Wolf Administration Provides
Updated Guidance to Safely Reopen Pennsylvania’s Schools
– Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and
Education Secretary Pedro Rivera today jointly announced updated guidance
to help Pre-K to 12 schools prepare to reopen and safely educate students
for in-person learning. Each school entity will determine if classes resume
in person at school buildings, remotely or a combination of both options
goal is to ensure a safe return to school for students, educators and staff
by following best practices to mitigate the spread of the virus, including
wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing,” Secretary of
Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “In those instances when someone tests
positive, public health staff from the department will immediately assist
the school with risk assessment, isolation and quarantine recommendations,
and other infection control recommendations.”
guidance represents endorsed best public health practices related to social
distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfecting in
school settings. It also outlines how to accommodate individuals with
disabilities or chronic conditions, procedures for monitoring symptoms, and
responding to confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in the school
health and safety of students, teachers and staff must be paramount as
schools prepare for the upcoming school year,” said Secretary of Education
Pedro A. Rivera. “The Department of Education has been focused on
supporting schools with resources and best practices to help school leaders
make informed decisions within their local contexts and in response to
practice recommendations for schools outlined by the departments of Health
and Education include:
- Masks must be worn by students and staff at school
and on the bus as required by the order signed by Sec. of Health Dr. Levine on July 1,
with some exceptions. Masks can be removed to eat or drink.
- Students or caregivers should do a daily symptom
screening before leaving for school.
- Students, teachers and other staff are strongly
encouraged to follow social distancing throughout the day with 6 feet
of separation between desks and other seating.
- If possible, hold classes in gyms,
auditoriums, other large spaces or outdoors, where physical distancing
can be maintained.
- Student seating should be facing
in the same direction.
- Limit student interactions by staggering class
times, creating one-way walking patterns in hallways, and, when
feasible, keeping students in a classroom and rotating teachers
- For breakfast and lunch, consider serving
individually packaged meals in classrooms and avoid
across-the-table seating. If meals are served in a
cafeteria, sit students at least 6 feet apart.
- Limit the number of students on playgrounds at one
time and encourage social distancing.
- Encourage the use of virtual gatherings, events,
and extracurricular activities.
The guidance released today provides
a list of best practices for schools to consider before the start of
guidance for school sports is unchanged. Coaches, athletes, and spectators
must wear masks unless they can maintain 6 feet of separation outdoors. Athletes
can remove masks during a workout or competition.
guidance builds on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s preliminary
June 3 outlining steps schools must take before they may resume in-person
preliminary guidance requires school districts, charter schools, regional
charter schools, cyber charter schools, career and technical centers and
intermediate units to develop a health and safety plan. The plans must be
approved by the school’s governing body and made available on the school’s
public website before bringing students and staff back to campus. Nonpublic
schools are strongly encouraged to create plans tailored to their unique
needs and post them on their websites.
Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to
reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20
seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not
- Clean surfaces frequently.
- Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially
if you are unwell.
- If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason,
please wear a mask.
Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics
Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA,
a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts
like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up
online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.
information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please
visit the Department
of Education’s website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
MEDIA CONTACT: Health: Nate Wardle,
717-787-1783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Education: Nicole Reigelman,
717-649-4786, or email@example.com.
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