Below is the letter regarding school reopening procedure from Superintendent Richard Gusick which was posted on the TESD website today. Although we expected the District to post its reopening plan this week – it turns out that the public will only have a few days to review and comment on the proposed plan. According to the letter, the District since has been “working non-stop in preparation for the new school year” since June.
The reopening plan will be posted on the District website on Friday, July 24 and public comments are due by Monday, July 27, 7 PM. The school board will vote on the final plan at a special board meeting on Wednesday, July 29, 7:30 PM.
July 20, 2020
Dear T/E Families and Staff,
I wish you all good health and wellness. As the summer progresses, I would like to provide you with an update on our planning process for the 2020-2021 school year and to announce some important upcoming dates.
Planning for Reopening
Since June, TESD has been working non-stop in preparation for the new school year. We have been meeting with stakeholders, receiving input, monitoring guidance and developing different plans and scenarios. A sampling of the preparation work happening over the summer includes:
- Distance Learning Survey Results were compiled and posted on the District website.
- The District continues to review feedback received through the Distance Learning Inboxes (open through July 31) on a daily basis.
- A TESD Pandemic Team was formed to develop a formal reopening plan.
- Teacher representatives and District administrators collaborated to review ideas for reopening.
- District administrators met with representatives from TESD parent groups to gather additional input on reopening.
- Review of the health and safety recommendations with local health officials and our school nurse team has been ongoing.
- The District continues to monitor state guidance and recommendations from a variety of health and research organizations.
- District administrators met with teachers by level to discuss reopening, receive feedback and answer questions.
New Guidance from the State Impacts Schools
New and ever-changing health guidance has required TESD to continually pivot and adjust our plans for how to reopen our schools this fall. You may have heard that on July 15, Governor Wolf released new directions for schools to help further reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. In addition, on July 16, the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Health provided further clarification on these directions. This latest guidance includes limiting indoor gatherings to no more than 25 people and a recommendation for social distancing of six feet or more in schools. These changes prompted a complete review and reworking of the District draft plan.
Timeline for Reopening Plan Presentation and Approval
As mentioned previously, the draft reopening plan will be shared with the community this week. The plan will then be publicly presented to the School Board and voted on next week. Key dates include:
- Friday, July 24 – Draft Reopening Plan to be posted on the District website on a new page dedicated to sharing emerging information about school reopening
- Monday, July 27 – District Meeting to Present Reopening Plan and receive public comment at 7:00 PM
- Wednesday, July 29 – Special School Board Meeting to take action on Reopening Plan at 7:30 PM
In accordance with state guidelines that limit indoor gatherings to 25 people, both upcoming meetings will be held virtually. Links to the live meetings will be available on the TESD website by 6:00 PM the day of the meeting. Directions on how to submit comments or to ask questions will be provided on Friday.
Elements of the Plan
Pennsylvania school districts are charged with developing a plan that describes how schools will operate under a red, yellow and green pandemic phase. Red phase plans operate under the assumption that school buildings are closed to students, and instruction is delivered virtually to all students. The virtual learning program will include increased live synchronous instruction at all levels. Yellow and green phase plans allow for a combination of in-person instruction and virtual learning. Because in-person instruction must follow the health and safety guidance, modifications to our typical program will be required. A 100% virtual learning model will be available as a choice for families in the yellow or green phases.
I trust that when we post our plan on Friday, some of your questions will be answered, but more will be generated. I would like nothing more than to open school safely on August 31 in the same manner as in previous school years, and I am saddened as an educator and as a parent that health directives will require major changes to what we normally do. Please know that we are doing our very best to maintain the safety of our school community and the integrity of T/E’s educational program delivered by T/E teachers and staff, either remotely or in person.
Dr. Richard Gusick
Superintendent of Schools