District Receives Additional State Guidance

District Receives Additional State Guidance
Posted on 08/18/2020
This is the image for the news article titled District Receives Additional State Guidance

South Park Families:


School districts throughout Pennsylvania received three new pieces of guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Health over the past week. We wanted to share what that guidance means for the South Park School District and how some of it will lead to changes in our health and safety plan. The district continues to plan for a hybrid model of reopening on Tuesday, September 8 with the option for families to choose a total cyber education track.


On Monday, August 10, the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Health released metric-based recommendations for what types of educational models can be deployed depending on the community transmission of COVID-19. The metrics used are the incidence rate per 100,000 residents for the most recent 7-day period in the county and the PCR percent positivity rate for the most recent 7-day period in the county. These recommendations can be found by clicking here.


Based on the most recent metrics released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for Allegheny County, the incidence rate per 100,000 residents is 42.7, and the PCR positivity rate is 4.3%.

This categorizes the level of community transmission in Allegheny County as “moderate.” The recommended reopening types for schools in Allegheny County, therefore, are blended reopening (a hybrid model) or a full remote reopening.

On Thursday, August 13, the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Health released guidance to districts on how to respond to COVID-19 case(s) in schools. This guidance can be found by clicking here.

When a case of COVID-19 is identified in a school setting, public health staff from the Allegheny County Health Department or the Pennsylvania Department of Health will work with school administrators to provide guidance, conduct contact tracing, make quarantine recommendations and/or close certain areas of the school or the entire school building(s) if necessary.

In the event of a positive case, the district will assist public health staff in their work to determine whether individuals, groups or entire classrooms need to be quarantined. Public health staff will direct close contacts to quarantine for 14 days from the last exposure to the positive case. This includes household contacts (siblings and parents/guardians/caregivers) who attend or work in other schools. Only public health officials, not district officials, will direct individuals to quarantine for 14 days.

Public health staff will also make recommendations on whether an entire school needs to be closed and, if so, for how long based on community transmission and the number of cases.

There is no recommended closure if there is one case of COVID-19 within a 14-day period in a school building.

If Allegheny County remains in the moderate community transmission category, and there are 2-4 cases in the same building or there are multiple school buildings with individual cases who are not household contacts within a 14-day period, the recommended closure is 5-7 days.

If Allegheny County remains in the moderate community transmission category, and there are 5 or more cases in a school building or multiple schools with 2-4 cases who are not household contacts within a 14-day period, the recommended closure is 14 days.

On Monday, August 17, the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Health updated their face covering guidance for school districts. The Department of Health is now requiring students/staff to wear face coverings at all times while in school, even when six feet of physical distancing can be achieved, except in certain circumstances.

Students may only remove face coverings when eating or drinking when spaced at least six feet apart, when wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task or when at least 6 feet apart during “face-covering breaks” to last no longer than 10 minutes. Face coverings must be worn at all other times.

According to the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education, children two years and older are required to wear a face covering unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Accommodations for such students should be made in partnership with the student’s health care provider, school nurse and IEP/504 team. The district will ask for medical documentation.

Previously, students would have been allowed to remove face coverings in classroom settings only if desks or workstations were spaced at least six feet apart. This new order requires face coverings to be worn at all times, even in classrooms where desks or workstations can be spaced six feet apart or more.


Also of note, on Thursday, August 13, we shared with families a revised 2020-2021 school year calendar and a hybrid group calendar for the first quarter. The school year will now open on Tuesday, September 8 for Hybrid Group A and Cyber Academy students. The first day of school for Hybrid Group B students will now be Wednesday, September 9. 


Over the next few weeks, you will receive additional communication from the district about COVID-19 symptoms, steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other important information as we prepare to begin the new school year. Also, we will soon share details about the release of transportation, homeroom and schedule information for the 2020-2021 school year and information specific for South Park Cyber Academy families.


If you have questions, please feel free to contact the district’s administration office or our school offices.


Thank you for your continued patience, support and flexibility.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2020 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.