August 20, 2021
Dear PLSD Staff, Parents, Guardians, and Community:
It’s hard to believe that summer break has come and gone already. We now look forward to the new and exciting 2021-2022 school year. It’s going to be an incredible year of learning and opportunity! Our team has been working diligently and extremely hard in preparing our school facilities for a safe return to in-person instruction. The purpose of this letter is to provide everyone with an update regarding the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. We are excited to return to a full-day, five days per week, in-person program beginning on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. As required in the American Rescue Plan, PLSD has established A Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services, hereinafter referred to as our Health and Safety Plan. Our overarching main goal is to have five days of in-person learning each week, and all current decisions and future decisions will be focused on achieving this goal.
Health and Safety Plan
On August 9, 2021, the Purchase Line School District’s Board of School Directors approved an updated Health and Safety Plan for the 2021-2022 school year. This plan is intended to be a fluid document that will be updated in response to changing conditions and/or local, regional, state, or federal guidance. To ensure the effectiveness of the plan, it will continue to be a standing agenda item at monthly board meetings, at which time the Board can revisit and revise the plan based upon the guidance of local and state health officials. We are committed to mitigation efforts that will minimize the spread of COVID-19, specifically the Delta variant. These are the points for families to know as we continue to plan for the start of the 2021-2022 school year:
Per the CDC’s order on wearing masks on public transportation, regardless of the school mask policy, masks are required to be worn by passengers and drivers on school buses.
Masking will be optional on school grounds when students return to school on August 25, 2021. However, those individuals who are not vaccinated, under the age of 12, or who are at a high risk, are not required, but should continue to wear masks as per CDC guidance.
We will strive for 3-6 feet of separation with students and 6 feet for adults to the maximum extent feasible.
Contact tracing will continue to identify and quarantine close contacts when positive COVID cases are identified. The District will continue to consult with the Pennsylvania Department of Health about contact tracing. If a person is required to quarantine, he/she is not allowed to attend school or school activities.
Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms but known exposure: Such individuals should get tested 3-5 days after known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until they receive a negative test result. Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be restricted from work/school following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, if they follow the testing and masking recommendation above.
The District’s Health and Safety plan can change quickly. We will monitor local data as well as guidance and mandates from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, CDC, and other local, state, and federal agencies. The plan will be amended as necessary to meet our goal of maintaining five days of in-person learning as well as providing the safest environment for our students and staff.
Educational Reopening Plan 2021-2022
Purchase Line Elementary School and Purchase Line Junior/Senior High School offer rigorous curriculums, taught in-person, that are aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Content Standards.
The Purchase Line School District also offers enrollment in the Red Dragon Cyber Academy (RDCA) to students in grades K-12 seeking an asynchronous learning environment that takes into account the need for more flexibility in continuing their path to high school graduation.
Students may enroll in the RDCA at the beginning of the school year and then on a NINE-WEEK CYCLE after that, with the requirement of a two-week prior notice given to the school guidance office.
Students who are not maintaining adequate academic progress in the RDCA may be required to return to in-person instruction at Purchase Line Elementary School or Purchase Line Junior/Senior High School for their education.
PLSD will work with students who are required to be quarantined as a result of COVID-19 to provide remote learning. Let me emphasize, remote learning options will only be used for students in quarantine situations.
District Communication Regarding Positive COVID-19 Cases
Close contacts will be notified individually.
District case numbers will be reported weekly through the COVID-19 dashboard which can be found on the PLSD website.
No mass communication will be sent out regarding positive cases.
Will Schools Have to Close this Year?
A maximum 14-day suspension of in-school learning may be needed as directed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health if the following criteria are met:
25 cases reported in a 14-day window in the elementary school or junior/senior high school.
3 simultaneous classroom and/or core group outbreaks within a 14-day period.
We may have to consider short-term closures for staffing shortages, student quarantines that become disruptive, or monitoring close cases.
I look forward to welcoming students and staff back to the 2021-2022 school year. I am confident that despite any challenges we may face, this will be a successful school year. As I have stated repeatedly, we appreciate your support, flexibility, and patience as we continue to navigate these challenging times.
Shawn L. Ford