Westmoreland County

Local school district among first to outline plan for upcoming school year

VANDERGRIFT, Pa. — One local school district has already laid out its plan for the upcoming school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Kiski Area School District said it wanted to prepare students, parents, teachers and staff-members as soon as possible, so it released its plan before the 2019-20 school year was even over.

“I believe that delaying a decision well into the summer in an effort to pinpoint a future reality would leave us with insufficient time to plan and implement a model that best serves our students,” Superintendent Tim Scott said.

For the first 75 days of the school year, students will do remote learning from home. When the district is comfortable, it’ll move to a hybrid model in which students are split into two groups.

One group of students, designated A Week Students, would attend school Monday through Thursday while B Week Students complete distance learning. The next week, B Week Students would attend school while A Week Students complete distance learning. All students would have distance learning on Fridays, to give the district a three-day weekend to clean the buildings.

Scott said the decision to send children back to school buildings is entirely up to the parents. If they’d prefer their children to stay home and complete remote learning, they can.

The plan is based on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines for schools and plans could change based on health experts’ recommendations.

“This plan, as described, is communicated with the understanding there may be legislation, regulations and/or directives issued over the summer, which could supersede part or all of what I detailed,” Scott said.

It’s unclear when the district will transition from a virtual, distant learning model to the hybrid model. Scott said it could be weeks, but it depends on current coronavirus data and conditions.