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July update on Penn Manor’s plans for the 2020-2021 school year

Dear Penn Manor Families,

In the three short weeks since our last update on June 30, there have been significant developments in relation to the start of the 2020-2021 school year which is scheduled to begin on August 31, 2020. On July 1, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health modified previous guidance on the wearing of masks and issued a new order that requires students and employees wear masks in schools. Also, on July 16 the Departments of Health and Education issued new health guidance for schools to incorporate into reopening plans. 

Due to the evolving guidance for schools, the School Board and district administration are taking a thoughtful and deliberate approach to school reopening planning. Working in conjunction with the Penn Manor Education Association, the district is planning three scenarios: a full physical return to buildings, an alternating day hybrid schedule, and a fully virtual option which will be greatly expanded from the emergency remote learning students and families experienced in the spring.

On July 13th, the “Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan” was shared with the board of school directors and can be viewed here. The school board is scheduled to vote on that plan at its August 3rd  meeting. It is important to note that this plan is subject to change, based on updated information and guidance related to the health and safety of students and staff.

Penn Manor’s “Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan” includes physical distancing practices, health screenings, reduced student movement through buildings, enhanced cleaning protocols with green products, and other measures recommended by health professionals for safely resuming in-person learning.

In accordance with an order from the state health department, all students and adults will be required to wear face masks and/or shields in our school buildings and buses. Exceptions may be permitted for individuals with medical conditions, including those with respiratory issues that impede breathing, mental health conditions or disabilities, and students who would be unable to remove a mask without assistance.

For parents who may not be comfortable with sending their child/children to school, the Penn Manor Virtual School program will be available for grades K through 12. The program, which has been successfully operating since 2011 for grades 7 through 12, is being expanded to a full-time elementary program for 2020-2021. Information on the 7-12 program is available here. Information on the elementary program will be available by July 28.

To keep you informed, we will continue to provide periodic updates about the 2020-2021 school year. You can expect to receive an update via email (also posted on the district website) on August 3. If additional information comes to light that should be shared with families, we will provide more updates through the same methods.

Michael G. Leichliter, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools