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Weather Impacts EA Students’ Return to School

By Kristen Keleschenyi
The Tube City Almanac
February 17, 2021
Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

East Allegheny students continue returning for in-person instruction.

At this month’s school board meeting, Superintendent Alan Johnson reported the gradual process began Jan. 25 with special education students. Each week following has ushered in the return of select grades and will conclude on Feb. 22 with the remaining grades 9, 10, and 11 to make the transition complete.

The students are assigned to color coded cohorts (blue on Mondays and Tuesdays, gold on Thursdays and Fridays). Wednesday is a remote day in order to give custodial staff a chance to clean the buildings between cohorts. The recent winter weather advisories have caused disruptions in the return process as some of the in-person days were moved to remote due to travel concerns.

Johnson said the district is working to craft a communication system to better inform families when in person school days are altered or cancelled altogether. The accommodations that have been implemented during the pandemic, including providing Chromebooks for all students, have allowed instruction to continue as Flexible Instructional Days (FID) instead of having to resort to cancelling class instruction due to inclement weather.

Johnson says that overall, he is pleased with how the transition to in person learning is going.

“So far I am happy to report we haven’t had any major issues,” Johnson said. “I’m grateful to students and parents for cooperating with us. The kids are getting in - they’re getting right in and we’re going through our (health) screening processes.”

In related news, the district continues to prepare for the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among students and staff that could temporarily close school buildings for deep cleaning measures.

The school board is also trying to attract more substitute teachers to accommodate staff that may need to quarantine.  Board members have approved an increase in daily pay to $150 for substitute teachers, provided through Kelly Services, and have also approved the posting of two district substitute teacher positions at the same rate.

In other business, the process to sell Green Valley Elementary to Wallick Asset Management, LLC, has taken another step forward. A public auction will be scheduled to unload surplus equipment from the building.

The district is currently negotiating a purchase schedule with Wallick for the selling price of $399,000. It could take months before the transaction is complete, officials said. The former elementary school is expected to be repurposed into a senior living facility.

Kristen Keleschenyi is a freelance writer in North Versailles Twp. and one of the hosts of the Kristen & Amber Show on WMCK Internet Radio at 5 p.m. Saturdays, 9 p.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. Thursdays. She may be reached at kbishop25@hotmail.com.

Originally published February 17, 2021.

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