August 20, 2021
As our first day of school approaches, I am optimistic about the school year to come and look forward to welcoming students back on Monday, August 23. Over the past several weeks, our staff has worked diligently to prepare the buildings for the 2021-2022 school year. Careful health and safety considerations have been given to each part of the school day, including during lunch periods. In addition, building principals have adjusted lunch plans with the goal to maximize physical distance whenever feasible.
We know that in-person instruction is the strongest and most beneficial learning model for the majority of our students. The District’s goal for the 2021-22 school year is to maximize in-person learning and minimize any disruptions caused by COVID outbreaks and community spread.
As of August 9, we implemented a universal masking requirement for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status, while indoors in our schools. This updated health and safety strategy is in line with the CDC’s recommendation and includes careful consideration of local conditions. The Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Allegheny County Health Department support and endorse these guidelines in communities, while in substantial transmission.
By beginning the school year with this updated health and safety strategy, we will be well-positioned to provide the best education possible for each and every student. However, as we have seen over the last 18 months, COVID conditions can change rapidly. For that reason, the school board of directors authorized the administration to adjust mitigation strategies where circumstances and guidance have warranted. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to monitor the emerging data and information as it pertains to our health and safety plan guidelines.
We all share the responsibility to practice and model behaviors that have been shown to limit the spread of COVID-19. We once again encourage families to remind students of the best practices in regard to hand washing, managing coughs and sneezes, monitoring personal health, and staying home if not feeling well.
Each of these steps will assist our schools and community mitigate the spread of the virus and allow for continued success in keeping our schools open and safe for in-person learning.
Timothy J. Steinhauer, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools