Loyalsock Township School District aims to stick with in-person instruction plan

Loyalsock Township Superintendent Gerald McLaughlin told the district’s board that plans to bring students back to school for the fall five days a week for in-person instruction are moving forward with the date for opening set at Aug. 31.

McLaughlin made the comments at the board’s meeting held virtually Wednesday night.

The superintendent did cite the recommendations that were issued this week from the Wolf administration regarding schools opening under three thresholds based on the incidence rate and the positive percentage rate of cases.

Lycoming County is categorized as moderate and the recommendations suggest that schools offer a hybrid model of instruction.

“We submitted a (health and safety) plan to the board on July 29. Our plan is to continue to move forward with it and to make modifications if necessary,” he said.

“At this time, the plan is to move forward with five days per week. We will monitor the levels and the metrics each and every week,” he added.

McLaughlin said the district is opening up a frequently asked question section on its website and that he encourages parents to email the district office with any questions they might have about the process.

“We want to be clear about our plan as we move forward,” he said.

He did stress that the wearing of masks is mandatory while in school buildings and students who do not comply, unless there is a medical reason, will be asked to leave the building. He said that recent guidance from the state has made this point more stringent for schools.

“We will be looking at wearing that mask, more so in the classroom. Whenever possible we will take mask breaks,” McLaughlin said.

The guidance calls for students who are not six feet apart or eating or drinking to wear masks.

“The old language was to the maximum extent possible. The new language clearly defines six feet as a guideline,” he added.

Speaking about the fate of fall sports in the district, McLaughlin noted the district is waiting to hear what the final recommendation is from the PIAA. He added that Loyalsock’s student athletes have been focusing on pre-season work-outs in anticipation of the final word from the state organization.

“We will make a decision when we have some definitive guidance,” he told the board.

McLaughlin said that new information and any updates to the reopening plan will be on the district’s website.

“We’re looking to work with our teachers, our administrative team, our employees. We’re all in this together and we’re going to need cooperation from our students, from our parents as we move forward with the plan,” he stressed.


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