POTTER COUNTY — All schools in Pennsylvania are closed indefinitely, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on Monday, March 30. On March 27, he signed Senate Bill 751, which waives the requirement for schools to be in session at least 180 days and provides for continuity of education plans, among other things.
The Oswayo Valley School District began offering online enrichment and review to students on Monday, March 30. The district is using Google Classroom. Students without a technology device, such as laptop, will be provided with one; if students don’t have access to reliable internet, they will be provided with a paper packet.
Grades for students in the fourth nine weeks will be waived while the district maintains in enrichment and review, pending updates on educational requirements mandated by Pennsylvania Department of Education, Jed Hamberger, superintendent, wrote in a memo to district employees.
Oswayo Valley served more than 2,000 lunch and breakfast combos on Monday to 289 students to last through Thursday. Hamberger said this was to limit public exposure. On Friday, the district will serve for Friday-Sunday.
“This was a huge step and our support staff have been doing an awesome job preparing lunches and the volunteers who have been serving the lunches at our drive through have been awesome,” Hamberger said.
Teachers in the Galeton Area School District have moved their coursework to online and have already had some students log-in, superintendent Alanna Huck said.
Students were able to retrieve devices and books from the school on Tuesday.
“We are cognizant of the fact that not everyone has technology so we are preparing to mail packets to students,” Huck said. “If students have devices at home but no internet, teachers are preparing to put information on USB drives that can be picked up each week when students or parents go through the grab and go meal pick up.”
The current distance learning plan on the district’s website states it’s designed to cover the time period of March 31 through April 8. It will be amended at that point.
Teachers are using Google Classroom as their primary method of communication with students, assigning work and communicating grades, the plan states. Attendance will be recorded by the students or their parents.
Coudersport Area School District is still finalizing its continuity of education plan, superintendent Jackie Canter said. The school and district administrators think that they are able to provide an “enrichment and review program” based on the resources and materials currently available, she said.
The initial emphasis is to have teachers make contact with each student or parent to share their expectations for the next week or so, Canter said. The district plans to use both the internet and will distribute paper learning packets so there’s equitable access to the enrichment and review program for all of students.
“After surveying our families recently, we identified that at least 17% of our high school students do not have internet access, which makes distance learning even more challenging,” Canter said. “We are issuing Chromebooks and iPads in certain circumstances to students.”
The evidence of completion will be by pass/fail, Canter said.
“We are expecting obstacles along the way and fully expect our teaching staff and support staff will rise to the occasion and meet this challenge and overcome the obstacles,” Canter said. There is a tech support and distance learning link on the website and the district has been making frequent automated calls to keep parents and guardians informed, Canter said.
“This unprecedented situation in our nation’s history is affecting our educational system in a way that I never thought I would have experienced in my career as an educator,” Canter said.