When: Warwick virtual school board meeting, Jan. 19.
What happened: Superintendent April Hershey reported that information over the previous weekend necessitated the temporary closing of Bonfield Elementary to in-person classes.
Background: Since the last communication with families on Jan. 15, the district was made aware of nine new cases of COVID-19 in Warwick schools, with one at Warwick High School, one at Warwick Middle School, one at Lititz Elementary, two at Kissel Hill Elementary and four at Bonfield. An additional case at Bonfield brought that number to four, which shifted students to virtual instruction on Jan. 19 and 20. The schools were already closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18.
Changing situation: At the meeting, Hershey emphasized that the situation with COVID-19 is ever-changing and sometimes updates occur late at night or during the weekend. She apologized for any inconvenience and urged families to keep informed via her regular letters on the district’s website.
Quotable: “We have been able to keep the cases lower, compared to the surges that are occurring in Lancaster County, and we are thankful for our families,” Hershey said. “We ask for your continued grace and patience.”
Praise: Board members thanked Hershey for her efforts to keep families informed and to remain flexible when classroom instruction must switch to virtual lessons with little notice. Also, the board was commended for its work on behalf of students, educators and families. January is School Board Recognition Month, and board members were thanked for their “non-paid commitment to public service” in Hershey’s resolution.
Quotable: “We hands-down have the best school board,” said Lisa Hochreiter, president of the Warwick Education Association, who has been teaching at Warwick for 30 years. “We want to express our gratitude.”
Calendar: Hershey also announced that first day of classes for the 2021-22 school year will be Aug. 31, with an anticipated last day of June 6. After polling parents in the district, 70% of them were OK with classes to begin before Labor Day.
Background: This will be the second year in a row classes break with the long-standing tradition in which Warwick started classes after Labor Day. With a late Labor Day in 2020, the 2020-21 school year was the first in many years to begin before the holiday.