Amid COVID spread, districts offered mitigation choices

According to state data, 66 of the state’s 67 counties – including Susquehanna County – are experiencing a substantial level of coronavirus community transmission. For the week ending Nov. 27, the community transmission level in the county was listed as “substantial” for the second week in a row.

The risk table is used as a guide by local school districts in determining their educational models, which include full in-person classes; a blended or hybrid model; and full remote learning.

After a two-week period of remote learning due to positive cases of COVID-19 in the district, Blue Ridge will continue with the remote model until Dec. 11.

Blue Ridge Superintendent Matthew Button said, “Our district’s Health and Safety Plan states: Any changes to our current blended model will be based on PDE’s ‘Determining Instructional Models During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Within this guidance PDE and the DOH recommend school district’s move to full remote learning after their county is at the substantial level for two consecutive weeks.”

The Dept. of Education and Dept. of Health has allowed districts to select from options, with one option that allows school districts to hold in-person instruction when the county is at a level of substantial transmission. Button said the school board will review the current situation in the district and consider the available options at the Dec. 7 board meeting.

“I do believe our staff is doing their best to provide a quality online product and our parents/students understand that,” Button said. “Ultimately we all want students in-person as much as possible, as we know it is the most effective instructional model for our students.”

Susquehanna Community also moved to a full remote instructional model until, at least, Dec. 11.   “To return to the Hybrid learning model the county will need to have Moderate transmission rates for two consecutive weeks,” said Acting Superintendent Peter Supko in a letter posted on the district website.

Mountain View is continuing with its Hybrid model, attesting that it will endure mitigation efforts. The district plans to move to a full remote learning model for two weeks following the winter break.

The Montrose Area and Elk Lake school districts remain with the full in-person instructional models and the districts have agreed to follow the state’s requirements on universal face coverings to continue with that model.


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