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District to hold second round of focus groups

With the start of the school year less than a month away, the Warren County School District is still working to get information to the public.

A second round of parent focus groups will be held during the week of Aug. 17 through 20 for each of the district’s attendance areas.

Meetings will be held virtually, using Zoom.

Here is the schedule:

Central Attendance Area — 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17

East Attendance Area — 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18

West Attendance Area — 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19

North Attendance Area — 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20

Invitations to the Zoom events will be posted on the district’s website — wcsdpa.org.

Superintendent Amy Stewart will host the meetings. “These will be similar to the first set of parent focus groups, for which the district received positive feedback,” she said.

FAQ

The district has also updated its frequently asked questions publication — also found on the district website.

The 29-page document includes sections regarding safety and health; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and educational options.

Some key points and recently-change entries follow.

Regarding masks: “The current order from the Department of Health states that all people above the age of two need to wear a face covering when they are unable to keep six feet of physical distance. Students and staff will be required to wear a face covering while in the school and unable to maintain physical distancing when they are not eating. Students will be able to remove masks when they are able to maintain six feet of physical distancing.”

“Students will not be permitted to use District transportation without wearing a face covering.”

Face shields are acceptable alternatives to masks, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Students will be encouraged to bring the masks they feel comfortable in, but, for those who forget, the district has 100,000 disposable masks available, including on buses. The district also has one face shield for every students in grades kindergarten through five and for every employee.

Students who have medical conditions that preclude them from wearing masks must present documentation to that effect. “Students will need to have written medical documentation provided to the district in order to not wear a face covering at school or on district transportation.” In those cases, the district will follow provisions established by the Department of Health.

The district will not take each student’s temperature as they enter school buildings.

“Staff and substitutes will continue to self-screen every day. Our medical experts, as well as a formal study conducted by PDE indicate that this is not a wise use of time or resources as fever is not a reliable indicator for children. The District asks that parents do a temperature check of their child(ren) before sending them on the bus or to school for the day.”

There may be more than 25 students in classrooms and other spaces.

“The current order of no more than 25 people inside does not apply to schools.”

Regular cleaning is part of the requirement and students in grades five through 12 may participate in some cleaning. “All classrooms will be equipped with necessary cleaning products.”

Regarding questions about the possibility of an entire school shutting if one case is confirmed: “Positive cases will have to be handled on a case by case basis. The Department of Health will make decisions based upon the contact the child has had.”

Virtual Academy courses are weighted the same as in-person courses. “WCSD Virtual Academy courses count toward both GPA and class rank.”

The district does not expect a repeat of the end of the 2019-2020 school year, even if schools are closed. “The traditional grading system will be used.”

The district is not advising families about whether or not they should send their students back to school in person or virtually.

“All questions regarding health care and risk should be discussed with your personal doctor. The District will be making staffing decisions in the very near future, so we encourage you to reach out to the HR department very soon to work through your options.”

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