Dear BEA Community:
I wanted to update you on the progress of our School District’s Safety and Instructional Plans. We have approximately forty people involved in developing our plans. The groups are made up of administrators, teachers, staff, and a Board member. It is our intention to have the Safety Plan draft completed by the end of next week and the Instruction Plan draft soon after. We will be sending our plans to our school solicitor for review and then posting them on our website and the district’s Facebook page. There will be a Special Board Meeting, likely July 30 at 7:00 p.m. to approve the plan.
I want to personally thank those directly involved in working on these plans, as well as, the hundreds of parents, teachers, and staff that participated in answering our surveys. Your responses were very helpful and informative and have been incorporated into our plan.
As you know, Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine came out with some stricter guidance on wearing masks in public places, including schools. With that said, there is some flexibility with her guidance that we will be incorporating into our plans. Here are some definitive items that will be included in our plans:
- Masks or Face Coverings will be mandatory on district buses and vans for all students and the drivers.
- Students will not be required to wear masks or face coverings during instruction, but staff likely will be required to do so with certain exceptions.
- Students will be required to wear masks in the hallways during class changes due to the sheer number and close proximity they will be with each other.
- Our plan will be flexible, offering parents in-school instruction or virtual instruction.
- CPI students will be able to attend classes in person at CPI.
- PIAA is expected to notify the public by August 1 if there will be Fall Sports. If there is no football this year, there will also not be a Marching Band.
- The school nurses and possibly administration will be sending correspondence to all parents in regards to various items the district will provide to families including: oral digital thermometers, masks, face shields, needs of students and staff to accommodate specific medical needs, and other items/information that will be needed so the district is prepared to meet the needs of all students and staff with specific medical conditions.
- There have been rumors circulating in the community that some students with certain medical conditions will be segregated from the other students. That is absolutely not true. No student will be segregated or separated from their peers unless requested by the parent(s) of the child.
- The previous items listed are if we are in the Green (current) Phase or Yellow Phase. If we would go to the Red Phase, all learning will be online with the specific details still being worked out by the Instructional Committee.
- Most importantly, parents and the schools must work together as a team. It is imperative that you take your child’s temperature in the morning prior to them leaving for school and keeping your child at home if their temperature is 100.4 degrees or above before taking any medications. This will help tremendously to ensure that we have less exposure to the virus at school. While there are many people that are asymptomatic and can spread the virus, we need to do everything possible to prevent the spread of the virus.
- If we go to the Yellow Phase, all staff and students will have their temperatures checked by school staff prior to entering the school in the morning.
- The district is currently testing a device called a bi-polar ionization machine. It is supposed to kill bacteria and some viruses while being completely harmless to humans. If we find through our testing that the device works, all classrooms will have a device installed in them. Several hospitals, including Johns Hopkins are using the device so this could be very successful in helping to kill bacteria and germs in the classroom that could be potentially harmful.
The Bald Eagle Area School District’s number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. We are committed to working with parents and staff to have a smooth transition back to school. We live in uncertain times, but I hope that this letter gives you some comfort in knowing we are committed to creating a Safety and Instructional Plan that meets the needs of all students and staff.
Enjoy your summer, stay safe, and more information will be forthcoming in the next couple weeks.
Scott V. Graham, Superintendent
BALD EAGLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT