Ephrata Area School District Phased School Reopening Health & Safety Plan

2020-2021 School Calendar

 

Message to Families, July 6, 2020:

As required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), a team of administrators and staff from the Ephrata Area School District has developed a preliminary Health and Safety Plan for the reopening of schools this fall. This plan has been developed in compliance with PDE plan requirements and also reflects guidance provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Additionally, input has been gathered from recent EASD parent/guardian surveys and from other districts, both locally and across the state. It is important to note that this plan is based on our best knowledge at this time and will be adjusted and adapted as additional requirements and guidance are released from governmental authorities.

Our dedication to the following three guiding principles continues as we get closer to a final set of options for students in the fall:

  1. Provide a healthy and safe return to school for all students.
  2. Engage students in learning that will reflect their current needs and prepare them for the next step in their education.
  3. Provide options for students and parents/guardians to allow them to choose the school structure that fits their individual needs, reflective of principles 1 and 2 above.

Our preliminary Health and Safety Plan is being presented to our School Board for approval on Tuesday, July 7 and includes information on how we intend to maintain a clean and safe school environment, address social distancing, and comply with the Governor’s recent order regarding face coverings. The summary of the plan can be accessed HERE. This special July meeting was scheduled to avoid waiting until our regularly scheduled meeting in August, which would have meant delaying 2020-2021 logistical plans until that time. The complete report can be accessed HERE.

As you will see in the Health and Safety Plan summary, there are specific requirements for students and staff in certain situations. It is important to note that not all of the options we plan to offer include all of these situations. For example, if a parent/guardian decides the District online program is the best fit for his/her student, there is a different set of required safety measures than if participating in the Modified Traditional model.

Specific details of the school format options for each age level (K-4, Grades 5-6, Grades 7-8, and Grades 9-12) are being finalized with the administration and staff this week and will be made available to parents/guardians during the week of July 13. At that point, we will also be asking parents/guardians to consider which option will work best for their child for the 2020-2021 school year. For planning purposes, we will need to have parents/guardians make a final decision on their preferred school option and transportation, if applicable, by the end of July.

While this is not the start of the school year any of us hoped for, we are committed to continuing to work together, apply common-sense measures, adhere to all guidelines, and continue to have open lines of communication.  We look forward to a successful start to the 2020-2021 school year re-engaging all of our students in the learning process!

 

Message to Families, June 25, 2020:

Efforts are ongoing to plan and consider a variety of options for a safe reopening of Ephrata Area School District schools for the 2020-2021 school year. We had a great response to our initial survey regarding reopening plans, with well over 1,000 participants. Thank you to everyone who took time to share your perspective.

As was shared in our previous communication on the reopening of schools, we are committed to the development of a plan that is compliant with the state requirements and is reflective of the following three principles:

  1. Provide a healthy and safe return to school for all students.
  2. Engage students in learning that will reflect their current needs and prepare them for the next step in their education.
  3. Provide options for students and parents to allow them to choose the school structure that fits their individual needs, reflective of principles 1 and 2 above.

While the state template for school reopening plans was released on June 3, the detailed guidance to school districts from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) was only released yesterday afternoon. Additionally, several county departments of health in southeastern Pennsylvania have released further guidance to districts in their counties. (Bucks County and Chester County Departments of Health lists of recommendations.) While Lancaster County does not have a department of health, we are involved in ongoing communication and collaboration among school district leaders and healthcare experts to identify similar guidance for our county.

It is our intention to have a more detailed description to share with parents in the near future about what school may look like in the fall. This information will include initial descriptions of how we intend to address the specific challenges of transportation, breakfast and lunch, social distancing, cleaning, and the use of masks. Following the release of this information, we will seek additional input to further develop options.

Meal distribution will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM at Ephrata High School and Fulton Elementary School. In order to ensure sufficient food preparation, we ask that families CLICK HERE to sign up for meals on Tuesday, June 30 and Thursday, July 2.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we prepare our plans.

 

Message to Families, June 12, 2020:

As we take a breath after the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year, we are taking stock of what we learned throughout the 12-week closure of schools. While a closure like this is not anything we hope to encounter again, we do feel like we are better equipped to support students, families, and teachers in learning away from school.

We have also gained a new appreciation for the following elements of the school experience that will impact our work, regardless of venue:

  • The power of relationships among students and between students and staff
  • The importance of supporting the social and emotional health of students and staff
  • The ability and limits of technology to enhance student engagement
  • The value of class time and collaboration opportunities for students
  • The vital role of clear, transparent, and ongoing communication

Consequently, we are seeking your input to help us plan for re-opening in the fall and to gain your perspective on several aspects we need to consider. Please CLICK HERE to complete the survey.

Meal distribution will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM at Ephrata High School, Fulton Elementary School, and Clay Elementary School. Please note the new start time. In order to ensure sufficient food preparation, we ask that families CLICK HERE to sign up for meals on Tuesday, June 16 and Thursday, June 18.

We hope your summer break is off to a relaxing start!