January 13, 2021
Back in March of 2020, no one could have expected that COVID-19 would still be creating havoc in our lives today. We understand the significant impact that it has played on the students, families of Mercersburg Elementary School. The challenges faced by our students, families, faculty, and staff have and continue to be tremendous.
As many of you are aware, both the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education has encouraged a return to face-to-face instruction for elementary students. We will be welcoming students back on the 19th of January, however, please understand that we are not out of the woods just yet. We will still need to reinforce face coverings, social distancing, and good hand washing. We will be also held to the PA Department of Health recommendations for school closing in the event that the need arises.
It is imperative for parents/guardians to complete the daily health screening ( linked below) with their child daily. If your child does exhibit any symptoms, please err on the side of caution and keep them home. Sending a child to school with symptoms can inadvertently cause a spread throughout the school and cause additional closures.
I, like you, want to have all of our children back in person, and we all need to do our part. Please understand that there may be times when we may have to isolate certain sections of the school or close for a period of time to meet the department of health guidelines.
While we transition back to in-person instruction, I ask that you please be patient and understand that we are following guidelines that are laid out by the PA Department of Health and PA Department of Education.
From Mr. Benedick
Good Evening. As you are well aware, our “full remote” education period is scheduled to finish tomorrow and we have an Act 80 Day on Friday. You may also be aware that our School Board approved Monday night to follow my recommendation(s) regarding instructional model(s). I have received many inquiries from both families and staff as to whether we will be returning to school in person next week as scheduled.
I will post a detailed letter/message on our website tomorrow. Here is my current recommendation/plan:
- We will doing a “phased” return to in-person learning;
- Grades K-8 will be returning next Tuesday as approved “tentatively” in December;
- FCCTC students will return to the Career Center on Tuesday;
- Other students grades 9-12 will plan to return to in-person learning on Monday, January 25TH;
- Cyber Wednesdays will continue at least through March 24th, 2021.
As with everything since March, this is subject to change. We will continue to monitor staff numbers and will attempt to get student information for the rest of this week. I will make any necessary changes to my recommendations as appropriate.
I understand that this email will be read with mixed reviews. Please know I do not make these very difficult decisions without much deliberation, thought, and sleepless nights. Thank you and be well.
URGENT HEALTH MESSAGE
- Date of the exposure
- The date the symptoms started
- Has the child or family member been tested for COVID-19
If you are looking to return to in-person instruction from the Rocketedge program, that request needs to be submitted ASAP for your child to return to instruction starting the 3rd marking period ( Jan 25). If you would like to enroll your child in our cyber program, please click on the same link below.
Face Covering Guidance from the state.
Per the updated order, TSD staff, students, and visitors are required to wear a face-covering indoors and outdoors. This is a change to the previous expectation due to the recently revised mask order. Also, per the strengthened masking order, “face covering” means covering of the nose and mouth with a material that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. This new order requires face shields be an alternative only as a medical/disability accommodation. This updated order strengthens the initial April 15 order with the following inclusions:
- Masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.
- When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not in your household the entire time you are outdoors.
- When indoors while at work, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from other individuals. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside unless you work alone.
- When indoors at home with individuals not in your household, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from the individuals not in your household. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household.
- This order applies to every indoor facility, including homes, retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and anywhere food is prepared, packaged, or served.
- The mask order specifically carves out “face shields” from the working definition of “face coverings” and identifies them as “alternatives to face coverings” that can only be used as a medical/disability accommodation.
- The Secretary of Health issued an order requiring anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth.
- If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania.
- Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth or to quarantine for 10 days upon return to Pennsylvania. This does NOT apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.
Please see the list of cyber Wednesday's below.
Notes to school
- Include the child's FIRST AND LAST NAME on any notes sent from home.
- When your child is absent from school, a note stating the reason for the absence must be submitted within 3 days upon their return to school. PLEASE CONSIDER EMAILING ABSENT NOTES TO THE SECRETARY AT firstname.lastname@example.org
- Notes should be sent anytime you are planning to pick up your child for an early dismissal.
- No bus passes will be given for a change in transportation unless prearranged through the transportation department.
- Please remember if you are going on an educational trip, please see the state quarantine list linked in this newsletter. Please complete your educational trip request two weeks prior.
Lost and Found
WHEN PICKING UP YOUR CHILD AS A CAR RIDER, PLEASE HAVE YOUR CHILD'S FIRST AND LAST NAME ON A SHEET OF PAPER VISABLE IN THE CARE. THIS WILL ALLOW FOR AN EASIER PROCESS. THIS WOULD BE HELPFUL ON A DAILY BASIS.