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South Williamsport board reveals back-to-school plans

The health and safety plan for South Williamsport Area School District this fall will include face masks and shields, sanitizing stations and iPads for all students.

To best implement social distancing and remain safe from the spread of COVID-19, district students will rotate between reporting to school buildings for learning two days a week and staying home the other three days for their education, Superintendent Dr. Mark Stamm reported to the school board Monday night.

“This is not where I want to be,” Stamm said. “But I do think it’s safest for students and staff. I would much rather be in-person every day.”

He conceded that the plan will pose challenges for educating students.

At least one board member expressed concern about students falling out of a routine of learning by reporting to school just twice a week.

He emphasized the importance of ensuring that students with COVID-19 symptoms not report to school and that parents monitor their children for coronavirus.

The plan follows Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Health guidelines, Stamm said.

He noted it was developed this month in consultation with a team of parents, students, staff, employee association representatives and administrators.

“Preliminary surveys from parents, students and staff collected in late June were also utilized as part of the plan development,” he said. “As we have seen, the challenges of responding to the pandemic change regularly. The plan is intended to contain enough flexibility to respond to the ongoing changes as they occur.”

Stamm said the district consulted with UPMC and local health officials in developing the plan which is to be monitored throughout the school year.

“The first days will be anxious for all of us,” Stamm said.

He noted that the plan had called for providing single-person desks for all elementary students. However, the desks were simply not available for purchase.

He noted that there certainly could be adjustments made to the plan.

“The reality is the school year is coming,” Stamm said.

In other action, the board approved an agreement with Justice Works YouthCare for alternative education for disruptive youth for the coming school year.

The board approved an agreement with Bayada Home Health Care Inc. for 2020-21 for nursing services when the regular school nurse or a substitute nurse is unavailable for field trips or other school-related activities off school property.

In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignations of Jessalee Kline, instructional para-professional for supplemental learning support, and cafeteria employee Jacquelyn Shifflet.

The board met in executive session prior to the meeting to consider legal issues.

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