The Lewisburg Area School District 2020-21 school year will begin on September 9 for students in grades K, 4, 6, and 9. Students in grades 1-3, 5, 7-8, and 10-12 will begin September 10. All students will report to school on September 11.
This year, students have the option for in-person instruction for 5 days a week. There will be an early dismissal each Wednesday. Students will receive teacher-directed, remote learning assignments to complete at home while teachers will use this time for professional activities and preparation. This allows our custodial and maintenance staff to enhance their cleaning, sanitation, and disinfecting protocols, as well as continue with the routine maintenance of our schools. Go to Mitigation Strategies to learn more about the District’s plans for a safe return. Go to School-specific Safety Procedures for each schools’ safety procedures.
Students will have the option for LASD eSchool for remote, virtual instruction in their homes. The LASD eSchool is asynchronous so students can learn at any time. The instruction is a combination of online curriculum and activities and teacher-directed instruction and support. Go LASD eSchool to learn more and register.
Frequently Asked Questions
The District will post and update FAQs for parents, students, and staff. As we receive questions that from these groups, we will post the responses in these documents to ensure everyone has the same information.
Frequently Asked Questions Guide for Students, version 1
Frequently Asked Questions Guide for Staff, version 2
The PA Department of Education has curated all updated guidance regarding school opening on this website page.
Ask Your Questions
If you have questions about the LASD Plan to Reopen Schools for In-person Instruction, the LASD eSchool, and/or the LASD Health and Safety Plan, please submit your questions here.
Superintendent Jennifer Polinchock hosted a series of community town hall webinars on July 27, 28, 29. The webinars were customized for elementary and secondary parents, as well as parents of students with special needs. In addition, town hall webinars for staff are being held. The webinars included the proposed reopening plan, along with two contingency plans, and the mitigation strategies for health and safety for students and staff. There was a question and answer session in each webinar. The recorded community town hall webinars are listed below.
Town Hall Video Recordings
Expert Panel on Reopening Schools and COVID-19
The District hosted a webinar with an expert panel of health and safety experts. The panel will answered questions from parents and staff about COVID-19 in Union County and the region, ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and how schools should reopen safely, if they open for in-person instruction.
Resuming in-person instruction is a community effort. For students, families, and staff, it is critical that these mitigation strategies are practiced in the community since an increase in community spread may jeopardize the safety and feasibility of in-person instruction. It is recommended that students, families, and staff follow the CDC guidelines and monitor travel outside the region.
These mitigation strategies are layers of protection from spreading COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Used together and to the greatest extent possible, they will help to prevent illness.
These specific steps, actions, and procedures for these mitigation strategies employed for Green Phase: In-person Instruction and LASD eSchool, Yellow Phase: Hybrid for Reduced Capacity, and Red Phase: Remote, Virtual Instruction K-12. Each school will have their school-specific procedures finalized by August 12, 2020. Each school will review the school-specific procedures with their faculty and staff on August 18 and 19, 2020. Students will receive instruction on the school-specific procedures on August 20 and 21, 2020. Parents will receive updates to any procedures that are typically shared with parents by August 19, 2020. Each school will review the implementation of its procedures on a daily and weekly basis with internal safety teams and institute any adjustments and modifications. The superintendent and assistant superintendent will monitor the schools’ implementations of their plans.
All students, teachers, and staff will be required to wear a face covering when in the school, outside and less than six feet away from and individual, and on buses. Cloth masks are preferred, but any mask that covers the nose and mouth is acceptable. Masks should be comfortable and fitted to the individual. Staff will be issued face shields that do cover the nose and mouth and may be used during instruction. If a teacher needs to be in close proximity to a student to execute a routine task (i.e. tie a shoe, point to instructions, etc.), the teacher will also use a mask.
Masks will be available in every classroom, office, and bus in the event a student loses his/her mask, soils it, or forgets it.
Students will have structured and scheduled masking breaks. These breaks will occur outside, and if not feasible, in a large space such as a gym or auditorium. Masking breaks will be scheduled to ensure that students have 6 feet or more of space between them. The teacher will monitor the students during the masking break. The location will be marked with the area where the students will remain for a period of time. Masking breaks will infringe upon instructional time as well as increase the need for the student to have movement within the schools, so students will have a morning and an afternoon break, along with their lunch break.
Masking is a mitigation strategy that every individual can do to protect other people from aerosolized droplets. The individual wearing a mask reduces the spread the droplets that escape the mouth during speaking, coughing, or other activities. It is a barrier of protection for people near an individual who is speaking, coughing, etc.
Social distancing measures will be in place in all schools. These include spacing seating and desks 6 feet apart. Room capacities have been calculated to determine the maximum number of desks per room at 6 feet. If a classroom or office has desks or seating less than 6 feet apart, then masking and other mitigation strategies will be enforced, or an alternative space will be converted into instructional space. Alternative spaces, such as outdoor spaces, will be used to the maximum extent possible without compromising existing safety protocols. This includes outdoor physical education, music, and recess.
To effectively socially distance, all movement throughout the schools will need to have new procedures. This includes hallways, cafeterias, auditoriums, bathrooms, offices, and outdoor grounds. Arrival and dismissal procedures will be modified to eliminate congregate grouping, and in the inclusion of additional doors for entry and exit. Each room in the schools will have procedures to promote social distancing as well as signage. Virtual meetings will be encouraged, and the recent mitigation order stating that no more than 25 people may meet indoors for non-instructional purposes will be enforced.
Social distancing requires individuals to self-monitor their proximity to other people. Staff will consider the developmental ability of students to adhere to distance, as well as the ability to estimate distance from one another. Signage, along with deliberate and intentional instruction and monitoring will be required. All staff will model expected behaviors.
Handwashing and Sanitizing
Students and staff will be instructed to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer if access to a sink is unavailable. Students will receive instruction on proper handwashing techniques. Students will be instructed to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer upon entering or exiting a room, before and after eating or drinking, and if they touch their mouths or faces.
Each classroom, office, and instructional space has a mounted hand sanitizing station. Signage about proper handwashing and hand sanitizing techniques will be visible in classrooms, near sinks, and the cafeteria.
Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting
Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are critical steps to ensure that students and staff have reduced, if not eliminated, contact with contaminated high-touch surfaces. Only EPA-approved products recommended for schools or food-safe use will be used to eliminate the chances of chemical sensitivity or poisoning. A list of products and their ingredients will be posted on the school district’s website. All protocols for chemical use will be used, including the dwell times necessary for a product to effectively kill organisms. Students will not have access to chemicals, and will not be asked to wipe or clean their areas, unless they are using soap and water. For any shared items used among students, a staff member will sanitize the items using the appropriate materials.
The custodial staff will dedicate the second shift to wiping high touch surfaces as part of their usual protocol. Misting equipment will be used for high volume disinfection in classrooms, bathrooms, lunch rooms, nurses’ suites, cafeteria, and other highly used areas of the schools on a daily basis. Bathrooms will be disinfected during the day, requiring a bathroom to be closed for this process. To reduce the custodial staffs’ responsibilities, all non-district facility use requests will be suspended. In addition, tasks that can be delayed for additional time for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting will be. Each school will have a daily custodial protocol completed by August 7, 2020. The supervisor of buildings and grounds will monitor the implementation of the plan along with the principal and superintendent.
The school district will work with Siemens, the current automation controls service contractor, to assess the air filtration system to recommend the highest grade HEPA filters and air exchange rates that will not adversely affect the instructional environment and that is effective with the current HVAC system. The school district will purchase and install portable HEPA filters in the classrooms, offices, and instructional spaces. These systems remove particulates from the air, such as viruses, bacteria, germs, and allergens. Decreasing the viral load of the air will mitigate aerosolized viruses that could be spread even with masking and social distancing.
General School Operations
Health and Safety Screening
Parents will conduct the health and safety screening for their children each day before school. The questionnaire includes questions about symptoms, and parents will take their child(ren)’s temperature. Parents will be asked to keep a record of the screenings.
If a child displays any of these symptoms, the parent/guardian will be asked to keep the child home until cleared by a primary care physician or is symptom-free and fever-free without fever reducing medication for 72 hours.
- fever (100.4)
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
- loss of taste and/or smell
If a child displays two or more of these symptoms, with or without a fever, the parent/guardian will be asked to keep the child home until cleared by a primary care physician or is symptom-free and fever-free without fever reducing medication for 72 hours.
- fever (100.4)
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
- loss of taste and/or smell
- sore throat
- runny nose/congestion
- headache, especially with onset of fever
- muscle pain
Since many of these symptoms are the same symptoms for common ailments such as strep throat, cold/flu, seasonal allergies, and asthma, we recommend that parents/guardians consult with their primary care physicians since the child may need medical attention.
We are also asking all parents/guardians to inform the nurse if a member of the household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is being testing due to an exposure. In addition if your child is being tested, has been ordered to quarantine by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, or has tested positive, please inform the nurse.
Staff will monitor their own symptoms and take their own temperatures before arriving to work. Staff will remain at home until symptom-free, fever-free, without fever reducing medication for 72 hours or until cleared by a primary care physician with a note to return before 72 hours.
If a student or staff member becomes symptomatic during the school day, the school nurse will assess the symptoms and take the student’s or staff member’s temperature. The nurse will ensure the student or staff member is masked and isolated or release the staff member if going directly home. The nurse will ask the parent to take the student home and to see the primary care physician. The staff member will report the symptoms to the principal/supervisor and see the primary care physician.
Portable Plexiglass shields have been installed in offices as barriers for transmission. Students will have clear desk shields that provide front and side coverage. The desk shields will be disinfected daily. These will be used in situations where students are engaged in collaborative work or tasks or for other special circumstances.
Each school will have prominent and visible signage about masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene. Signage will be posted on classrooms, offices, hallways, large instructional spaces, cafeterias, bathrooms, and doors.
Signage will be developmentally appropriate for the grade levels and reading abilities of the students. Bilingual signage will be used for English learners.
Lunch procedures will be modified for each school. Additional lunch periods will be added to the middle and high school to increase social distancing. The elementary schools will rotate grade levels into the cafeteria for increased social distancing, with some classes remaining in their classrooms or moving to other larger spaces.
Students will wash their hands or sanitize their hands before and after eating. Students will be assigned to seats, and movement around the lunch room will be limited. Students will have to mask if out of their assigned seat and in motion in the cafeteria. Students will have scheduled access to bathrooms.
The menu selections will include easy to transport meals, and will include hot meal options. The meals will be served using prepackaged items, when feasible, and disposal utensils will be available. All self-serve and buffet options will be eliminated. Lunch tables and seats will be disinfected after each use.
Recesses will be modified to increase cohort grouping and social distancing on the playgrounds and fields. Students will rotate equipment and areas. All equipment, such as balls, jump ropes, etc. will be disinfected by staff after use. Stationary playground equipment will be disinfected daily, especially days with low UV indexes.
Students will not be able to browse for books in the collection areas. Students will be able to reserve books for delivery in a sealed bag. Upon return, books will be quarantined for 72 hours. The library related art special will travel to classrooms to reduce student movement in the schools. The librarians will adapt their instructional delivery.
The use of lockers will be reduced to eliminate congregation, high-touch surface contamination, and increase social distancing. This will include locker rooms. Instructional activities will be modified and adjusted to decrease the need to change into specialized clothing.
Students will keep their backpacks and personal belongings with them. Classroom storage will be modified to eliminate congregation in confined areas and increase social distancing.
Students will sit two to a seat in assigned seats. Siblings will be seated together. During the morning bus run, students will be seated from the back to the front of the bus to avoid passage in the aisle. The students will exit the bus from the front to the back. Kindergarten students will be seated in the front rows. During the afternoon bus run, the students will be seated in reverse order to avoid passage in the aisle during drop off. Buses will be disinfected after each run.
Students will be masked before entering the bus, while riding the bus, and while exiting the bus. Bus drivers will use face coverings, including face shields and masks. If a student does not have a mask, the student will be offered a mask. If the student refuses the mask, the bus driver will admit the student and contact the school about the incident for immediate principal intervention upon arriving at the school.
Parents are encouraged to drive their child(ren) to school or have alternative means of transportation. Additional bus runs may be needed for areas that have increased ridership. Survey data will provide information about ridership to adjust bus routes and assignments.
Visitors and Volunteers
Visitors and volunteers will be restricted to essential business only. Visitors and volunteers will complete a self-health and safety screening. The visitor’s and volunteer’s temperature will be taken with a thermal scanner. Visitors and volunteers are required to be masked at all times in the schools. A visitor or volunteer displaying or reporting symptoms will not be permitted to enter the schools.
School Nurse’s Suite
The school nurse will conduct a health and safety screening for students and staff who may develop symptoms during the school day. The school nurse will assess the symptoms and take the student’s or staff member’s temperature. The nurse will ensure the student or staff member is masked and isolated or release the staff member if going directly home. The nurse will ask the parent to take the student home and to see the primary care physician. The staff member will report the symptoms to the principal/supervisor and see the primary care physician.
The nurse’s suite will be limited to distributing medication and routine monitoring of chronic illness. Students and staff will be encouraged to address acute needs (i.e. band aides, ice packs, etc.) in the classroom, and the nurse will provide training in basic first aid that does not require professional care. The nurse’s suite will have an isolation room where symptomatic students may stay until transferred into the care of the parent. Additionally, routine health screenings will be postponed during high incidence times of illness.
Positive or Suspected Cases
If the school district receives information that a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, the school district will use the Rapid Response Protocol to contact the PA Department of Health and Union Office of Public Safety. These entities will conduct the necessary contact tracing and recommendations or notifications for the need for any individuals to quarantine or seek testing. The school district will follow any recommendations for school-level or district-level closures due to COVID-19. The school district will coordinate any public communications about positive cases with the school district’s solicitor. The school district will adhere to HIPAA regarding public identification of an individual’s health status.
The school district will exercise all necessary caution to ensure reduced risk of exposure to COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to, school closures, suspension of activities, revisions to school procedures, implementation of additional mitigation techniques, and/or restructuring instructional operations. Additionally, the school district will remain in weekly contact with public safety officials about the status of COVID-19 in the community.
Absent specific guidelines from the Pennsylvania Department of Education regarding student attendance as per PA Code, the school district will count a multi-day absence related to COVID-19 as a single absence for students. Students who are absent for 3 days or more will require a note from their primary care physician to resume in-person instruction. Students will be excused from classwork at the teacher’s discretion. Students will not be penalized for missed assignments or assessments during an excused absence. Students will have a reasonable amount of time to make up assignments and assessments.
In the event that a student needs to quarantine, the student absence will count as a single absence, if a note is provided by the primary care physician. The student will be provided with assignments and be included in instruction to the greatest extent possible. Students will not be penalized for missed assignments or assessments during an excused absence. Students will have a reasonable amount of time to make up assignments and assessments.
As with any illness, if a student is absent for three or more days, the student may return to in-person instruction with a note from the primary care physician indicating that the student has recovered from the illness and is no longer contagious.
A staff member who is absent for 3 days or more will require a note from their primary care physician to resume work. Each absence will count as a single absence. The staff member would be compensated for his/her absence as prescribed in the collective bargaining agreement or compensation agreement. If a staff member needs to quarantine, the period of time for the quarantine may be compensated through accumulated paid time off or the FFCRA, at the selection of the employee. The staff member may resume work with a note from the primary care physician indicating that the staff member has recovered from the illness and/or is not contagious.
Travel to areas requiring quarantine upon return will require the student and staff member to follow the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Department of Health or Centers of Disease Control. The classification of absences and/or eligibility for compensation will be determined by the superintendent. Travel to areas that have high cases of COVID-19 is discouraged for recreational and non-business purposes.
The school district is reviewing a policy for the use of videoconferencing. In use, videoconferencing into in-person instruction will require the notification to the staff and parents, with the option for parents to refuse their child’s participation in a class where videoconferencing may occur. Videoconferencing will include one-way viewing of the instruction. Videoconference sessions will not be recorded, unless allowed by policy. The recording is the property of the school district and any unauthorized use of the recording is prohibited. Videoconferencing may be used in limited cases where students are absent from school to maintain continuity of learning during the absence.
Group videoconferencing may be used if the school district is in remote, virtual instruction or to conduct a school-related meeting or activity. All participants will use district-issued equipment and licenses for the group videoconferences. All participants will be identified in the videoconference by login information and/or video. All school district policies will be in effect whether the videoconference occurs in school or at another location. A staff member is required to host a group videoconference with students.
Pandemic Coordination Team
The Pandemic Coordination Team consists of the superintendent, assistant superintendent, and school nurses. The superintendent and assistant superintendent will coordinate communication with the Union County Department of Public Safety regarding any suspected or positive cases of COVID-19 in the school district. The superintendent will determine if and when the school district’s instructional operation would need to change through regular communication with the Department. The school nurses will monitor the health conditions in each school and report COVID-19 related symptom cases to the superintendent on a weekly basis. If a spike in cases in any single day occurs, the school nurses will report directly to the superintendent. The school nurses have the authority to excuse a student from the school day based on the presence symptoms and release the student to the parent.
The LASD eSchool is a virtual learning environment for students in grades K-12. The students enrolled in the eSchool will use the Accelerate Education online curriculum. The format of instruction includes self-paced learning through recorded videos and written material for content delivery, online and hands-on assignments, online practice activities, and online assessments. The curriculum is aligned to the Common Core, so the concepts and skills align to the Lewisburg Area School District’s curriculum. A Pennsylvania certified teacher provides the instruction by monitoring the student’s individual progress through the online lessons, activities, and assessments, as well as provides individual feedback to the student. The teacher also maintains the student’s grade, which is transferred into PowerSchool.
Students in grades K-5 enroll in four, year-long courses for the school year, and enroll in one, semester-long related arts course for each semester. The parent and the student may select the related arts courses. The four, year-long courses are language arts, math, science, and social studies. The related arts courses include art, health, music, physical education, and technology.
Students in grades 6-8 enroll in four, year-long courses, and one, semester-long elective course for each semester. The parent and the student may select the elective course for one semester. The student will enroll in health as the second elective. The four, year-long courses are language arts, math, science, and social studies. The elective course options can be found in the online course catalog.
Students in grades 9-12 enroll in up to four, required credit courses and up to four, elective credit courses. Each student’s academic transcript will be reviewed by the counselor, student and parent to select courses that are on pace with the graduation requirements.
Important Details about LASD eSchool
LASD eSchool is asynchronous learning. This means that students do not have a fixed schedule. They can log into the program for their learning at any time. The teacher would schedule time to work with the student as the teacher identifies the need, or the student/parent can schedule a time with the teacher.
Younger students may need additional support from a parent or caregiver to complete the assignments and activities.
LASD eSchool with LASD Teachers
If 15-20% of students enroll in the LASD eSchool in each grade level, then a LASD teacher can be assigned to be the teacher for the students at that grade level. Middle school and high school LASD eSchool teacher assignments may vary by grade and subject area.
Transitioning LASD eSchool to and from In-person Instruction
Students in the LASD eSchool can transition into in-person instruction. There is a two-week trial period where the student and parent can determine if this is effective for the student. Students can also transition into LASD eSchool during the school year if a need arises. They remain active LASD students.
Students’ grades from the LASD eSchool will appear on the students’ report cards and transcripts.
Benefits of LASD eSchool
Students remain active LASD eSchool students. Some of the benefits to the students include:
- Participation in extracurricular activities, including athletics and clubs;
- Access to LASD technology;
- Access to LASD supportive services, such as counseling;
- Meals for free and reduced lunch students;
- LASD communications and School Messenger;
- LASD report cards, transcripts, and diplomas.
Click here (PDF) for more information regarding LASD’s eSchool virtual learning program.
In order to begin enrollment in LASD eSchool program, please click the link for the appropriate agreement below. Please print, review the agreement, sign and return to the school counselor of the building for the grade level of your student.
- Click here (PDF) for the LASD eSchool High School Agreement.
- Click here (PDF) for the LASD eSchool Middle School Agreement.
- Click here (PDF) for the LASD eSchool Elementary (K-5) Agreement.
To register for the LASD eSchool, follow this link. Requests for enrollment have been extended through Monday, August 17, 2020 to ensure your child(ren) will be able to start school on the first day of school. A school counselor will contact the parent and student to select courses as part of the registration process beginning August 13.
The Lewisburg Area School District has curated reliable information and resources about COVID-19 and its impact on the community.
Steps to Reopening Schools
Every school district in the Commonwealth must develop a plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 school year. There are two parts of the reopening plan. The first part is the Health and Safety Plan. School leaders must address four main areas in the plan:
- Cleaning, Sanitizing, Disinfecting, and Ventilation
- Social Distancing and Other Safety Protocols
- Monitoring Students and Staff Health
- Health and Safety Plan Professional Development
The Health and Safety Plan for Fall Athletics is included in the overall Health and Safety Plan. The Winter Athletics Health and Safety Plan, approved by the School Board on November 12, 2020 can be found here.
The second part is the Emergency Instructional Time Template. This document includes three parts:
- First and Last Day of School and Total Number of School Days (180)
- Articulated Plan for Remote Learning
- Affirmations that All Requirements Under PA Code Are Met
School districts developed plans in consultation with local health and safety officials and experts. Lewisburg Area School District’s plan was developed by the administration and reviewed with representative members of the staff, school nurses, and health and safety experts from Union County, Evangelical Hospital, and Geisinger Medical Center. The Health and Safety Plan draft was reviewed on July 22, 2020.
The Lewisburg Area School District Board of School Directors held a special session on August 6, 2020 to approve the LASD Health and Safety Plan and the Emergency Instructional Time Template. The LASD Plan for reopening Schools for the 2020-21 School Year provides additional details about the reopening plan and contingency plans.
School districts that continue to have in-person instruction when the level of community transmission is substantial needed to submit an attestation form to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This form indicates, with the signature of the Superintendent and School Board President, that the school district will follow the mask/face coverings order and recommendations for closing schools based on positive cases within the schools. The District’s attestation form can be found here.