2021-2022 FAQs

Health & Safety Plans


If a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, come in contact with someone who has tested positive, or become ill at school, District staff will follow processes developed in conjunction with Penn Medicine, WellSpan Health, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). Specific initial protocols will be used in each unique situation.

Face Coverings – PA Dept. of Health & Education

Confronting COVID-Related Harassment – US Dept. of Education

Message to Families – July 26, 2021

We have been made aware of some confusion in the wording for the survey issued last week that could impact the accuracy of the results. We apologize for this confusion and have worked to simplify the questions to more clearly gather feedback from parents/guardians.

An updated survey replaces the survey shared with District families last week. Please CLICK HERE to complete the revised survey by the end of the day this Thursday even if you also completed a survey last week.

Again, we apologize for the confusion and are anxious to collect more accurate parental feedback. Thank you for your support as we plan for a successful start to the 2021-2022 school year!


Message to Families – July 19, 2021

Like many of you, we are looking forward to the start to the 2021-2022 school year! We are excited that it is looking more and more like a typical, pre-COVID-era return. As part of this process, we are required to have an updated Health and Safety Plan on our website so that anyone can see how we are providing a learning and work environment that prioritizes health, safety, choice, and learner engagement.

While we had updated our plan in June, there has been some additional information shared from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health (DOH) and Education (PDE). The most important part of this new information, in our view, is the commitment by the DOH and PDE to let local school districts make decisions that make sense for their community and the students they serve. We are excited to not be in a “one-size-fits-all” situation when it comes to decisions impacting how we at the Ephrata Area School District serve our students and community. Information on how to access this draft plan, provide feedback, and other related links is below.

Additionally, below is information about the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief of 2021 (ARP ESSER), which also includes a link to a separate survey.

  1. A draft of the updated Health and Safety Plan for the 2021-2022 school year is based upon current information and is intended to guide the opening of the 2021-2022 school year.
    • CLICK HERE to view a draft of the plan.
    • CLICK HERE to complete a brief survey to share your feedback by Wednesday, July 28.

Additionally, to help answer questions and clarify how the District would respond if and when the state would issue further guidance, direction, or mandates, we have prepared FAQs, which are available HERE on the District website. Please CLICK HERE if you would like to submit a question related to the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

  1. The Ephrata Area School District is slated to receive approximately $5 million in funding from ARP ESSER. Of that amount, twenty percent ($1 million) must be used for learning loss activities.

District Administration is currently in the planning phases of how this money will be utilized over the next three years. The District administration has identified possible priorities. If you would like to provide feedback on the District plans for the use of ARP ESSER funds, please CLICK HERE to complete a survey by Wednesday, July 28.

Thank you for your support as we plan for a successful start to the 2021-2022 school year!


Message to Families – June 21, 2021

We remain committed to maintaining clear and transparent communication leading up to the 2021-2022 school year and have compiled important documents and resources, including an updated FAQ webpage. It is important to note that all of these documents were developed with the understanding that the state mask mandate will be lifted on June 28th or sooner. If that changes or another mandate is issued, both the Summer 2021 Health and Safety Plan and the 2021-2022 Health and Safety Plan will be revisited. Please click on the links below for more information.

  • School Board Statement – Board President Mr. Rick Gehman publicly read this statement on Tuesday, June 8 to express the Board’s thinking associated with the upcoming school year.
  • Summer 2021 Health & Safety Plan – This plan was developed to help guide activities throughout the summer and was approved by the School Board on Monday, June 14.
  • 2021-2022 Health & Safety Plan – This required plan is based upon current information and is intended to guide the opening of the 2021-2022 school year. This plan will go into effect on Friday, July 30.

Additionally, to help answer questions and clarify how the District would respond if and when the state would issue further guidance, direction, or mandates, we have prepared FAQs, which are available HERE on the District website. 

If you have additional questions related to the start of the 2021-2022 school year, please submit them for consideration and inclusion on the FAQs page. Thank you for your support as we plan for a successful start to the 2021-2022 school year!

2020-2021 School Year Communication



The early dismissal schedule on the last day of school, Friday, June 4, has been modified slightly to allow students to get home earlier in the day.

Grab-and-go lunches will be available at each building for students to take with them prior to dismissal. The new dismissal times for Friday, June 4 are:

High School:                       11:00 AM

Middle School:                  10:55 AM

Intermediate School:     11:45 AM

Elementary Schools:       11:40 AM

EASD COVID-19 Community Resources

Could you use an extra hand during the pandemic?  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
      • 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

Winter Weather 2020-2021


Due to inclement weather, the Ephrata Area School District schools and offices will be closed on Thursday, December 17, 2020.

As communicated previously, Thursday will NOT be an online learning day.  We will, however, be considering Friday as a potential online learning day in the event it remains unsafe to transport students and staff to school.  In that situation, activities and assignments will be provided from your child’s teacher(s) by 10:00 AM on Friday morning. Teachers will be available to answer questions and communicate with students via email or Schoology messages throughout the normal school day.  The decision for Friday will be made early Thursday evening. 

Lastly, as our cleaning protocols will continue while schools are closed, our state-mandated 14-Day Rolling Count for COVID-19 closure purposes will reset to zero in every building once students return to school.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable snow day!



On Wednesday, December 16, the District will be dismissing early.

  • High School 11:15 AM *
  • Middle School 11:15 AM *
  • Intermediate School     12:00 PM
  • Elementary School       12:10 PM

Lunch will be provided.

Bussed AM Kindergarten students will be transported home at 12:10 PM. (Parents/guardians may pick up AM Kindergarten students at their normal dismissal time if they wish.)  There is no PM Kindergarten.

*While most students in the High School and Middle School are learning online today, the students in grades 7-12 who do come to school for in-person instruction on Wednesdays will be dismissed at 11:15 AM.



Based on the current forecast, it looks like we will be having our first potential snow closure later this week. The storm is forecast to arrive in our area Wednesday early afternoon. Therefore, we are planning for a normal start to the school day tomorrow and will monitor the forecast throughout the morning for a potential early dismissal.  We will make the early dismissal call by 9:30 AM and communicate important details if we go in that direction.

If the present forecast plays out, we will get over a foot of snow, and Thursday will be the first snow day of the school year. We will make that call by 7:00 PM on Wednesday at the latest. As we have said, we will not be doing a virtual instruction day for a single-day weather closure. This will allow staff to get a day to breathe and relax a little, while affording students the option to get outside and be kids.

We will, however, be looking ahead to Friday as a potential virtual instruction day in the event it is not safe to transport students and staff to school. In that situation, we will pivot to an asynchronous learning day with activities and assignments provided from your child’s teacher(s) on Friday morning. Teachers will be available to answer questions and communicate with students via email or Schoology messages throughout the normal school day.

The decision on which type of day we have on Friday will be made early Thursday evening. 

Thank you for your cooperation and for supporting your children as we try to navigate this winter weather event safely together!



Now that the District has issued all students their own laptops or iPads, many have wondered how this might impact snow days.  We’ve received questions asking, “If bad weather closes schools, will it be an online learning day for students?”

After obtaining input from students, teachers, and administrators and considering several logistical and practical obstacles, we have decided to handle weather-related closures in the traditional manner for this year.  We will, however, consider alternate options if we have multi-day closures and the interruption to learning would be more significant.

When school closures, delays, or early dismissals occur, families will be notified, as well as the information being posted on our website, social media platforms, and across the local news outlets.

So, get your gear ready to safely enjoy the winter weather.




Power Packs Project


Thursday, October 15

The Ephrata Power Packs Project is enrolling new families for the 2020-2021 school year. The Power Packs Project is designed to help families stretch their grocery money, prepare low-cost meals for their families over the weekend, and have their children well-fed and ready to learn.

Every Thursday, participating families receive a recipe and the ingredients to make the meal.  Additional items including cereal, peanut butter, soups, and fresh fruits and vegetables are distributed. Helpful information is also included in the weekly packs, including “Smart Shopping Tips,” “Clever Ways to Use Leftovers,” and “Food to Always Have On Hand.”

If you think your family would benefit from this program, please CLICK HERE to review the income eligibility information.

There is no cost to participate, but there are expectations:  Program participants are expected to pick up their food every Thursday between 4:30-6:00 PM at the Ephrata Church of the Brethren located at 201 Crescent Avenue in Ephrata.  Failure to do so will result in being removed from the program. 

If you are income-eligible and can to commit to the ongoing pick-up times and location, please complete this ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE by Friday, October 23.  Someone will then be in contact with you.

If you have any questions regarding the Power Packs Program, please email Stephanie Weber at ephratapowerpacks@gmail.com.


Online Scheduling Opens October 19, 6:00 PM

The Ephrata Area School District will be holding parent teacher conferences for students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 on the following dates and times:

  • Wednesday, November 4, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 5, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday, November 6, 8:00 – 11:00 AM





Athletic Spectator Update – October 9

October 9, 2020

Earlier this week, Governor Wolf released new guidelines on gatherings, including athletic events. The limits are based on a percentage of venue capacity, whether inside or outside, and offer us the opportunity to allow more fans to attend events and cheer on our Mountaineers.

The remaining athletic events in the fall season will follow these guidelines. Face coverings and social distance will be enforced in all settings in accordance with existing state recommendations.


  • Approximately 475 spectators will be permitted, which will include the homecoming court and senior students.
    • There will be a sign-up sheet for seniors who wish to attend.
    • Ticket distribution to the families of our players, cheerleaders, and marching band members will be handled by the Athletic Director and Head Coach / Director for each respective group.
  • No visiting fans will be permitted.

Girls’ Volleyball

  • Approximately 105 spectators will be permitted, including spectators for the visiting team.
    • Ticket distribution to the families of our players will be handled by the Athletic Director and Head Coach.

Cross Country

  • No spectators will be permitted at the League Championships on October 20 and 21 at Ephrata Middle School.

Field Hockey and Girls’ and Boys’ Soccer

  • The number of spectators at these sporting events has not been strongly impacted to date by state guidelines. These new calculations allow us to welcome 300 guests to these events.

Livestreaming of some athletic events is available on the EASD EVENTS LIVESTREAM. In addition, Blue Ridge 11 will be broadcasting a variety of sporting events within their coverage area.

PLEASE NOTE:  Other school districts may have different rules in place. Please be sure you understand those rules if you choose to be a spectator at an away event when permitted.


September 25, 2020

Increased Number of Spectators Allowed at Athletic Events

In a September 25 email to District families, Dr. Troop thanked families for their support, especially throughout this first month of the school year. “We have had many opportunities to apply our Life Ready Graduate traits of perseverance, adaptability, resilience, and grit! Our student-athletes have faced additional challenges with the delayed start of their season and are excited about the return of fall sports,” he said.

While the hard limitations to the number of spectators who may attend athletic competitions was lifted earlier this week, the District remains focused on doing their best to provide an opportunity for parents and family members to attend events in person, while continuing to follow the social distancing requirements provided by the state.

After measuring the stands and additional spaces available, it was determined the District can safely accommodate up to approximately 400 spectators at War Memorial Field and still maintain six feet of social distance.  This spectator count is in addition to the players, cheerleaders, band, coaches and officials. Ticket distribution to the families of our student athletes will be handled by the Athletic Director and Head Coach / Director for each respective group.

Additional guidelines for all Fall sports are available on the District website.

All others may view games via the EASD EVENTS LIVESTREAM.