When: School board meeting, Nov. 10, with update.
What happened: The district announced Nov. 17 the high school and middle school will remain closed, with students continuing online learning until after Thanksgiving break.
Background: The prolonged closure comes after the district halted in-person instruction at the secondary school complex starting Nov. 12 following an increase in cases at those schools. As of Nov. 17, there were four confirmed and four presumptive cases at the high school and three confirmed and three presumptive cases at the middle school. Also, Bear Creek School had one confirmed and four presumptive cases while East High Elementary School had one confirmed and one presumptive case, for a total of 21 active cases in the district.
Recommendations: Superintendent Michele Balliet noted during the meeting that Lancaster County is now considered to have “substantial” level of community transmission of the coronavirus. The administration recommended the district continue its current instructional model with the secondary students continuing the hybrid schedule, alternating online and in-person instruction, and the elementary students attending in-person five days a week through the end of the school year.
Concerns: Assistant Superintendent Daniel Serfass listed concerns about secondary students going to school for full-time in-person learning. One is being unable to maintain safe physical distancing among students in the building and potentially more students and staff having to quarantine or being exposed to the virus. Educational programming concerns include inconsistent instruction and higher absenteeism. Students having to switch more often from in-person to online learning because of COVID cases would burden families. And absenteeism among the staff means the need for more substitute teachers, which are in short supply, Serfass said.