COVID-19, no longer a temporary impact, continues to require ongoing and continual engagement and research to stay abreast of changes.
Below, you will find a list of resources on all aspects of preparedness, including guidance on communication planning, policy, emergency management and disease control. Use these resources to help you make decisions regarding the safety and health of those in your school district.
While the uncertainties surrounding this unprecedented scenario can be unsettling, we know that Pennsylvania has courage and through this, we will come back stronger together. #PaSchoolsReady
Information surrounding how the COVID-19 outbreak impacts education is rapidly evolving. To receive up-to-date information and notifications download myPSBA mobile app from your app store.
11/2/20 – Selfcare and mental health resources
- Selfcare and mental health resources
- Behavioral Health Resource List
- Student Re-entry: Social Supports
I. PSBA Coronavirus Updates
- 8/31/20 – PSBA testimony to the House Democratic Policy Committee on cost savings through improved efficiency
- 8/5/20 — PSBA testimony to the House Education Committee on legislative support needed for public schools during the pandemic
- 7/28/20 – PSBA, PASA & PACTA letter to the governor seeking liability protections for schools
- 6/17/20 – PSBA testimony to the House Education Committee on school reopening in fall 2020
- 5/11/20 – PSBA testimony to the Senate Education Committee on continuity of education
- 5/5/20 – PSBA letter to the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation seeking funding and flexibility for schools
PSBA Crisis Communications, a member benefit supported by The Donovan Group is available 24/7 at no cost to PSBA member districts, for guidance on how to communicate with communities, families and the media. Communication templates available here.
III. FAQ Updates
IV. Finance & Funding
V. Legal & Policy Insights
- 5/21/20 – Policy 824 Maintaining Professional Adult/Student Boundaries – Considerations for a Digital Learning Environment
- 4/8/20 – Policy Update: PSBA Guidance on Remote School Board Meetings
- 3/21/20 – ED – Supplemental Fact Sheet Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities
- E-rate list for school and community free or low-cost Internet connectivity resources
- NSBA COVID Preparing For Widespread Illness in Your School Community, A Legal Guide for School Leaders
- What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and COVID-19
- Department of Labor – Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Policy 805 Emergency Preparedness and Response
The Board is responsible to provide facilities, equipment and training necessary to protect against hazards and emergencies, including but not limited to natural disasters, hazardous chemicals, fires, weapons, bomb threats, intruders, terrorism, communicable diseases and pandemics. Advance planning, training, practice and comprehensive implementation are key components in protecting the safety and security of the school community. Each school entity should have an emergency preparedness plan in place that was developed in cooperation with the county Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). The emergency preparedness plan should include provisions for the continuity of student learning during school closings or excessive absences.
VI. Information on potential PPE fraud scheme
Criminal actors continue to use the pandemic to target the healthcare sector through fraudulent schemes, including a recent PPE fraud scheme. Indicators include unsolicited advertisements for PPE, the request to contact an FBI asset verification line, and/or vendors who claim they possess a substantially large amount of PPE. There is no FBI asset verification line, and the FBI is not involved in the sale of PPE. Fraudulent activity can be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.
VII. Educational Updates
Back to School Taskforce
Eight leading education organizations, PACTA, PAIU, PA Principals Assoc., PARSS, PASA, PASBO, PSBA and PSEA have come together as part of a Back to School Taskforce to assist and support school leaders, administrators and educators as they plan for the coming academic year. From these organizations, more than 150 practitioners and experts comprised categorized work group committees to develop compiled insights and considerations on which local decision-makers can draw as they plan for the needs of their students, staff and communities.
Click here to review the Reopening Insights Report.
- 2020 Pennsylvania Arts in Education Report
- Arts Education is Essential
- Instructional Days/Hours During the 2020-2021 School Year | Implications Related to COVID-19
- 7/6/20 – Roadmap for Education Leaders Cover Letter
Roadmap for Education Leaders – Creating Equitable School Systems
- 7/1/20 – Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings
- 4/22/20 – PDE Evaluations & Virtual Assessment Guidance
- 4/9/2020 – Act 13 Order
- 3/31/2020 – Continuity of Education Resources from the Pennsylvania Department of Education
- 3/15/2020 – Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) COVID-19 Resources
- Disaster Preparedness and Response – Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Coronavirus Information for Education from the Pennsylvania Department of Health
VII. Disease Management
The Latest Health and Safety Guidance from PDE and DOH
Wolf administration encourages schools to enforce 250-person limit at outdoor gathers
The Wolf administration released a statement encouraging Pennsylvania school districts to enforce gathering limits, while the state awaits a ruling on a request to stay a federal judge's order that found some COVID-19 restrictions unconstitutional (County of Butler, et al v. Thomas W. Wolf, et al 2020 WL 5510690 (W.D. Pa. 2020)).
Thursday, August 13th, the Pennsylvania Departments of Health (DOH) and Education (PDE) released recommendations on procedures to follow when responding to COVID-19 cases in Pre-K to 12 school settings. This health-focused guidance will serve as an additional resource to help you plan and ensure the health and safety of our school communities throughout the 2020-21 academic year.
When a case of COVID-19 is identified in a school setting, public health staff from DOH or the county or municipal health department will work with school administrators to provide additional guidance and advice related to cleaning and disinfecting, contact tracing and quarantine recommendations, and closing certain areas of the school or an entire school building if necessary.
Any questions regarding school reopening should be directed here: RA-EDContinuityofEd@pa.gov.
- 3/20/20 – NAMI – Coronavirus: Mental Health Coping Strategies
- Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Testing Fact Sheet
- More information and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Mental Health America – Mental Health Effects of COVID-19
- Resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Institute for Research on Poverty – Poverty & COVID-19
VIII. PSBA offers increased capacity Zoom capability
As Pennsylvania school buildings closed during the pandemic this spring, PSBA, in partnership with CM Regent Insurance, provided all school district, CTC and IU members the opportunity to access an Education Enterprise level Zoom license, which provided entities with a 100-person capacity for holding public board meetings digitally. In subsequent months and in supporting our members as they navigated the transition, PSBA realized that many school entities had a need for higher capacity than the 100-attendee limit for specific meetings or community town-hall events.
To address this need and continue to support our members as they hold important public meetings, PSBA has negotiated a solution to offer members limited access to higher capacity meetings — up to 1,000 attendees in a Zoom webinar. If you are interested in scheduling a meeting via a high-capacity Zoom webinar account, please email Melissa Moore at email@example.com. PSBA will set up the meeting through our account in coordination with district staff. PSBA staff will provide support for the district’s identified Zoom host. This opportunity will still allow a district to livestream its meeting via YouTube, Facebook or a custom service and will still allow meetings to be recorded.
Updated Zoom guidance for all school entities
PSBA is also updating guidance to reflect the following recommendations for ALL school entities using current PSBA Zoom licenses while facing larger-than-normal meeting capacities:
- When creating a registration for Zoom webinar, adjust the setting to cap at approximately 85 attendees. This will prevent attendees from registering beyond the 100-person limit, and provides enough attendee spots for the board, Zoom host and administration participating in the meeting.
- PSBA highly recommends providing a livestream option for the Zoom webinar to accommodate larger numbers to digitally attend the board meeting. This can be done in the Zoom settings. Tutorials for this can be found at Zoom support and additional guidance can be found in PSBA’s Zoom Guide for Digital Board Meetings (found on myPSBA.org in “Resources”).
- When posting notice and registration information for digital board meetings, include the following:
- The registration limit for attendees along with the registration link
- The livestream link or access directions for viewing the meeting via your chosen platform
- A summary of or link to the board policy for both public comment and public complaint (903/906)
- A district email address to ask questions, with approximate timeline for response
- Links to any public information related to agenda items at the board meeting
In the current environment of change and uncertainty, it is crucial that the school board and district leadership are communicating clearly about how to access information and how to view or attend school board meetings as well as how to participate via public comment.
IX. Additional Questions?
Please use the form below to submit any additional questions about coronavirus preparedness.