Return to School Update – January 26, 2021

January 26, 2021 (sent via all-call at 4:00 pm)

Dear Union Community:  

We are excited to welcome our students back to school on February 1, 2021.  As we have said all along, we believe in-person instruction is the most optimal way to learn and grow; however, in this unprecedented educational environment, we must proceed with caution and be cognizant of the health and safety of our entire school community.  With that in mind, please make note of the following information.

On Friday, January 29, 2021, all students will receive an asynchronous day of instruction.  Your teachers will post work in Google Classroom, and students will be expected to complete the work before Monday, February 1, 2021.  This allows our teachers to prepare for the return to in-person instruction, but will still count for a school day.  (Please note:  Students in Ms. Kassi’s and Ms. Magusiak’s classrooms will attend school like normal on Friday, January 29).  Students will be marked present by completing the work before Monday, February 1.  If students do not complete the work for a particular class before Monday, February 1, they will be marked absent for that class.

 

All students have the option to stay on virtual learning after we return to in-person instruction.  If for any reason, including health and safety concerns, you find it in the best interest of your child to continue to learn from home, all families have that option.  Your child will continue to receive live instruction from our Union teachers.  If you haven’t done so already, you can sign up to stay on virtual instruction here: https://forms.gle/y6mGU2jntmy6YskKA

Your students can switch between virtual and in-person learning by making arrangements with the building principal.  

 

Elementary parents may choose to return their student’s bin, Chromebook and books on Friday, January 29 so students do not need to carry them on the bus on Monday.  You may drop off the materials at the front door anytime between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm.  

 

Since we have decided to offer in-person instruction, we must attest to the PA Department of Health that we are following five specific guidelines:  

1. All students are required to wear face coverings. Regardless of any personal opinions on masking, all students and staff members must have masks on at all times.  Students will be provided structured mask breaks throughout the day. Masks must be worn appropriately, covering both the nose and mouth.  We did well with this in the fall, and I’m sure we will now too.  Non-compliance with mask breaks may result in disciplinary action.   If your child has a documented medical condition where face coverings can be dangerous, please provide us the directive not to mask from his/her treating physician.  

More information on masking and masking requirements can be found here: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/Updated%20Order%20of%20the%20Secretary%20Requiring%20Universal%20Face%20Coverings.pdf

2.  We must report all Covid positive cases to the PA Department of Health

3.  We must conduct contact tracing when a positive case is identified in the district.

4.  We must adhere to quarantine and isolation guidelines set forth by the PA DOH. 

5.  We are required to follow school closure guidelines designed by the PA DOH (below)

Being in school is special for so many reasons, from experiencing the magic of the classroom, to having a special senior year, to participating in extracurricular activities, or just being around friends and mentors.  Keeping our schools open to experience these things requires a community effort.  We all must be cognizant of our behaviors inside/outside of school and take precautions to keep ourselves healthy and safe.  We have a duty to protect our fellow community members and our school, and I’m confident we will succeed.  

 

Below is some information and tips from the fall:

Please encourage your students to wear masks.  They are required in school at all times except when eating/drinking or during mask breaks.  If your child has a medical issue that prevents them from wearing a mask, we will respectfully ask for medical documentation from a doctor.  The medical conditions must be related to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA.

Temperatures will be taken as students enter the buildings.  Students will be sent to the nurse for further evaluation if they register a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. 

We are asking families to screen your children for symptoms and fevers.  It is crucial to keep students home when they are sick and/or have fevers.  If you keep your students home because of sickness/fever, they will be considered excused absences. We have various instructional delivery options for any student requiring an extended absence from school.

If you’re dropping your students off at school, please do not bring elementary students prior to 8:20 AM or middle/high school students prior to 7:30 AM.  This helps us minimize congregating and having large groups of students in one area. 

We are encouraging families to send their students with water bottles. Students are not permitted to use water fountains for drinking.  Only water is permitted to be sent with students.  

We will not be utilizing an “Activity Bus” this year.  If your students are staying for after-school activities in the middle/high school, such as organizational meetings or tutoring, transportation home will not be provided.

 

SCHOOL CLOSURE GUIDANCE

 

Level of Community Transmission in the County Number of Cases of COVID-19 Within a Rolling 14-Day Period:

1 student or 1 staff

Number of Cases of COVID-19 Within a Rolling 14-Day Period:

2-4 students/staff

in same school building

Number of Cases of COVID-19 Within a Rolling 14-Day Period:

5+ students/staff

in same school building

Low
  • School does not need to close
  • Clean area(s) where case spent time
  • Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine
  • Close school(s) for 3-5 days*
  • Clean area(s) where cases spent time
  • Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine
  • Close school(s) for 14 days*
  • Clean entire school(s)
  • Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine
Moderate
  • School does not need to close
  • Clean area(s) where case spent time
  • Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine
  • Close school(s) for 3-7 days*
  • Clean area(s) where cases spent time
  • Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine
  • Close school(s) for 14 days*
  • Clean entire school(s)
  • Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine
Substantial
  • School should consider altering schedule to significantly decrease number of students on site
  • Clean area(s) where case spent time
  • Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine
  • School should consider altering schedule to significantly decrease number of students on site
  • Close school(s) for 3-7 days*
  • Clean area(s) where cases spent time
  • Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine
  • School should consider altering schedule to significantly decrease number of students on site
  • Close school(s) for 14 days*
  • Clean entire school
  • Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine

*If case investigations, contact tracing, and cleaning and disinfecting can be accomplished in a faster time frame, the length of closure time may be shortened