Lancaster County’s lone brick and mortar charter school may be closed for an extended period of time as the number of COVID-19 cases surges across the county.
La Academia Partnership Charter School, located on North Ann Street in Lancaster city, shifted to online learning this week, according to school Principal Tommy Henley.
The school, which has reported just one positive case of COVID-19 among students or staff this fall, will likely remain closed until county numbers die down, Henley said.
Pennsylvania Department of Health data from last week shows Lancaster County had an incident rate per 100,000 residents of 99.9 and a 5.8% positivity rate. That nearly puts the county in the substantial community transmission category determined by the state.
A county meets substantial community transmission — the most severe phase — if it has 100 or more cases per 100,000 residents or at least a 10% positivity rate in the most recent seven-day period. The state recommends fully remote learning for schools in counties with substantial community spread.
“With this drastic daily increase in cases, it is looking like we will remain remote,” Henley said in an email Wednesday. “We know that COVID is disproportionately impacting black and brown communities, so I’m taking the recommendation by the department of health.”
La Academia, which serves about 230 students in grades six through 12, has the highest rate of Hispanic students in the county with 91%. Another 4% are multiracial, and 3% are Black.
Henley said he will continue to abide by the Health Department’s guidelines “as if they were mandatory.”
The charter school is one of three Lancaster County schools to close this week due to COVID-19. Warwick and Conestoga Valley high schools also shifted online, but both are expected to resume in-person instruction on Monday.
Warwick High School will close to students through the rest of the week after a spike in COVID-19 cases, district administration announced in a letter to families Tuesday.
Conestoga Valley High School has closed to students for the rest of the week due to a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, the superintendent announced in a letter to families Tuesday.