WELLSBORO — The school district here is reopening athletic events to spectators, although that probably will not include the general public.
Wellsboro Area School District Superintendent Dr. Brenda Freeman said with the governor lifting restrictions Oct. 9, the district is able to host 20% of capacity at both inside and outside events. Tickets will be required to enter, and those will go first to students involved in the event.
“We’re excited to have parents come in and see their children. We’re excited to hear clapping and cheering again for our players,” Freeman said.
Spectators will sit in designated areas, staying with family members. Temperatures will be taken before admission, and hand sanitizer will be available. Spectators must wear masks both inside and outside and should follow social distancing guidelines. The district will not host spectators from opposing teams to limit exposures.
The district continues to monitor the community transmission spread in Tioga County, Freeman added. In recent weeks, the county has gone from low to moderate, prompting numerous calls from parents asking how that will impact the instruction model.
At this time, the county spread is mainly from adult to adult, not from student to student or student to adult, Freeman said. If a neighboring school district has a positive COVID-19 case, Wellsboro will not play that team. If there is a possible case, the district monitors whether it changes to positive or not.
“Be assured that when we play a team, that I’ve spoken to the superintendent of the school district we are playing to make sure there are no positive cases in the sport or at an event,” Freeman said.
She cautioned the board that the district may face a shutdown if there is a positive case or due to lack of substitute teachers. A shutdown could be enacted to give administrators time to gather information. It does not necessarily mean there is a positive case or close contact with a positive case.
Closing the school for one to three days gives the district time to review all contacts that the individual may have had. The district would switch to a remote instruction model if that happens, she said.
The district is also facing a substitute shortage, Freeman said. If the faculty is hit with a bout of illness — whether the flu or coronavirus — the district may have to close due to lack of substitutes. Freeman noted that anyone with a degree can receive emergency certification to serve as a substitute.
“The governor assured us he would not shut us down for a huge length of time,” Freeman said.
The district will be posting information on the website as to what would happen in case it shifts to remote learning, although the plan may be amended, she said. She invited parents to continue to call to have questions answered, learn what is happening in the schools or address their concerns.
In other business, the board:
- Approved resignations of Edwin Weaver as athletic director effective Sept. 14, John J. Johnston as high school football assistant coach effective Sept. 8 and Kevin Cavanaugh, a middle school social studies teacher, effective Sept. 8.
- Approved the retirement of Dawn Bergen, high school special education teacher, as of Dec. 31, and Nancy Cobb, special education instructional aid, as of Oct. 2.
- Hired Emily Gowin as an interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing, effective Oct. 14.
- Transferred Nathan Babcock from elementary physical education teacher to high school social studies teacher and Tammy Giarth from district-wide librarian/library classroom teacher to district-wide librarian/lead teacher of Wellsboro Online Academy.