Pa. schools watching COVID-19 numbers as they ‘certify’ to protect students and staff

Pennsylvania

Monday was the deadline for Pennsylvania schools to certify they can protect students in the classroom

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – There was another rise Monday in Pennsylvania coronavirus numbers, including the state’s positivity rate reaching nearly 12%.

Schools are keeping a close eye on the situation in their districts. Monday was the deadline for Pennsylvania schools to certify they can protect students in the classroom.

Summary: The Wolf Administration is requiring Pre-K to 12 public schools in counties that have been in the substantial transmission level for at least two consecutive weeks to commit to safety measures to ensure the safety and well-being of students and educators. If they choose not to, they must move to fully remote learning without all extra-curricular activities. As of Friday, Nov. 20, there are 59 counties in the substantial transmission level for at least two consecutive weeks.

Requirements for Pre-K to 12 public schools in substantial counties for at least two consecutive weeks:

  • Schools are mandated to comply with updated protocols if a COVID-19 case is identified in the school building.
  • By 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, chief school administrators and the governing body president/chair must sign an attestation form stating they have either transitioned to fully remote learning or are complying with the orders if they are conducting any in-person instruction while in the “substantial” range of transmission.
  • Those schools that do not sign or comply with an attestation are required to provide only fully remote learning and suspend all extracurricular activities as long as the county remains in the substantial transmission level.

If schools don’t adhere to requirements, then what would happen is they will be required to move to remote learning. and in addition to that suspend extracurricular activities, that would include athletics as well,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Noe Ortega.

Ortega also wants more students to download the state’s Covid Alert app. It’s been available to those 18 and older, but now, with a parent’s permission, can be downloaded by someone as young as 13.

“By expanding the age range, middle and high school, students will be able to add their phones to the fight and help with contact tracing that occurs in their schools if a positive case is identified,” said Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

Levine said there are no plans to immunize children through the schools and that the COVID-19 vaccine is not even licensed for children.

Cases have been surging across the state. Pennsylvania is hoping people listened to their recommendations for Thanksgiving and that they’ll be enough to slow the spread.

“We have no plans for further mitigation. We have instituted mitigation in the last two weeks. We’ll be observing the impact of that,” Levine said.

Sixty-percent of COVID-positive patients in Pennsylvanians have recovered more than 30 days after their symptoms started.

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