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Schools to get more state virus analysis to guide reopening

HARRISBURG (AP) — Under pressure to give schools more health guidance about how to safely reopen, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said Monday that it will provide recommendations to school districts based on the local rate of transmission of the coronavirus.

The Department of Health plans to provide an analysis showing the seven-day rate of transmission in each county and group those rates into three categories: low, moderate and substantial.

Lycoming County is classified as moderate, as are most of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts will be in the moderate category.

The department’s recommendation on how to reopen would be based on those categories. So, for areas with a low transmission rate, districts could adopt a partly remote or a full in-person instruction model. For areas with a moderate transmission rate, districts could adopt a partly remote or fully remote instruction model.

For areas with a substantial transmission rate, the department would recommend a fully remote instruction model.

While a county’s transmission rate and corresponding category could change week by week, Wolf’s administration said schools should consider changing their instructional models only after looking at the past two weeks of transmission.

It also said a significant or widespread outbreak may require moving to a more remote-based model more quickly.

The Wolf administration unveiled the information after the state’s school superintendents’ organization challenged it to provide more detailed public health guidance.

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