PITTSBURGH — After 10 consecutive days with more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases statewide — something that hadn’t happened since April 2-19 — now 12 counties have had case levels over the past week that exceeded the levels recommended to have in-class instruction in public schools.
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Among the 10, three are local: Westmoreland, Lawrence and Indiana. The others are Berks, Bradford, Centre, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Montour, Schuylkill and Union. This would be based on the seven days from Oct. 9-15.
The state does not require that individual school districts follow the recommendations. Each district superintendent and school board are making those decisions on their own.
The superintendent of the Greater Latrobe School District told Channel 11 they are not shutting down despite more students and staff testing positive.
“We haven’t shut down our schools because we are considering the source of the COVID transition and it’s not necessarily being transmitted in our schools," said Georgia Teppert.
Neighboring schools, on the other hand, have shut down. The fifth district this week, Derry Area, announced Friday that it is experiencing more cases. Students are now using remote learning until further notice.
Other districts in Westmoreland County, such as Norwin, Hempfield and Greensburg Salem, shut down at least one school this week due to cases as well.
Dr. Dave Weber, with UPMC, said the recent uptick is concerning but not unexpected.
“I think its hard to pick a number, but certainly if the number of cases increasing in your school district then it’s reasonable to shut down until things settle down,” he said. “Certainly don’t want the number of cases going up dramatically."