:
    Full attendance, 3-6 foot spacing, with masks mandatory most of the time. Bus transportation is two-to-a-seat with masks mandatory. Parents have the option of virtual learning if they are uncomfortable with the risks of full attendance. Teachers have the option of an unpaid leave of absence if they are uncomfortable with the risk of in-person teaching or a possible virtual teaching position if there is an opening.

    Some might say, “this puts the lives of teachers and students at risk”. Yes, I admit it does. But in return the students don’t fall behind another semester (distance learning for two career parents is a disaster) and parents can get back to work. It’s viscerally uncomfortable saying “I’m willing to take this risk with someone’s health in order to have these other benefits.” But we do it all the time. We allow people to drive their cars and to have swimming pools and do all kinds of stuff we know to be risky, and which—in the case of driving cars—have risks to other people. As a society, we allow some of those trade-offs, even though we might not be thinking about them in exactly this way.

    Criticism welcome!

    Read this article if you have time: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/07/09/reopening-schools-coronavirus-pandemic-expert-analysis-politics-2020-355466

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    I’m curious Keith — How successful do you think that UCF distance learning program was in the spring? And did the teachers have professional development/distance learning technology support offered during the summer months to ready them for school reopening?

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    Peeved in Paoli Reply:

    Keith,

    I’m curious do you really think it’s necessary to risk our teachers and students lives so they don’t fall behind? I’d rather have my child be a few semesters behind in school instead of dead.

    In terms of transportation, kids already sit 2 to a seat. Have you ever seen a packed school bus? The seats are too small for proper social distancing, and the buses have 60+ kids on them! Masks or not, it’s a huge risk to put kids in close quarters like that- not to mention, our school buses often run back to back, high school, middle school and elementary school. There isn’t enough time between each run to properly sanitize the bus.

    I think it’s extremely irresponsible for our district to have not released some sort of plan yet. They’re going to wait to the last minute, release a half-assed plan and the board will push it through because that’s just the way our district works. They don’t care about the students or the staff. They just do what they want with little regard for the consequences. The administration at TEAO make the decisions when they aren’t the ones packed in schools of hundreds of children and staff. They sit in their comfy air conditioned offices and decide what is best for us. It’s unfair and it’s irresponsible.

    If any one student or staff get sick and god for bid dies- it’s on the hands of our administration and school board.

    [Reply]

    Keith Knauss Reply:

    Some people are extremely uncomfortable with any level of risk to their children’s lives. If bus transportation is an issue then there is alternate transportation. If in person education is troubling, then the distance learning option is available. Also, no one is forcing teachers back to the classroom. Teachers have 3 other options if they are uncomfortable with the classroom – the virtual academy, an unpaid leave of absence, or quit. Yes, two of the options available to teachers are uncomfortable.

    While there are those who would sacrifice multiple semesters of in-person education to reduce the health risk to zero, there are many others that assess the available data and are willing to assume a small risk for the educational, mental and financial benefits of in-person instruction.

    [Reply]

    Wonderings Reply:

    Agree with Keith.

    Children are at extremely low risk of becoming ill from the virus.

    Adults – and particularly older adults – are far more likely to be seriously ill and die from complications of the virus.

    The issue isn’t the kids, it’s the kids bringing the virus home to the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions.

    Peeved in Paoli Reply:

    Keith, where have you heard teachers have an option to teach only virtually? I have many friends in the district and have not heard that proposed as an option at all. I’m fact I heard that the plan is for teachers to monitor virtual classrooms WHILE teaching in person for an “inclusive” experience for students who stay virtual.

    Pattye Reply:

    Keith is in the Unionville Chadds Ford School District. And yes you are correct about the proposal in TESD that has teachers in the classroom with a camera for remote learning students.

    Tara La Fiura Reply:

    Thank you Keith. This has been my thinking all along. We have asked individuals who work at food stores, pharmacies, Target etc. to go back to work – they are somehow more “essential” than teachers? School is an essential service that our government provides and that we pay for with our taxes. Could you imagine if someone showed up at Whole Foods and were told “Sorry, we are closed indefinitely because all of our workers have refused to come in.” Or – you went to the emergency room and were told “Sorry, we are closed. All doctors and nurses have refused to come in.” I do not view school as child care. I am a stay-at-home mom. I have the time to home school or supervise remote learning but I am not trained to teach my children. They need to be in an actual school with other kids and trained professionals. And school is so much more than academics – especially for the elementary kids. Important social and emotional needs are met there too.

    [Reply]

    Disgusted in Berwyn Reply:

    Keith,
    What would you plan to do when the virus begins to show up in the school(s). Try to hang on to fully open classes knowing full well it puts more students, teachers, custodians, administrators at risk? When would you see reason and go back to all online instruction? Would you agree to all online in Oct or Nov or Dec or try to make it until Jan? And how is this health risk better than some unknown amount loss in education quality, knowing full well the same things are happening throughout the country?

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  14. Pattye,

    You asked about distance learning training during the summer months. I don’t know the answer, but I do know that teachers, by contract, are not obligated to attend training during the summer.

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  15. In the last “special board meeting” agenda/notes, there was a list of summer institutes being offered to teachers. One of them was about distance learning, but only for small groups of teachers from each school. A “train the trainer” model is not going to be sufficient for instructing teachers on how to design for effective online learning. I fear that students who opt for online learning this fall are going to be subjected to the same low-level learning activities that we experienced in the spring.

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  16. Peeved in Paoli, I whole heartedly agree with your comments. I think if the school board and administration are comfortable with our kids riding on the school bus runs back to back to back, still crowded, and deem it safe and sanitary, then I would like to see the board members and TEAO staff all each ride on a bus with our kids everyday. There should be enough of them to get one on every bus. Better yet, move out of their comfy air conditioned offices too, into the school buildings and live what they propose.

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  17. The risk of death is extremely low for school age students. Chester County doesn’t list deaths by age, but Montgomery County does. Total deaths in MC is 811 out of a total population of 800,000. There were ZERO deaths under the age of 30.

    There will be students that contract Covid, but there is an extremely high probability they will recover. Again, some parents will feel comfortable with the risk. Others will not, but they have the option of remote learning.

    [Reply]

    Tina Reply:

    I completely agree with Keith. National averages run 70 – 80% in favor of parents wanting to get kids back in the classroom. Everything I’ve read and listened to supports low transmission rates child to child, especially at the elementary age. They don’t have the same amount of receptors in their noses as adults to “receive” the virus. Most children that get the virus get it from an adult and usually a parent or caretaker! By living in a bubble at home kids are also not being exposed to the run of the mill daily virus loads that they get from each other to build their immune systems as well.

    Teachers would be more at risk of getting it from each other, in a staff room, meeting etc. Older and immune-compromised individuals should opt to be furloughed, they would still receive benefits but be unpaid. This is what is happening in the corporate world, it is a reality that a lot of families are facing right now. Think outside the box, maybe if there are four second grade classes in a school, 3 are in person and 1 is virtual for the kids/parents that need or choose to have their kids at home with a teacher/aide that needs/choose to be virtual.

    Anyone looking at this as one school semester at a time is being very short sited. The virus is here for the long run folks. This is going to affect this semester and most likely the entire school year possibly into the next. If you are waiting for a vaccine to go back to school good luck. A COVID-19 vaccine, like any other vaccine, will only be 60 – 70% effective at best. It will be given to front line workers and the elderly, if they can tolerate it, and other immune-compromised individuals first. Distribution to the rest of the “general” public including children will be last. This will take months. And even if things go smoothly, 25% of the population said they would not opt to get the vaccine at all.

    The virus will and is going to run through the population over the next 12 – 18 months until vaccinations are distributed and herd immunity is achieved, if at all possible. In the meantime we have to live with it, not in fear of it. That includes getting back to work and school as safely as possible while protecting the weakest in our society. If a class or school becomes a “hot zone” it is temporarily closed as it has been in the past for other illnesses like flu epidemics. This has been done in this district and others, most parents today just haven’t experienced it so they can’t relate, it can be done. Remain flexible and adaptable. Force the district to have a detailed plan in place for all scenarios. Although I fear they are seriously running out of time for the fall semester and if they don’t have a 1 year plan at this point in time they are more incompetent then I thought they already were.

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  18. Keith
    Your minimal statistics on demographics on deaths leaves me unimpressed. What about teachers? Librarians? Administration? I’m concerned your approach is too cavalier while accepting certain illness and potential deaths as consequences for an easy out for the School Board.

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  19. CHS football has been shut down. Most surely no season this fall. Out of the small group that showed up for practices, 4 players tested positive for COVID-19. We should all realize that number among high schoolers is really much higher. I would venture to say many middle school students are infected as well. I know these students rarely get sick, but they can spread that to the staff and that is the scary thing.
    Keith…3 – 6 foot spacing?? That is absolutely inadequate. 6 foot should be the minimum.
    I can’t even get started on the school board!!

    [Reply]

  20. Isn’t it against the law for a district to have such a meeting? Sunshine Law I believe.

    [Reply]

    Keith Knauss Reply:

    The Sunshine Law only applies when a quorum of the board (5 school directors) is present. From what has been posted only the board president attended. Even if there was a quorum, the board would have to be deliberating (debating different options and weighing pros and cons in an attempt to reach a decision). From what has been posted this was an information gathering meeting. Thus, the board was not obligated to advertise or admit the public.

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  21. Now I find out Graduation is off! Sad times for the senior class of 2020.

    [Reply]

    DeborahAnn Reply:

    It is sad. Spring Ford School District was way ahead of us planning their graduation. Back in May, families were given a time for their senior and a few family members to show up. All families were spaced 20 minutes apart. As one family was exiting thru one door, the next family would be entering thru a different door. Each student was taped walking the stage and receiving their “diploma”. All the speeches, music, etc. were prerecorded. The district then edited it all and aired graduation on their local cable channel on the Friday evening of the week the live graduation was supposed to take place. It wasn’t ideal but the best they could do in our current situation. We did a drive by parade for my extended family member that evening before the televised airing and our student stood outside in their cap and gown as we all drove by. Hopefully it will be a special memory for them in the future when the sting of no live ceremony wears off. I don’t understand why TE seems like we are always 8 paces behind. We are supposed to have the best and brightest running the district(at least the salaries indicate such) Why are they not prepared? No graduation plans, no reopening school plans. The only plans that seem set in stone is the district stealing the Doyle-McDonnell Family Nursery thru eminent domain(again with NO plans of what it will be used for)

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  22. The state has finally weighed in, and insisting on 6 feet of separation all day, and teachers union is calling for districts to plan for online-only learning. Seems a hybrid approach would work best during this crisis. Unfortunately much of the break has been lost for detailed planning such as improvements with content and quality of online instruction.

    https://www.inquirer.com/news/coronavirus-covid-19-pa-schools-reopening-guidelines-surge-nj-online-learning-20200716.html

    [Reply]

  23. A friend shared this yesterday. https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/9-ways-online-teaching/?fbclid=IwAR20INUw5-TGuD71ZqmZkAFyvzfWgUR1sA463jkN2SATCweOGqH6BlDA6e8
    I think this establishes a good plan for online learning.
    I am very concerned that T/E has not done any teacher training this summer, or if they have, they haven’t shared it to give parents some sense of relief that they are taking our concerns with the Spring to heart. Every teacher I know wants to keep their family and students safe, and to also be able to be the best teachers in a pandemic.
    if no training occurred, we need to question why our administration is not doing everything in their power to support our teachers. Is it so when their contract is up, they can point to the dissatisfaction with parents and distance learning? It shouldn’t be parents vs teachers. We need to unite to put the accountability in the right place – the administration who receive raises every year and the school board who approves everything the administration wants, with nary a question of why.

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