June 30, 2020
The Return-to-School Coalition’s five workgroups, comprising various stakeholders in the district, are continuing to meet and follow a four-stage process: Identify the Knowns and Unknowns; Build Scenarios; Recognize Consistencies and Prioritize; and Communicate. Upon the completion of these meetings, district administrators will compile a report for the Fox Chapel Area School Board to review at its August 2020 meeting.
As I’m sure you know, much uncertainty remains. Please know that we are closely monitoring the most recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County and any guidance and recommendations that come from the county’s health department, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
At this time, the Fox Chapel Area School District is planning to offer in-person instruction and a fully online option taught by Fox Chapel Area teachers for the 2020-2021 school year. We will continue to work on details for how our in-person instruction will take place, guided by feedback from our workgroup meetings. We will send a survey to parents and guardians within the next week to gather information to further inform our work.
It’s important for our parents to know that per the state Department of Health, effective immediately, all children and adults must wear masks when inside all Fox Chapel Area facilities. Students will be able to remove their masks when eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart; seated at desks or assigned work spaces at least 6 feet apart; or while engaged in any activity at least 6 feet apart. Any student who cannot wear a mask or face shield due to a medical condition or disability, and students who would be unable to remove a mask without assistance are not required to wear face coverings.
Please know that we continue to plan for adaptation and change, not perfection, because of the constantly changing situations surrounding the spread of COVID-19. We are taking every precaution we can to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our entire school community.
We will continue to keep you updated as our work continues throughout the summer.
June 16, 2020
Though the school year just ended, work to plan for the needs of Fox Chapel Area School District’s students for 2020-2021 is underway through the launch of the Return-to-School Coalition. Because of the unknown nature of the reopening of Pennsylvania and its schools, it is important to plan proactively for the future.
The Return-to-School Coalition comprises various stakeholders in the district, including parents, students, administrators, teachers, staff members, community representatives, and experts in the following workgroups: Facilities, Athletics, and Extracurriculars; Safety, Health Services, and Wellness; Instruction; Special Education; and Technology and Communications. The goal of these stakeholder groups is to harness the members’ representative talents and voices in the planning process.
Each workgroup will meet multiple times and follow a four-stage process: Identify the Knowns and Unknowns; Build Scenarios; Recognize Consistencies and Prioritize; and Communicate.
Teams will plan for the following scenarios:
- Fox Chapel Area schools being permitted to reopen with no restrictions;
- Fox Chapel Area schools permitted to reopen with strict social-distancing guidelines, resulting in structural changes, such as alternate schedules;
- Fox Chapel Area schools not being permitted to reopen, necessitating a fully online instructional model or families uncomfortable sending students to school even if buildings are reopened; and
- Changing conditions surrounding COVID-19 and the need to shift the instructional plan throughout the school year due to changing requirements.
It’s important for parents to know that the Return-to-School Coalition planning process is focused on planning for adaptation and change, not perfection, because it is impossible to predict what exactly the coming months will look like for our schools.
We take our responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our entire school community very seriously. We will be following guidance and requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the state Department of Health, the Office of the Governor, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. We expect to update parents on a biweekly basis as our work continues throughout the summer.