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East Allegheny School Board has approved an update to the district’s health and safety plan for the upcoming school year.
The district will be returning to a five-day-per-week regular school schedule when classes resume on Aug. 24.
“I now think we have a revised health and safety plan that I think reflects the best thinking that is present on how schools should go about entering this new school year,” Superintendent Alan Johnson said at a special meeting July 22.
At the end of the previous school year, EA was operating on a four-day-per-week schedule with an early dismissal at Logan Elementary School. Wednesdays were remote instruction days for cleaning purposes.
Johnson said there was much new guidance available to school districts during the summer from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, as well as the state’s departments of health and education.
Masks will be optional for staff and students in grades 7-12 and also for staff at the elementary school.
“We ask that anyone who is not vaccinated continue to wear a mask,” Johnson said, “but we will not require that documentation — so essentially we are trusting people to work, if you will, on the honor system.”
Because children under age 12 — pupils in kindergarten through sixth-grade — have not yet been approved for COVID-19 vaccinations, they will be strongly encouraged to continue wearing a mask in school, Johnson said, but it will not be mandatory when classes begin in August.
But, Johnson said, parents and guardians need to know that recommendations are evolving and changes to the district’s health and safety plan, pending board approval, will be made as needed.
Masks will be mandatory during bus transportation for all students, he said.
Social distancing of three feet apart will continue to be implemented when possible and barriers in the buildings that are already in place will remain. If COVID-19 cases rise to a number of 10 in either the elementary school or the junior-senior high school, the district will have the option to close a building, pending board approval for appropriate cleaning and disinfection.
Johnson said a building closure will not happen automatically.
The dress code, part of the school’s code of conduct, will once again be fully enforced and parents are asked to review this policy as they prepare for school to start. The complete health and safety plan and code of conduct can be found on the district website at eawildcats.net, district officials said.
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 email@example.com.
Originally published July 29, 2021.