Indiana schools will run at least half the time online and scrap an option for students and families to choose full-time in-person instruction in the district classrooms, because of re-emergence of coronavirus in the area, district officials said this afternoon.
At the same time, Indiana Area School District leadership cancelled all fall sports, abiding by new recommendations at noon today from Gov. Tom Wolf on the reopening of classes for the 2020-2021 school year.
“Please know that we understand your frustration with this situation,” Superintendent Michael Vuckovich wrote in a letter to parents published on the school district website and in social media today.
The word from the governor was not an order but “guidance” offered by his administration in response school officials across the state. The administration set parameters for counties to be labeled as low, moderate or severe for the level of community transmission of the COVID-19 infection.
Based on the “incidence rate” and “percent positivity” statistics registered in the counties since July 23, Indiana County was categorized in the moderate range, where Wolf’s administration recommended that schools offer either a blended learning model or full remote learning model.
The word came so abruptly that Indiana school principals planned to conduct a series of online town hall meetings to introduce parents to the look and feel of learning in the four elementary and two secondary schools in the district.
The district’s response to the recommendations was on the cautious side.
“Despite our best efforts to provide options for our learners that would best serve their needs, we have no choice but to follow the recommendations, guidance and mandates of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Vuckovich told parents in his digital memo.
“Obviously, having just received this information, we have several questions and concerns we need to have addressed by (Pennsylvania Department of Education) before we move on,” Vuckovich continued. “As you can imagine, this will require some additional planning to make sure we select the most appropriate path moving forward as things have drastically changed since our last correspondence.”
The Indiana Area School District board of directors may take up discussion of the new guidance from Harrisburg at the board’s regular monthly business meeting, to take place online on the Zoom app at 7 p.m.