• CORONAVIRUS 2019 (COVID-19) UPDATE

    March 11, 2020

    Prevention Good afternoon Upper St. Clair Families:

    As you may know, earlier today it was announced that the spread of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has reached pandemic levels, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). According to guidance offered by the WHO, the Upper St. Clair School District will be maintaining its current course of action: prevention, preparedness, public health and, most of all, people.

    We are continuing normal school operations with an additional focus on prevention and preparedness as we make plans for the possibility that we could be affected at some point in the future. Please know that the health and safety of our students and staff continue to be our primary concern. I want to make sure you are aware of the steps the District is taking to promote health and safety and minimize exposure to the COVID-19 in addition to current flu strains and other illnesses. 

    As I reported at the School Board meeting on Monday evening, we are working closely with the Upper St. Clair Township, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, the Allegheny County Health Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Health to coordinate additional health and safety protocols that may be recommended. We are also continuously monitoring the Centers for Disease Control website and related resources to ensure our District is taking all steps necessary to avoid exposure and the spread of viruses in our schools. Our custodial staff is continuing their focus on enhanced cleaning protocols.  

    Any student or staff member who is ill should stay home – including athletics and activities.

    We will continue to promote and permit voluntary absences from school for any student who may have been exposed to illnesses through travel or through contact with a member of their household. Any potential exposure case should be immediately reported to your child’s school nurse and/or building principal. Students shall not be penalized for an excused absence for illness or for an absence that has been approved/directed by the School District due to potential exposure.  

    Likewise, we have provided similar guidance to our athletics and extracurricular activity coaches and sponsors. If our students involved in these activities or members of our coaching staff/sponsors are not feeling well, they should not attend practices/rehearsals or competitions. While generally, students must practice to compete or perform, given the current national health concerns, those who are sick must be encouraged – and, if necessary, instructed – to stay home. Therefore, until further notice, students should not be penalized or be concerned about losing participation time due to an absence for a legitimate illness.

    Ongoing District Preparations

    At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area, and state/local authorities have not yet provided guidance regarding closures or cancellations for large events. You have seen a number of local organizations cancel events on their own. A team of District leaders is meeting and reviewing information daily in order to make informed decisions about our preparation and strategies moving forward – including the possibility of event cancellations, future school closures and/or extended absences. Please know that our teachers and building principals remain focused on maintaining a calm and supportive learning environment.

    We are in the process of adapting our emergency preparedness plans to incorporate recommendations from Allegheny County for pandemic planning for K-12 schools. We will also be working with our teachers to discuss options for alternative delivery of instruction in the event that an extended closure is needed or directed. 

    Resources for Families

    Links to information on COVID-19 can be accessed on our District website. We will continue to update this webpage as new information becomes available. Among the recent additions are two resources that may be of interest to our families: 

    Anticipated Guidance from State/Education Leaders

    We expect to hear from the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education (tentatively scheduled for this Friday), where additional guidance and directives may be provided to all Pennsylvania public schools. We are hopeful that the guidance will provide clarity as to which decisions will be made at the state vs local level. Formal approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education is needed for any significant changes to the school year, required number of instructional days and/or the permissibility of using technology to deliver instruction remotely.

    Thank you for your understanding as we continue to work through this challenging and evolving situation.

    Sincerely,

    John T. Rozzo, Ed.D.
    Superintendent of Schools