The evolving situation surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19 has propelled the commonwealth and the world into an unprecedented scenario. While the uncertainties can be unsettling, we know that Pennsylvania has courage and through this, we will come back stronger together.
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.
This Just In: School District Reopening Plan Reports
Each school entity in Pennsylvania must create a Health and Safety Plan that will serve as the local guidelines for all school reopening activities. Click here to access a list of schools that have submitted their Healthy and Safety Plans to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
Preparing for a Fall Reopening
- 8/7/2020 – PIAA Press Release
- Energy Solutions: PSBA’s New Member Service
- Baker Cleaning Solutions: Victory Professional Cordless Electrostatic Sprayers
- Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates – A Clearinghouse of Resources to Aid in Reopening Schools
- Keystone Purchasing Network: The UVC Solution
- Siemens Solutions: COVID-19 Coming Back with Confidence
- The Nutrition Group: Student access to healthy, nutritious and wholesome meals
- Triangle Communications: Motorola Solutions to Mange Today’s Challenges
- 7/16/20 – From the DOH and PDE – Public Health Guidance Regarding COVID-19 for Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools
- This announcement courtesy of the Pennsylvania School Bus Association: PennDOT Issues Statement on Driver Barriers
- State-Specific School Safety Information and Resources
- 6/26/20 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) releases strategies for safer buildings and offers science-backed public health solutions in the reopening of public buildings. For the full report on school reopening strategies: Reopening America: Strategies for Safer Schools.
- 4/29/20 – AFT Launches Landmark Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities
- 4/24/20 – NPR: 9 Ways Schools Will Look Different When (And If) They Reopen
A Creative Response: How School Districts Respond
Challenges can incite innovation. Keep track of how districts around the state are responding creatively to the needs of students and community. Select a book symbol to read an article about a district in the area and select a video symbol to watch an installment of Video EDition remote featuring a local school leader or legislator.
Video Edition Remote: Educational Updates from Legislators and School Leaders
- 7/20/20 – Legislative Look Back: New Guidance from PDE & Bills Introduced
- 7/16/20 – Mitigating and Planning for COVID-19: Talk With the PA Medical Society
- 7/13/20 – Legislative Look Back: Current Advocacy Topics
- 7/9/20 – Gifted Education During the Pandemic: A Talk With PAGE
- 7/6/20 – Legislative Look Back: CARES Act Funds and Remote Instructional Days
- 7/2/20 – Reopening School Sports: A Talk With Holly Farnese
View more on our YouTube channel.
#PASchoolsReady Twitter Feed
Free cloth masks available for PA districts
Through the generosity of clothing company Bella+Canvas and tennis pro Serena Williams, in partnership with the National School Boards Association, PSBA has received an allocation of 80,000 free face masks to distribute to the public school students of Pennsylvania. These are intended to supplement current efforts for students in need or students who may not have access to protective face masks. If your district requires masks, please ask your superintendent’s office to email email@example.com, and 500 masks will be sent to your district. As there are a limited number of masks available, they will be distributed on a first-come basis to those who reach out to PSBA no later than Wednesday, August 5, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.