Important Update Regarding COVID-19 Continuity of Learning

Continuity of LearningSeptember 10, 2021

Dear PRSD Students, Staff and Families,

As we complete the second week of school, we wanted to provide an important update about the district plans for continuity of learning for students or staff directly impacted by COVID-19. This approach is specific to circumstances when a person requires isolation due to a positive test or quarantine as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

We appreciate the patience of families as we work collaboratively with our staff to finalize plans. When the summer began, it was our sincere hope that we would be “out of the shadow” of the pandemic. Educational planning was centered around how to offer both in-person OR full virtual learning options for 2021 - 2022. Unfortunately, the emergence of the Delta variant, rise in cases and risk of quarantine increased rapidly in late July and early August. At this time, Allegheny County remains in the high transmission level per the CDC.

We are so thankful for the cooperation in support of the PRSD Health and Safety Plan. This plan will reduce the risk of transmission and quarantine of students. However, it is not possible to reduce all risks. In the event that a student or staff member is unable to attend in-person learning due to COVID-19, the following procedures will be implemented:

  • Notice should be provided to the school nurse as the critical point of contact. This awareness allows the nurse to clarify details and determine timelines with ACHD.
  • The school nurse will then ensure that relevant teachers are informed of a COVID-19 related absence.
  • Teachers will provide information to students about the learning goals, activities and resources for class. In many cases, this information is conveyed through Google Classroom or Blackboard. In some cases, particularly at the early grades, it may be shared via email with the need to physically pick up materials.
  • Students in grades 3 - 12 will then receive a Google Meet invitation for the majority of traditional classes. Students will have the opportunity to join the regularly scheduled class session, see the material presented on the classroom Interactive Display Board and listen to the teacher/class discussion.
  • In grades K - 2, teachers will work with families on a case-by-case basis to determine the best method for continuity of learning.
  • Expectations for submission of assignments will be embedded within teacher directions.

 

As a critical difference for 2021 - 2022, the teacher is expected to design lessons and focus his/her attention on the in-person learning environment since 99% of students are learning in that manner. The video camera will not be required since the camera can have the effect of limiting the teacher to a small area in the classroom. By providing access to the interactive display board and audio, the teacher is then able to move throughout the room in a traditional manner. The teacher is not expected to directly engage with students learning from home due to COVID-19. While it is possible that some technical difficulties will emerge, these issues will be addressed at a later time so that the full focus of the teacher can remain on the in-person learning environment.

For almost 20 months, students, staff and families at Pine-Richland have worked together to adapt and respond to new challenges. The key drivers of health/safety, learning effectiveness and flexibility have remained the same. It is our sincere hope that this approach to COVID-19 specific absences helps promote continuity of learning and maximizes the effectiveness of the in-person environment.

Sincerely,
Pine-Richland School District