EASD Communication & Resources

April 1, 2020

We are midway through the first week of online learning at EASD, and we would like to thank those who have been participating in the various activities, assignments, and challenges being shared each day by our teachers! If you have not had a chance to get into a routine yet, we encourage you to develop a schedule that can work within your household to start ASAP.

As we look ahead to next week and beyond, we have the following updates to share:

  • We will be making use of the built-in weather make-up days on Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 9 as two virtual learning days. Students will still have off from virtual learning as scheduled on Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13.
  • We have established work-time guidelines for how long it should take students to complete online learning activities. The maximum amount of time spent daily for students in grades K-6 is about two hours and for grades 7-12 is about three hours. As we are all new at teaching and learning in the virtual environment, it may take us another week or so to calibrate to these target times; so, please be patient.
  • Information about when teachers will hold “virtual office hours” will be shared next week to help support the ongoing communication between school and home. During this time, teachers can hold virtual meetings with students, be available for phone calls and questions from parents/guardians and students, or simply be readily available for supporting student learning on an as-needed basis.

We value your partnership and ongoing communication as we respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and school closure. To further that communication, you will receive an invitation this Friday to complete a weekly parent/guardian survey to share your feedback on how online learning is going and suggest ways we can make our programs more effective. Please watch for that email and survey link.

 

April 1, 2020

Pennsylvania Department of Education Continuation of Education Plan

 

March 30, 2020

Governor Wolf recently announced the closure of PA schools for an undetermined amount of time and extended the stay at home order for Lancaster County through the end of April.

Throughout the school closure, the District remains committed to offering online learning to keep students engaged in their education. Today, we completed day one of online learning and are hopeful your son or daughter was able to access instructional components, resources, and communicated with his or her teacher. Thank you for your patience during any technical glitches that you or your child may have experienced as we are aware of issues today with both Schoology and SeeSaw. Remember, this is our first day of online instruction as well, so please make sure that communication continues between you, your child, and his/her teacher.  Please contact your child’s school if you’re having difficulties.

Also, regarding online learning, our programs offered online to all students are optional but highly important. Progress along the curriculum depends on your support of your child’s participation in these online educational activities. Material this week should be review to allow students and teachers to get used to the online learning environment. While activities completed online at this point will not be graded, feedback will be provided on completed assignments and activities. Depending on how well this week goes, we may be moving into new content starting as early as next week.

Communication during this closure is an important ingredient to success in any learning environment, and a virtual one is no different. Please reach out to your teacher, guidance counselor, or school principal if more or a different mode of communication is needed. Communication can be accomplished via phone, e-mail, or video conference if needed.

We recognize that there are situations that make it difficult for students and parents to access educational resources and communicate with the school using the online tools. We are working on some potential solutions to these situations within each building and will be in touch later this week with additional information. If you have immediate questions regarding access to resources or specific situations making it difficult to engage in the online learning activities, please contact your building principal for assistance.

Finally, balancing student work time online with other healthy activities during this closure is important as well. We suggest structuring the day in a way that fits your home situation and includes time away from screens participating in some sort of physical activity. As always please let us know if we can support you in any way.

 

March 27, 2020

CLICK HERE for the message to elementary families regarding online learning.

 

March 25, 2020

(Updated at 5:00 PM to reflect optional status of the COE program.)

Since the extended statewide school closure, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has provided guidelines for districts to introduce more organized online learning opportunities.  Ephrata Area School District will begin online learning on Monday, March 30 for all students.

Throughout this school year, our teachers have been using SeeSaw (K-4) and Schoology (Grades 5-12) as classroom tools to improve communication related to classroom activities among students, parents, and teachers.  Since the closure, teachers have been using these same tools to reach out and connect with students to see how everyone was coping with the closure.

Throughout this week, teachers are getting support through online training and time to prepare instructional activities and design lessons to be delivered online for all students. Like many of the practices, we are all being asked to adjust in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teaching in an online environment is a new territory for our teachers. While our entire district is working hard to prepare for next week, we will ask for your patience and flexibility as we try our best to provide valuable educational experiences through the remainder of this closure.

As we progress, it is important that you support your son/daughter to participate in the coursework being offered in this virtual learning environment. It is important to note that these activities are OPTIONAL for students and part of the District Continuation of Education (COE) program required of all school districts in the state.

We recognize that learning in an online environment is also new for our students. Accordingly, we are spending the first week of our COE program focusing on content that has already been taught during this school year. Activities for week one will be review, enrichment, or extension assignments on familiar content so that students can get adjusted to the format in which assignments are presented. Communication during week one will be ongoing between students, parents, and teachers through the online learning tools, and more formally through a district-wide survey.

We have received questions regarding graduation, grade progression, and how the calendar may be adjusted if the closure is extended. While we are certainly considering all potential future realities so that we can adjust accordingly, we believe it is premature to make any definitive plans on many of these items as our situation continues to change by the day. We can say that our intention is to provide instruction on the key competencies through our COE program to provide all students who participate the ability to progress to the next year, course, or graduation (for seniors) that they would have under normal circumstances. Additionally, we do believe that the success of our COE program will be a key factor in how early we will be able to end the school year for students.

Lastly, with the state-directed school closure currently scheduled to end just before the holiday break, we presently intend for students to return to school on Tuesday, April 14.

 

 

March 24, 2020

Kindergarten Parents/Guardians:

Since Governor Wolf’s announcement yesterday to extend the school closure longer than originally anticipated, Ephrata Area School District is looking for more ways to expand online learning opportunities for our students.  Because of device availability, iPads were not initially sent home with kindergarteners.  In the coming weeks, your child’s kindergarten teacher may be posting enrichment activities that require online access.  If your family is in need of a device to help your kindergartener access this content, we may be able to help.  Please contact your child’s school by Thursday, March 26, leave a message with your child’s name, your need for a device, and contact information.  If you have other questions, please reach out to your child’s principal.

 

March 23, 2020

This afternoon, Governor Wolf announced all schools in the Commonwealth will remain closed for students through at least Wednesday, April 8, as a result of the COVID-19 response efforts. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, “The closure order could be extended beyond April 8 if necessary to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Additionally, it was announced today all standardized testing for students in career and technical education (CTE) programs have been cancelled. These include exams from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) and National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

All Ephrata Area School District offices will remain closed, and access to buildings will continue to be by appointment only. Parents and students should leave a voicemail, preferably a day in advance, with the reason they need to access the building and a time window that they are available. They will be contacted within 24 hours to arrange details.

Thank you for taking advantage of the ONLINE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES we have posted on our website and interacting with teachers through a variety of online platforms. We intend to continue and grow these efforts. Keep watch for an emailed survey to obtain feedback on the ways we can make improvements and work together to keep young minds working.

Ephrata Area School District will also continue to provide free weekday breakfasts and lunches for all children ages 18 and under several times per week. The next meal distributions will be from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM at Ephrata High School, Clay and Fulton Elementary Schools on Wednesday, March 25; Friday, March 27; Tuesday, March 31; Thursday, April 2; and Tuesday, April 7. Please note the updated timeframe of 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM and be reminded that children must be present at the time of meal pick-up.

If you could you use a hand with getting your child(ren) to a meal pick-up or have additional needs, a growing list of community organizations have offered to help District families. CLICK HERE and please do not hesitate to contact any of the organizations listed to obtain assistance.  If you are interested in volunteering your time, please contact these organizations directly.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate these unchartered waters together. Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is extremely rewarding to observe and experience the ways our community continues to support each other during these challenging times.

 

 

March 20, 2020

As we reach the end of the first week of the COVID-19 school closure, we continue to see enriching learning activities happening in every building and at every level this week. We have some outstanding and innovative teachers coming up with solutions to challenges and creative ways to use the technology and resources in the home to stay connected and keep minds working! This is new territory for all of us, and I could not be prouder of the great work by our EASD staff and students.

We are continually updating the District website with educational resources and wanted to draw your attention to this latest one from Education Reimagined as it includes quality resources for students, teachers, parents, communities, and more.

Additionally, we have posted information on a new program available to help families who need high speed Internet access.  CLICK HERE to learn more about the Blue Ridge Communications Learning From Home Initiative. 

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Education shared that students will not be required to take PSSA and Keystone tests this year. At EASD, we are thankful for this relief and recognize that the scores from these tests do not reflect all of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that we value most.

Finally, the next “grab-and-go” meals will be distributed on Monday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 25 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM at Ephrata High School, Fulton and Clay Elementary Schools.  Please be reminded, children MUST be present to receive meals.  In order ensure proper food preparation, please take a moment to complete this short questionnaire, if you plan to pick up a meal.  If you need assistance traveling to these meal distributions, please contact any of these organizations who have offered to lend a hand during the school closure.

 

 

March 19, 2020

Upcoming breakfast and lunch meal distribution dates:

DATES:  Monday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 25

TIME:  10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

WHERE:

  • Ephrata High School: Enter auditorium parking lot from Old Mill Road.  Pick-up will be by the courtyard entrance.
  • Fulton Elementary School: Enter rear parking lot and use the drop-off/pick-up loop.
  • Clay Elementary School: Pull up to the front entrance.

In order ensure proper food preparation, please take a moment to complete this short questionnaire, if you plan to pick up a meal.  Children MUST be present to receive meals.

Please contact the District Food Services Department with any questions at 717-721-1400, extension 11302.

 

 

March 19, 2020

With the rising COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania, neighboring counties, and one confirmed in Lancaster County, several changes are being made to current Ephrata Area School District operating protocols.

The following changes are effective beginning Friday, March 20, 2020:

  • Office hours in each building and the District Office are cancelled.  All access to buildings will be by appointment only. Parents and students should leave a voicemail, preferably a day in advance, with the reason they need to access the building and a time window that they are available. They will be contacted within 24-hours to arrange details.
  • A short School Board Meeting will be held as scheduled on Monday, March 23 at 7:00 PM at Clay Elementary School to vote on the agenda, as well as resolutions that will allow essential District functions to continue.
  • All District-related activities continue to be cancelled or postponed. Student groups should observe the social distance recommendations and not be involved in pick-up games, student-run rehearsals, or group trainings of any-kind.

Please continue to visit the District website – www.easpda.org – and social media outlets where all information is being updated on a regular basis.

 

 

March 18, 2020

We have compiled a list of FAQ’s as an attempt to keep everyone informed with the latest information concerning the closure. This information will continue to be updated.

 

March 17, 2020

As we continue to work within the state and federal guidelines on how to support students and families during these challenging times, we want to draw your attention to a few activities that have or will soon be happening:

  • District teachers are being encouraged to connect with their students on a weekly basis. This is not to assign work or provide instruction, but to check in to see how students are doing and to offer optional educational activities and resources to keep minds working while we are not in session.
  • Meals are being provided to any child age 18 and under, regardless of free/reduced meal or school enrollment status. You can access more information HERE.
  • A list of free educational resources is available HERE via our District website in case you are looking for something educational to occupy your son’s/daughter’s time while they are home.
  • We are maintaining a list of the communications and resources related to the coronavirus HERE on our District homepage.
  • And finally, we have been contacted by several organizations and individuals interested in volunteering to support students and families. We are connecting and collecting these growing resources HERE.

Like you, we continue to monitor the latest coronavirus developments and try to do what we can to minimize the impact to our students.

 

 

March 16, 2020

Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding during this unprecedented and rapidly evolving public health crisis.

Please continue to visit the District website and social media outlets where all information is being updated on a regular basis. Today, we have the following items to announce:

    • Free meal distribution will take place for all children ages 18 and under on Tuesday, March 17 and Thursday, March 19. Children must be present to receive meals. CLICK HERE for more info. It is requested families sign up for these meals in advance HERE.
    • Building office hours this week:
      Tuesday, March 17 — 8AM-noon
      Wednesday, March 18 — noon-4PM
      Thursday, March 19 — noon-4PM
      Friday, March 20 — 8AM-noon
      If you are in need of any emergency items left inside your child’s school, please contact the school office. If it is necessary to leave a message, your call will be returned as soon as possible.
    • All District playgrounds are temporarily closed and not being cleaned, according to the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
    • At this time, we are not asking teachers to develop or facilitate any online lessons for a variety of reasons. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has made it clear that if we provide any online instruction, we are obligated to fulfill the requirement of all of our specialized instructional programs.  We do not believe an educational program offered completely online can meet all of that criteria for every student. Therefore, the Ephrata Area School District is not permitted to send out assignments or projects for students to work on during this shutdown. Our staff may be able to offer resources or optional experiences to help engage students and families while school is closed. Look for this in future communications.

In the days that follow, we ask that you continue to use social distancing and common-sense strategies to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. You may be interested in this news article that does a great job of explaining how outbreaks “spread exponentially” and what we can do to “flatten the curve.”

 

 

March 16, 2020 – Meal Distribution

While Pennsylvania schools are closed due to COVID-19, the Ephrata Area School District will be providing free meals for all children ages 18 and under.  Meals will be available to “grab-and-go” at Ephrata High School, Fulton and Clay Elementary Schools on Tuesday, March 17 and Thursday, March 19.  Multiple meals will be provided to cover weekday breakfast and lunches.

Children MUST be present to receive meals.

In order ensure proper food preparation, please take a moment to complete this short questionnaire, if you plan to pick up a meal.

DATES:  Tuesday, March 17, 2020 & Thursday, March 19

TIME:  10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

WHERE:

  • Ephrata High School: Enter auditorium parking lot from Old Mill Road.  Pick-up will be by the courtyard entrance.
  • Fulton Elementary School: Enter rear parking lot and use the drop-off/pick-up loop.
  • Clay Elementary School: Pull up to the front entrance.

 Directional signs will be posted at all locations.

Additional pickups will be scheduled for the same times on Monday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 25.  A second email will be send with a link to sign up.

Please contact the District Food Services Department with any questions at 717-721-1400, extension 11302.

 

 

March 16, 2020 – Building Office Hours

Tuesday, March 17 — 8AM-noon
Wednesday, March 18 — noon-4PM
Thursday, March 19 — noon-4PM
Friday, March 20 — 8AM-noon

If you are in need of any emergency items left inside your child’s school, please contact the school office and leave a message.  Your call will be returned as soon as possible.

 

 

March 16, 2020 – Building Office Hours

If your child was absent from school on Friday, March 13, all students in grades 1-4 received an iPad to take home during this extended closure to ensure students can interact with instructional resources.  An iPad and charger are available for pick up at your child’s elementary school during the office hours listed above. 

 

March 16, 2020 – EASD Playgrounds Temporarily Closed

Following the CDC recommendation, please be advised that all EASD playgrounds are temporarily closed and are not being cleaned. Stay up to date on all EASD COVID-19 communication: easdpa.org/easd-communica

 

 

March 13, 2020

As previously communicated, the COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing.  Moments ago, Governor Wolf closed all Pennsylvania schools for ten days.

Ephrata Area School District will now be closed for students from March 16 to March 27.

Thank you for your patience and understanding!

 

 

March 13, 2020

District Parents/Guardians of Students in Kindergarten through Grade 4:

The safety and security of our students and staff remain our number one priority. For that reason, the District will be closed for students from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20. The Administration will evaluate the situation on a week-by-week basis, and further details will be communicated as information becomes available.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends social distancing, and Governor Tom Wolf recommends avoiding situations where large numbers are gathered. We believe that being compliant with these recommendations means closing District schools for students.

Today, students were directed to take home materials from the classroom that would allow them to work at home if that becomes necessary. These are important classroom materials, and it will be critical that these materials come back to school when regular schedules resume.

For students in Grades 1-4, the District is sending home an iPad, case, and charger with charging brick. This will be able to be used as an educational resource during this time. For many of the resources on the iPad, internet access is required, while other applications will run without internet access.

As the situation is evolving by the hour, please stay tuned for further communication and additional information about how these resources can be used at home.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support and understanding as we work together to keep our schools safe for all who enter.

District Parents/Guardians of Students in Grades 5-12:

The safety and security of our students and staff remain our number one priority. For that reason, the District will be closed for students from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20. The Administration will evaluate the situation on a week-by-week basis, and further details will be communicated as information becomes available.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends social distancing, and Governor Tom Wolf recommends avoiding situations where large numbers are gathered. We believe that being compliant with these recommendations means closing District schools for students.

As the situation is evolving by the hour, please stay tuned for further communication.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support and understanding as we work together to keep our schools safe for all who enter.

 

March 13, 2020

As the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve quickly, please be assured Ephrata Area School District administrators are continuing to monitor the spread of the virus and how it could impact our school community.

Please know there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported in our school district.

As outlined in our communication on February 28, District leaders are taking this responsibility very seriously and continue to review recommendations from global, federal, and local health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Discussions took place and information was provided to District staff during the Professional Learning half-day on Wednesday, March 11 to ensure we are all moving forward responsibly, implementing prevention strategies, and taking steps to mitigate concerns.

More specifically, critical considerations and practical checklists, as listed below, are taking place on a daily basis to keep our school learning and social environments safe for students, staff, and community members.

  • Building cleaning procedures have been increased, including more frequent cleanings of desktops, door knobs, Activeboards, stair rails, technology devices, writing utensils, and more.
  • Staff Districtwide are encouraging students to wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, cover their mouth and nose with their elbow or a tissue when they sneeze or cough, and not to share food.
  • Field trips are being closely monitored. Please know parents and students are free to choose whether or not to participate in any scheduled field trips.
  • Events involving the attendance of large groups of individuals are being assessed, should potential cancellations or postponing of events be necessary.
  • We ask that you please understand cancellation decisions may be made on short notice, dependent upon on the destination of the field trip and the specifics of each event. Know that each decision will be made with great care after gathering relevant information.  Your flexibility and understanding is appreciated.
  • District administrators are reviewing “social distancing” recommendations and considering ways to leverage technology for potential learning opportunities outside of school – should a need arise – similar to what some colleges and universities have implemented.

You can find up to date information regarding COVID-19 on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the PA Department of Health, and the PA Department of Education websites. These links and all District COVID-19 communication have been added to our website HERE.

As always, the safety and security of our students and staff remain our number one priority.  Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding, as we work together to keep our schools safe for all who enter.

 

February 28, 2020

As the safety and security of our students is always our top priority, please know we are closely monitoring the occurrences of the coronavirus in the United States and doing what we can within our school facilities to ensure we continue to maintain a healthy environment for all students and staff.

What is coronavirus disease? 

Coronavirus disease or COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. It is a new virus first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Ephrata Area School District administrators are regularly reviewing recommendations and the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in conjunction with communications among leading national school organizations, including the American Association for School Administrators (AASA) and the National School Board Association (NSBA). These efforts help District leaders monitor the spread of the disease and utilize resources to assist with prevention.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the coronavirus are respiratory related and may also include symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Please contact your health care provider if you have recently traveled to China or if you are concerned about specific symptoms you or your child are experiencing.

At school, we are encouraging students to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds and to cover their mouth and nose with their elbow or a tissue when they sneeze or cough. The District offers guidelines available HERE that answer the question, “Is my child too sick for school?”

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) encourage us to follow common-sense strategies for preventing the spread of communicable diseases:

  • Maintain your distance from others when ill.
  • Keep children home who exhibit cold and flu-like symptoms.
  • Refrain from going to work if you have cold and flu-like symptoms.
  • Keep unwashed hands out of your mouth, eyes, etc.
  • Use anti-bacterial soap.
  • Do not share food.
  • Maintain a clean environment by using anti-bacterial products daily on all high-touch surfaces.

Additionally, you may find helpful the following resources that provide more detailed information on the coronavirus:

Ephrata Area School District will follow recommendations and work closely with federal, state, and local organizations and resources in the event there would be local coronavirus outbreak. However, it is our hope that will never be the case.

We will continue to focus on prevention in our schools to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for all students and staff. Please do not hesitate to contact your building principal or school nurse with any questions.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Meal Distribution During School Closure

While Pennsylvania schools are closed due to COVID-19, the Ephrata Area School District will be providing free meals for all children ages 18 and under.  Meals will be available to “grab-and-go” at Ephrata High School, Fulton and Clay Elementary Schools.  Multiple meals will be provided to cover weekday breakfast and lunches.

UPDATE: Due to changes in legislation, children no longer need to be present during meal distributions.  Additionally, it is not necessary for children to reside within the Ephrata Area School District. 

In order ensure proper food preparation, please take a moment to complete this short questionnaire, if you plan to pick up a meal.

DATES: Every Tuesday and Thursday

TIME:  10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

WHERE:

  • Ephrata High School: Enter auditorium parking lot from Old Mill Road.  Pick-up will be by the courtyard entrance.
  • Fulton Elementary School: Enter rear parking lot and use the drop-off/pick-up loop.
  • Clay Elementary School: Pull up to the front entrance.

Please contact the District Food Services Department with any questions at 717-721-1400, extension 11302.

Additionally, HERE is more information on Sheetz Kidz Meal Bagz.

EASD COVID-19 Community Resources

Could you use an extra hand while Pennsylvania schools are closed, including meals or childcare?  Please contact any of the organizations listed below for more information.

These organizations have expressed interest in providing services to EASD families during the COVID-19 school closure, including transportation to meal distributions and more.  If you are interested in providing a service to families in need during this time, please contact District Community Relations Director Sarah McBee at Sarah_McBee@easdpa.org or 717-721-1589.

  • Ephrata Area Social Services – 717-575-0216
  • Ephrata Church of the Brethren – Michelle Nolt
    • NEED A RIDE TO EASD MEAL DISTRIBUTIONS: 717-575-0216
    • WANT TO VOLUNTEER OR NEED ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE:
      • Go to www.ecob.church
      • Click on “ECOB COVID-19 Response- Learn More”
      • Choose the gray “Need Help/Willing to Serve”
      • Choose “I am willing to help!” or “I am in need!”
      • Complete the form
      • You will be contacted by someone on the Rapid Response Team.
  • Grace Church – Kay Gehr – 717-203-1104
  • PA Counseling Services/Student Assistance Program (SAP) – Donna Soto – (717)742-0368, d_soto@easdpa.org
  • United Way: Central PA Region – 866-311-3832

Free Educational Resources

HERE IS A LIST OF FREE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES!

PLUS, check out Education Reimagined, and “LIKE & FOLLOW” the Ephrata Elementary PE page on Facebook to get your kids moving while school is closed.

Additionally, the Blue Ridge Communications Learning From Home Initiative is designed to help families who need high speed Internet access.  CLICK HERE to learn more

District devices are filtered using a software called Smoothwall. The design of this software is to protect students from accessing inappropriate content on the Internet. Students may be asked to sign into Smoothwall periodically.  HERE ARE SMOOTHWALL DIRECTIONS.

The Smoothwall filter is not perfect. Parents and guardians are asked to supervise student use and are encouraged to set up household rules including times of access.

If you are having technology problems with your device, there is both a support phone number 717-721-1451 and an email support@easdpa.org where you can leave a message for technology support. Emails and the phone messages will be responded to within 48 hours of receipt.

Work is being conducted to ensure iPad devices have the recommended applications. If your iPad is connected to your home network, additional applications will be sent out in the coming days.

Q – Are EASD buildings open during normal hours?

A – No.  Office hours in each building and the District Office are cancelled.

 

Q – Can I come in to get something I left at school, such as my musical instrument, an item in a locker, medication, etc.?

A – Yes. However, only “emergency items” may be picked up during office hours. Emergency items have been defined as medicine; inhaler; technology; and personal items like IDs, wallets, and clothing.  All access to buildings will be by appointment only. Parents and students should leave a voicemail, preferably a day in advance, with the reason they need to access the building and a time window that they are available. They will be contacted within 24-hours to arrange details.

 

Q – Are you doing any extra cleaning or disinfecting of classrooms and school spaces? 

A – Yes. Daily building cleaning procedures remain increased, including more frequent cleanings of door knobs, stair rails, technology devices, desk tops, Activeboards, writing utensils, and more.

 

Q – Can teachers assign homework for student to complete while they are at home?

A – No. The current direction from the state prohibits us from assigning homework or providing online learning at this time.

 

Q – Are there ways my child(ren) can continue learning while not in school?

A – Yes. We have compiled a list of FREE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES, many of which can be used with your student’s EASD iPad or laptop. Work is being conducted to ensure iPad devices have the recommended applications. If your iPad is connected to your home network, additional applications will be sent out in the coming days. Additionally, teachers are being encouraged to connect with their students on a weekly basis. This is not to assign work or provide instruction but to check in to see how students are doing and to offer optional educational activities and resources to keep minds working while we are not in session.

 

Q – My child keeps getting blocked by “Smoothwall” while using a District device. What should we do?

A – All District devices are filtered using a software program called Smoothwall. The design of this software is to protect students from accessing inappropriate content on the Internet. Students may be asked to sign into Smoothwall periodically. CLICK HERE FOR SMOOTHWALL DIRECTIONS. The Smoothwall filter is not perfect. Parents and guardians are asked to supervise students’ use and are encouraged to set up household rules including times of access. If you are having technology problems with your device, call 717-721-1451 or email support@easdpa.org. Both phone and email messages will be responded to within 48 hours of receipt. 

 

Q My child is in grades 1-4; he/she was absent on Friday, March 13 and did not receive an iPad.  Can one be picked up?

A – Yes. All students in grades 1-4 received an iPad to take home on Friday, March 13 to help ensure students can interact with instructional resources during this closure. An iPad and charger are available for pick up at your child’s elementary school.  Please call your student’s school and leave a message.  Someone will get back to you to arrange pick-up.

 

Q – Will schools be closed beyond Friday, March 27?

A – On Monday, March 23, Governor Wolf announced all schools in the Commonwealth will remain closed for students through at least Thursday, April 8, as a result of the COVID-19 response efforts. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, “The closure order could be extended beyond April 6 if necessary to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

 

Q – If school continues to be closed, how will secondary students earn credits and hours for curricular classes, internships, etc.?

A – Once school resumes, in any format, District administration and staff will work with students and families to develop a plan to earn credits. 

 

Q – Will the missed days be required to be made up?

A – No. Districts may request a waiver from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) regarding the required hours of instruction. While PDE has stated the days related to the statewide closure will not have to be made up, there is a possibility, depending on any changes to the length of this closure, this may change.

 

Q – Is the District providing any meals for students?

A – Yes. The District is providing “Grab and Go” breakfasts and lunches for ALL children ages 18 and under several days per week. Meals can be picked up at Ephrata High School, Clay or Fulton Elementary Schools. CLICK HERE to see the days and times meals are being distributed. As mandated by the state, all children must be present during pick-up. 

 

Q – I could really use help during the school closure. Is there a way to get a ride to pick up meals or have help with childcare?

A – Yes. The District has been contacted by a number or organizations willing to lend a hand.  THIS GROWING LIST includes contact information for families and is available on www.easdpa.org

 

Q – I would like to volunteer. Is there someone to contact? 

A – Yes. Please contact directly ANY OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS to volunteer. If you are part of an organization and would like to be added to the list, please contact District Community Relations Director Sarah McBee at Sarah_McBee@easdpa.org or 717-721-1589.

 

Q – Should I talk to my children about Coronavirus?

A – Yes. We recommend obtaining guidance from reputable sources. Specifically, you might find helpful these articles from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and the Child Mind Institute

 

Q – Will PSSA, Keystone, and AP testing occur at the currently scheduled times?

A – On March 19, the Pennsylvania Department of Education shared that students will not be required to take PSSA and Keystone tests this year. Additionally, it was announced on March 23 that all standardized testing for students in career and technical education (CTE) programs have been cancelled. These include exams from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) and National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

 

Q – Will graduation continue as planned on June 4, 2020? 

A – We are not able to confirm this date based on the information we have at this time.

 

Q –  When will extracurricular activities resume, i.e. sports, clubs, musicals?

A – While we believe many events may resume on a similar schedule to daily school schedules, we do not have enough information to confirm that at this time.  Both the EIMS and EHS spring musicals will be postponed; more information will follow.  

 

NOTE:  The information above is based on the best information available on Monday, March 23 at 5:20PM.

2020-2021 School Start Times

On Monday, February 24, 2020, the Ephrata Area School District Board of School Directors approved the proposal to adjust school start times, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.  This decision followed an in-depth, year-long study into the mounting scientific evidence linking sleep deprivation to the growing emotional, physical, and mental health issues among adolescent students.  We believe these changes will contribute to a school experience that sets every student up for success each and every day.

2020-2021 School Year Start and End Times

Building Start Time End Time Student Day Length
Elementary 9:00 AM 3:40 PM 6 hours 40 minutes
Intermediate School 8:55 AM 3:45 PM 6 hours 50 minutes
Middle School 8:05 AM 2:55 PM 6 hours 50 minutes
High School 8:10 AM 3:00 PM 6 hours 50 minutes

 New Start Time Benefits

  1. Provides an opportunity for High School students to get 40 additional minutes of sleep
  2. Provides an opportunity for Middle School students to get 45 additional minutes of sleep
  3. Provides an opportunity for Intermediate School students to get 30 additional minutes of sleep
  4. Maintains approximate current start time for elementary students
  5. Presents a more consistent length of school day across all levels
  6. All schools would start after 8:00
  7. School extra‐curricular practice schedules will not significantly be impacted by dismissal
  8. Elementary and Intermediate School students will continue to be dismissed after secondary students.
  9. District transportation will continue to serve K‐4, 5‐6, and 7‐12 in separate buses.

If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your building principal.

 

MORE INFORMATION ON EASD SCHOOL START TIME STUDY:

In recent years, there has been increased scientific research related to adolescent sleep.  As a result, a growing number of school districts have made changes to school start times.  Since spring 2019, the Ephrata Area School District has been studying a significant body of research on this topic to ensure school times within the District meet the sleep patterns of our students.  

 The study included the review of research on adolescent sleep patterns and its impact on student performance and well-being.

  • The District has consulted with WellSpan Health to learn from licensed psychologists who have compiled research on school start times and the importance of adolescent sleep.
  • Data from Ephrata Area School District parent and student surveys on sleep habits continue to be reviewed and used as a reference.  A summary of this data is available here.
  • There has been an assessment of the impact of any potential time changes to transportation, athletics, extracurricular activities, food service, and other District operations.
  • Additionally, leaders are learning from others’ experiences as they glean insight from districts who have already adjusted their school times.

Ephrata Area School District leaders continued to explore options while facilitating conversations with stakeholders, including School Board members, teaching staff, and District families, to meet this goal.  A community information session was held on Monday, December 9, and a recommendation to adjust school start times for the 2020-2021 school year was made to the School Board in early 2020.

“This effort represents an additional way that we as a district can look at research about how to best serve our students.  It helps us identify ways to better align District operations to reflect this research and to improve how we serve students,” said Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop.

As this study continues and potential next steps are determined, information will be made readily available on the District website or sent directly to parents and guardians as necessary.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

RELATED LINKS:

 

 

 

 

 

2020 Shadow A Student Challenge

How does it feel to be a student for a day?  After participating in the nationwide School Retool Shadow A Student Challenge for the fifth year in a row, Ephrata Area School District administrators are able to speak from their own experiences to answer this question.  District and building leaders will shadow students on February 20, 25, and March 3 to experience a school day as a student first-hand and gain a new perspective on learning.

District administrators are encouraged to participate with empathy and an open mind to feel what it is like to truly adopt a student’s point of view.  “As part of the District theme to embody a growth mindset and a desire for continued improvement, administrators are trying to fully immerse themselves in student life for a day with the goal to better understand the students we serve,” said District Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop.

Administrators have been asked to keep a variety of questions in mind while shadowing students, including:

  • How does it feel to be a student for a day?
  • What is your student’s favorite moment of the day, and what makes it special?
  • What do you notice makes your student feel uncomfortable, anxious, or bored? Why?
  • When is your student engaged in learning?
  • As you go through your day, what opportunities do you notice for use of critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and effective communication skills?

Following the event, administrators will reflect on their insights to compare students’ experiences with the learning and skills necessary for success through their academic careers.