Monday, August 8, 2022

Reopening School & COVID 19

Bear Creek Community Charter School's Plan

The health, safety, and well-being of our students and our staff is our highest priority. Everyone wants life to return to normal, including our school environment. That being said, we are faced with not only an extraordinary public health crisis, but also a great deal of uncertainty. That uncertainty, coupled with little scientific data available and a great deal of differing opinions, makes the process of reopening school extremely complicated.

All stakeholders should be mindful that as long as there are cases of COVID-19 in the community, there are no strategies that can completely eliminate transmission risk within a school population. The goal is to keep transmission as low as possible to safely continue school activities.

Bear Creek Community Charter School published an initial School Reopening Health & Safety Plan back in the Summer of 2020. A Revised Reopening Plan is now available following the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will allow all students to return to full-time, in-person instruction with appropriate health and safety measures in place.

Pennsylvania Department of Education

On August 13, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of health released Recommendations on Procedures to Follow When Responding to COVID-19 Cases in Pre-K to 12 School Settings. This health-focused guidance will serve as an additional resource to help schools plan as we ensure the health and safety of our school communities throughout the 2020-21 academic year. When a case of COVID-19 is identified in a school setting, public health staff from DOH or the county or municipal health department will work with school administrators to provide additional guidance and advice related to cleaning and disinfecting, contact tracing and quarantine recommendations, and closing certain areas of the school or an entire school building if necessary.

On July 16, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Department of Education issued Public Health Guidance for School Communities, to assist Pre-K to 12 schools in developing and implementing Health and Safety Plans for safely returning to in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance was update on August 13, 2020.

On July 2, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Education provided Pennsylvania’s public schools a Roadmap for Educational Leaders, identifying six key processes essential for ensuring systems and policies are flexible and responsive to the needs of students and school communities particularly in the rapidly changing environment of the pandemic. Systemic inequities have exacerbated gaps in academic development, social and emotional wellbeing, and other outcomes among some of our most vulnerable students. In many cases, these gaps will persist and have lasting detrimental effects well into adulthood. As this framework is populated with additional resources, it will support school administrators in:

  • Establishing a culture of collective responsibility for the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of all students (especially students who are economically disadvantaged, students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, and other vulnerable populations);
  • Prioritizing effective instructional practice, including strong standards-based instruction, data- based planning, differentiation, and individualization;
  • Maintaining a positive climate conducive to teaching and learning that supports social and emotional development and health and wellness; and
  • Creating and supporting high levels of learning for all students through high-quality, embedded professional learning opportunities for school leaders, educators, and support staff.

On June 24, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Education built upon existing school reopening guidance by releasing Considerations for Reopening Pennsylvania’s Schools, prepared in partnership with the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic at Mathematica, one of the nation’s foremost social policy research firms. This report summarizes existing research on COVID-19 and generates a Pennsylvania-specific body of research - both qualitative and quantitative - that can inform decision making around completion of local health and safety plans, preparations for resumption of in-person teaching and learning, and development of supports for student and staff wellness.

On June 10, 2020 the Governor’s Office and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) issued Preliminary School Sports' Guidance for schools. This information will allow each school to resume voluntary sports’ related activities and to develop their own Athletics, Health and Safety Plan. The guidance stipulates each school in Yellow and Green phase counties is to have a RTP plan in place to ensure that all sport teams and organizations conduct their operations in the manner best designed to prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of the athletes and the communities they serve. Any sporting activities in Yellow or Green phased counties must adhere to the gathering limitations set forth by the Governor's Plan for Phased Reopening (maximum of 25 people in the Yellow phase; no more than 250 people or 50 percent of the facility’s total occupancy, whichever is less, in the Green Phase). All activities must still be in accordance with PIAA out-of season rules and regulations.

On June 3, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released Preliminary Guidance Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools, which was made available to aid in planning for a return to in-person instruction, delivery of services, and resumption of extracurricular activities – including those provided within schools by external organizations. This guidance serves as a starting point for school leaders to consider in their preparations for the upcoming year, and applies to school districts, charter schools, regional charter schools, cyber charter schools, career and technical centers, and intermediate units. This guidance will continue to evolve as further research, data, and resources become available. Additional guidance is forthcoming and will outline steps for school openings while addressing safe operations, teaching and learning, and student wellness with attention to equity throughout.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

As some communities in the United States open K-12 schools, CDC offers considerations for ways in which schools can help protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff and slow the spread of COVID-19. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community. After reviewing the considerations listed on CDC’s web site, school administrators can use CDC’s K-12 Schools Readiness and Planning Tool to protect students, staff and communities.

Pennsylvania Department of Health

Information is available from the Pennsylvania Department of Health including signs and symptoms of COVID 19, recommendations to stop the spread, data on infections and deaths, testing information, and information in multiple languages.

Frequently Asked Questions for Bear Creek Community Charter School Families

This section of our web site will pose questions frequently asked by parents and other stakeholders, and will provide answers or other resources that we hope our parents and staff find useful. This information will be updated frequently.

How and Where Can I Get Tested for COVID 19? - If you feel you or your child has been exposed to COVID 19 or are exhibiting symptoms of the virus, you should contact your primary care physician for guidance. They are in the best position to determine the next course of action. Do not send your child to daycare or school until they have visited a physician. There are a handful of resources within the community that support COVID 19 testing, but many require a physician referral and/or a schedule appointment.

Geisinger Medical Center South Wilkes-Barre
Call (570) 284-3657

Rite Aid Pharmacy – Plains Township
Call (570) 824-7242