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Pawlik reviews fall opening options

By Staff | Jun 23, 2020

In their first in-person meeting since schools shutdown in March, the East Lycoming School District board heard from Michael Pawlik, district superintendent, about the guidance which the state’s department of education had sent out concerning the phased reopening of schools in the fall.

“There’s been basically a philosophical shift in the Department of Education and no longer will the state be determining if a school is open or closed,” Pawlik said. “All of that will be a local decision unless we are in red.”

“If we are in red, we cannot open for face-to-face, however we can immediately go into some sort of online or distance learning so the education doesn’t have to stop,” he stressed.

Pawlik went on to tell the board members that a written plan must be created for PDE following the guidance they provided as well as a template to follow. He noted that additional guidance is expected over the next few days.

“The way the process works is we will need to put together a team in order to create the plan. Once the plan is created the board has to approve the plan. The plan has to be posted for everyone to see and know what is in that plan,” he explained.

“All that has to occur before school starts next year,” Pawlik said.

He noted that the plan would have to be passed by the board’s first meeting in August.

Part of the process, he noted, would be to survey parents to see where their comfort levels are in terms of their child wearing a mask, or concerns about transportation.

“Just to get a feel from the community of where people are so that we can incorporate all that information into our plan to try to do the best we can to alleviate any concerns,” he explained.

“Certainly our No. 1 priority is making sure that our kids are safe,” he said.

Each district needs to make a “good faith effort” to try to implement as many safeguards as possible, Pawlik said.

Pawlik told the board that the committee will be comprised of members of the administration, as well as nurses, members of the local health care community, a bus contractor and members of the staff.

“It’s going to be a process that will take some time to work through. What we have to do is create a plan for each of the three phases and it will take time to work through all of it,” he said.

He added that any plan that would be formulated now will probably be different than the final product because of information that will be coming from PDE in the future.

In other business, the board approved:

The Intermediate Unit No. 17 2020-21 special education service agreement.

The Intermediate Unit No. 17 IDEA agreement for the upcoming school year.

The revised 202 Homestead and Farmstead exclusion resolution.

The next board meeting will be at 7 p.m. June 23 at the district board room, 349 Cemetery St.