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WCSD takes safety action

On Thursday, Warren County School District canceled and postponed public events.

Those are the latest local impact of the coronavirus — declared a pandemic Wednesday by the World Health Organization.

So far, the district’s actions only impacted Thursday events — opening night of the All-County Musical Junior and middle school volleyball games involving Beaty-Warren Middle School, Eisenhower Middle School, and Tidioute Community Charter School — and a weekend Key Club field trip.

The Friday and Saturday performances of the musical were still on.

“The administration of the Warren County School District has elected to hit the pause button on various activities based on recent events and actions related to the coronavirus pandemic,” according to the release.

Practices were held Thursday. “Practices were not canceled given participation was limited to our student body,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said.

Scheduled banquets were allowed to go on.

After-school 21st Century program activities were also held.

Parents who are concerned to the point of taking their students out of school may do so.

“All student absences will be excused up through Monday, April 6, 2020,” according to the release.

The district will not prohibit, nor advise regarding, travel. However, there could be decisions made outside the district that impact students who travel.

“The district cannot advise individuals on travel decisions,” according to the release. “Anyone choosing to travel needs to be aware that the WCSD will abide by quarantines advised by the CDC.”

District officials will continue to make decisions based on the most current information.

“We have and continue to take many precautionary steps to minimize risk for our school community,” Stewart said. “We are trying to keep our school community safe.”

“The Warren County School District thanks you for your patience and understanding as it works with local and state authorities to react and plan for the coronavirus and its impact on our communities,” according to the release. “Coronavirus is on every parent, student and employee’s mind and the district is sharing several updates on preventative steps occurring to provide reassurance to our school community.”

District officials expect to receive guidance Friday morning.

“All Pennsylvania superintendents will participate in a brief with the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education on Friday, March 13, 2020 at 9 a.m., and the superintendent’s office will share an update following the brief,” Director of Pupil Service Dr. Patricia Hawley said in another Thursday release.

Wolf and Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine of the Department of Health are holding daily public press events.

Some decisions may be taken out of the district’s hands.

On Thursday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that all public schools in the state would close for three weeks starting Monday. Maryland’s Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon announced that the state’s public schools would close for two weeks.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has not taken that step. Yet.

“Tidioute Community Charter School has a plan in place if Governor Wolf or Secretary of Education Rivera were to close schools for a period of time,” CEO Dr. Doug Allen said. “Our current, tentative plan would allow for some essential employees to be working on site as necessary daily and it would provide educational activities for students to be completed at home.”

“In addition, if permitted and practical, meals may be available at TCCS for parent pick-up,” Allen said. “TCCS will follow the WCSD plan in general if schools were to close, although we are independently operated.”

Students in the district’s backpack program may receive additional materials on Friday if schools are closing for an extended period, according to the district release.

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