This is a follow up to the email you received yesterday (Saturday, December 12 - see below) regarding our closure this week. As an important update to that notice, we will be CLOSED effective Monday, December 14 through Friday, December 18. Zoom Academy (virtual learning) will begin on Tuesday, December 15 through Friday, December 18. We will re-open on Monday, December 21. Please read on for a full update!
I’ve received numerous questions and comments via email since yesterday’s notice and I am working diligently to respond to everyone. If you emailed me and I have not yet responded, I appreciate your patience.
In the meantime, here are responses to common questions I am receiving:
1. What classes were affected?
Yellow, Green, Purple and Blue classrooms (full day, year round classes) could have potentially been affected, as I included in yesterday’s email. As an additional precaution, I chose to close the entire school.
2. Will all teachers and administrative staff be tested?
Yes, all teachers and staff are signed up to receive Covid tests this week. This was not required by the Department of Health (as these individuals did not make direct contact with the teacher who tested positive), but we want to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff.
3. Will we really be re-opening on Friday?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear likely that all teachers will have their Covid test results by Thursday, so we will need to remain on Zoom Academy from Tuesday until Friday, reopening on Monday, December 21.
4. How does Zoom Academy work?
A mix of live and pre-recorded lessons will be available for your child via Zoom this week. Please look for an additional email from me sometime tomorrow (Monday, December 13) afternoon containing all details related to Zoom Academy.
5. To address other concerns related to our Covid policy:
- Since our re-opening in May, staff members definitely do not interact as they typically would pre-Covid. We all stay in our own space/classrooms as much as possible and social distancing is a priority.
- Teachers do not eat together or have breaks together.
- Tours and all IEP meetings and conferences were moved to Zoom.
- Staff meetings moved to Zoom in March.
- Our staff holiday party was a Zoom gathering.
- Teachers are keenly aware that the choice they are outside of school can affect all of us at South Hills. We are all about making good choices, as we teach your children!
- The teacher who tested positive has only a minor symptom—thank you for your concern about her!
Going forward, I have made the decision to require all teachers to be tested at the beginning of each month as an additional safeguard, even though this is not part of PDE, DHS or even Department of Health policy.
Although we are not permitting parents to remain in the building beyond 15 minutes (and continue to request a quick entrance/exit) and prioritize social distancing rules with parents/ guardians, I strongly encourage parents to be proactive in regards to Covid testing, as testing would be additional protection for all of the staff and children.
Thank you for the kind emails of support; they are MUCH appreciated! This is obviously an extremely stressful time for me and the South Hills’ staff, especially with our holidays arriving, and the festive plans we have for the children! My staff and I continue to work hard behind the scenes to keep your child moving forward in his/her skills and still enjoy the season.
Please watch your email for further details related to Zoom Academy tomorrow!