When: Cocalico school board meeting, Sept. 28.
What happened: The board agreed to revise the athletics portion of its health and safety reopening plan in light of ongoing challenges to Gov. Tom Wolf’s crowd-size limitations. The district’s policy no longer limits spectators by number, but current standards are posted on the district website.
Quotable: “As we are proceeding throughout the fall … we are realizing we need to create language … that is a little less specific so if things change, we can change accordingly, and we aren’t tied to a specific number,” Superintendent Ella Musser said.
Learning model concerns: Two parents who joined the meeting virtually expressed concerns about hybrid education. Tara Griest of Stevens pushed the district on its plans for a full reopening, citing the lack of in-person days Cocalico secondary students are receiving versus peers in districts already open for daily in-person instruction. Musser said the district would be unlikely to reopen outside of the state Department of Education’s recommendations of fewer than 10 COVID cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period, or if the area maintains a positivity rate of 5% or more.
Cybersecurity: Cocalico School District is increasing its cybersecurity insurance policy, citing recent theft of information and ransom attempts made against other districts. The school board voted unanimously to increase its coverage from $250,000, approved July 1, to $1 million. The policy financially protects the district from extortion attempts, data-recovery and recreation costs and claims made in the case of a data compromise.
Why: More than 500 U.S. schools were hit by ransomware last year, according to cybersecurity firm Armor. This summer, the FBI warned “cyberactors are likely to increase targeting of K-12 schools” during the pandemic, and districts in North Carolina and Connecticut found themselves in the crosshairs as online classes started for fall. Cocalico officials said they had not received any direct threats but wanted to be prepared. The Utica insurance policy will cost just over $3,300 for the 2020-21 school year.