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).
The Latest Health and Safety Guidance from PDE and DOH
Wolf administration encourages schools to enforce 250-person limit at outdoor gathers
Last week, 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.
New resources are updates to the Public Health Guidance for School Communities originally released July 16.
Any questions regarding school reopening should be directed here: RA-EDContinuityofEd@pa.gov.
Preparing for a Fall Reopening
- 8/17/20 – Mask requirement released by PDE & DOH
The Pennsylvania Department of Education in cooperation with the Department of Health announced today, the requirement of all students to wear face coverings at all times, while in school. This is an update from the prior recommendation, in that, the requirement extends to instances when students and staff are able to maintain an appropriate six-foot social distance. The update is based on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) updated guidance strongly recommending children age two and older should wear face coverings at all times to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.For additional details, go to the PDE webpage – Answers to FAQs: Universal Face Coverings OrderPlease email any questions to RA-EDContinuityofEd@pa.gov.
- 8/17/20 – Overview of School District Obligations to Transport Students Enrolled in Non-Public Schools and Charter School
- 08/10/20 – PDE Announcement – Determining Instructional Models During the COVID -19 Pandemic: Recommendations for Pre-K to 12 Schools
- 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
Keeping Arts Education Supported & Thriving During COVID-19
- 2020 Pennsylvania Arts in Education Report
- Arts Education is Essential
- 6/20/20 – Best Practices and Solutions for Supporting Pennsylvania's K-12 School Phased Reopening Preliminary Guidance
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
- 9/3/20 – Broadband Access Statewide — A Talk with PA Rural Electric Association
- 8/31/20 – Legislative Lookback: Mandate, Liability Legislation on the Move
- 8/27/20 – Preparations for Reopening Schools: A Talk With Dr. David Christopher
- 8/24/20 – Legislative Lookback: Closing in on Schools Reopening
- 8/20/20 – In the Field Statewide: PSBA Member Services Team
- 8/17/20 – Legislative Look Back: Liability & Transportation Issues for Schools
- 8/13/20 – PSBA Communications — Many Ways to Stay Informed
- 8/10/20 – Legislative Look Back: PSBA Testimony to House Education Committee
- 8/6/20 – Coordinating COVID Mitigation Efforts at County Level – With CCAP
- 8/3/20 – Masks for Schools and a Federal COVID Funding Update
View more on our YouTube channel.
#PASchoolsReady Twitter Feed
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.