When: Penn Manor school board meeting, Nov. 16.
What happened: The president of the teachers union, as well as a Penn Manor High School student and two parents/guardians, all made public comments asking the district to halt or delay its plans for a full in-person reopening, as the COVID-19 pandemic grows more severe in the county and throughout the U.S.
Background: On Sept. 21, the board voted for all students in the district to begin transitioning to full-time in-person learning starting Nov. 9. At the previous board meeting on Nov. 2, the board vetoed a motion 6-3 to consider continuing the blended online/in-person learning model for Penn Manor High School students through January, in favor of having all students return to full-time in-person learning in November.
Citizen comments: Mary Kay Fair, president of the Penn Manor Education Association, formally requested that Superintendent Michael G. Leichliter continue the blended learning model until the pandemic is less severe. In her comments, high school senior Rebecca Whiteman said a full reopening would put students, faculty and staff at risk. She asked that students uncomfortable with the full reopening be allowed to attend live classes virtually if desired, rather than being required to use the district’s Penn Manor Virtual School platform.
High school reopening delay: The day after the meeting, on Nov. 17, the district issued a statement saying the high school will continue in an online format through Dec. 4 due to several COVID-19 cases that have impacted more than 200 students and 20 staff members, through both positive cases and quarantines.
State grant: Business Manager Chris Johnston reported the district received a $332,904 Safe Schools Initiative Targeted Grant for the 2020-21 school year, awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The district will use $15,000 for three elevator card access systems, $212,395 for security cameras and $105,509 for software licenses for the cameras.