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Special Meeting of the CLSD Board of School Directors
Superintendent’s Remarks
July 27, 2020

Good evening,

Tonight, Monday, July 27, is a special meeting of the Cornwall-Lebanon School District (CLSD) Board of School Directors that has been called to present our Health and Safety Reopening Plan. According to the directives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), this plan must be approved prior to the reopening of school. Cornwall-Lebanon has called this special meeting so that we can make all of the necessary changes in time to begin the 2020-2021 school year.

The results from our survey last week indicate that we currently have 80 percent of our parents who have indicated a desire for in-person schooling. The other 20 percent have selected a desire to have a virtual solution through our CLSD K-8 Virtual School or Cedar Crest Cyber.

As in all of our decision making, the decisions made in this plan reflect the best interests of all students. Thus, the CLSD re-opening health and safety plan being approved this evening is based on the following:

  • Protect the health, safety, and well-being of students, families, and staff;
  • Provide for safe facilities for students and staff to participate in educational activities;
  • Provide for educational opportunities that maximize learning, are equitable, and take into consideration the various dynamics of each family whether the instruction is in-person, hybrid, or virtual.

The CLSD Pandemic Team, CLSD Administration, CLSD Staff, and CLSD Teachers have been working and communicating to create plans that address all of the health, safety and educational needs of our students and families.

Over the course of the past several months, we solicited feedback from our community, have reviewed survey results, communicated with parents via email and phone calls, and conducted focus groups with diverse opinions. We have consulted with local emergency services, local medical professionals, reviewed guidance, research-based scientific evidence, and mandates from state and national officials.

Much of the guidance and the mandates have continued to evolve and change during this time. We expect they will continue to change. As of today, July 27, 2020, the plan we are presenting tonight will inform parents specifically how we plan to begin the 2020-2021 school year.

Please know that in the event of changing mandates or very specific guidance, this may change.

The current model from the Pennsylvania Department of Education requires school districts to develop plans that reflect the Red, Yellow, and Green Designations of each county. While Lebanon County is now designated as being in the Green phase and has remained so for some weeks, the specific details of what are required for schools in this phase have continued to change. Thus, our plan has evolved to reflect these mandates and guidance from state officials.

Tonight’s presentation of our plan will cover the major areas of our Health and Safety Plan, but will also present the different methods of how we will present instruction at the various levels.

All of these options allow for and promote extensive mitigation practices.

There are also numerous protocols that the District will be taking to mitigate the spread of COVID 19.

I must stress that all in-person learning will only be possible with the cooperation of everyone in our school community.

The options we will be presenting tonight include the following:

Elementary

K-5 will begin on August 31 in the Green phase with all students present. Fourteen (14) professional staff members will be re-assigned from non-mandated or non-federally funded special areas, intervention, enrichment, and extended day kindergarten to reduce class sizes across all District elementary schools. Class sizes will be in the low 20s across all buildings and all grades levels. Cafeteria seating will be expanded to Gym, Large Group Instruction rooms (LGI) or learning pod areas.

Middle School and High School

Students will begin in Yellow on August 31 in a blended model. We are calling this the Blue/Gray (or A/B) model. Half of the students will be physically present each day (with the exception of special education) and the other half of the students will participate from home in synchronous live instruction via their devices on alternating days. We will install cameras and 360-degree microphones in classrooms at the middle school and high school.

Therefore, parents will need to select the preferred method of education that we are offering:

Elementary:

  • In-person full time
  • CLSD K-8 Virtual (live lessons)
  • CLSD Cedar Crest Cyber (asynchronous)

Middle and High School:

  • In–person blended alternating days (physically present/virtually present) to begin the 2020-2021 school year – The Blue/Gray Model
  • CLSD K-8 Virtual
  • CLSD Cedar Crest Cyber (asynchronous)

Parents will need to register their children for one of these options.

The primary reason for starting in the blended model at MS / HS is that we have continued to receive additional direction from PDE and the Pennsylvania Department of Health that make a full start with everyone very difficult in our large schools given lunches, hall changes, and class changes. In an elementary environment, it is much more feasible to significantly curtail interactions and control the movement of students. Secondary students also have the ability to be left unsupervised by their parents and still participate in their classrooms from home utilizing technology that we have available. It is not possible for our elementary students to participate from home unless they have adequate supervision. Given the varied situations of our families, this is not possible for everyone.

Recognizing that everyone’s family situation and circumstances are different, is why we are providing options.

Please also remember that this plan could and will likely change and evolve as the ways we are being directed or asked to respond is changing daily.

We look forward to the re-opening and return to school for our students.