November 24, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As of late, there have been numerous rumors and accusations in regard to the spread of COVID-19 within the Laurel Highlands School District; to be clear, to date we have experienced zero percent (0%) transmittal within the school environment. Consequently, we continue to build upon our mitigation measures. For example, we are adding safe air purifiers and ultra-violet light virus/bacteria eradication mechanisms daily into our buildings coupled with our extensive cleaning protocols. In contrast, community spread is currently hovering around eighty-five percent (85%) according to the PA Department of Health (DOH). This community spread has resulted in our county along with 58 others within the Commonwealth to be classified as “Substantial” in relation to the DOH’s table of community spread.
We were notified by the PA Department of Health (DOH) and the PA Department of Education (PDE) on 11/23/20 that due to Fayette County entering and foreseeably remaining in the “Substantial” (>100 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in a week’s time) category of COVID-19 infection for a consecutive two (2) week period, the PDE/DOH is recommending that all Fayette County Schools begin 100% remote learning. As mentioned earlier, this recommendation is in NO way attributed to COVID-19 spread within our school buildings. In contrast, the LHSD transmittal percentage is 0%. To that end, we will take the necessary precautions prescribed from the DOH/PDE in an effort to mitigate and suspend the community spread of COVID-19 into our school environment.
Please be aware that the Laurel Highlands School District will temporarily begin full remote learning on 12/1/2020. Our remote learning protocol will tentatively end on 12/11/2020 with a return to the Face-to-Face instructional model we are currently utilizing on 12/14/2020. However, should we need to remain in a remote environment longer than 12/14/2020, we will notify you in advance. Per the PDE/DOH, we can return to face-to-face instruction once the county enters into two (2) weeks of “Moderate” (<100 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,00 residents in a week’s time) status or we as a school district determine that the circumstances are present to safely return to an in-person teaching model. We have been and will remain in close communication with the DOH and will notify you if and when the landscape changes. Your child’s teacher will be reaching out to all students to discuss specifics in regard to this transition. However, please connect with your student’s school with regard to questions and information. Of importance, “grab and go” food operations will be available throughout the remote learning timeframe. We strongly recommend that you check our website (www.lhsd.org) often to receive the latest information.
In this vein, coursework in the remote environment will be as aligned as we can make it with the in-person model you have become familiar with. However, course offerings and the instructional day will not be an identical match. We will give our best effort and commitment to elevate every student educationally through these trying times. We appreciate your patience. Please be safe.
COVID-19 is a disease that is capable of rapidly spreading person-to-person. If someone is infected, that person can expose other people to COVID-19 even if they show no symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever or chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk for serious illness. If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, notify your local health department or the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at 1-877-724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.
Please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website (www.health.pa.gov) for the latest and most accurate information about COVID-19.
In closing, the Laurel Highlands School District is aware of the hardship this will have on many of our families. We will do everything possible to return to the face-to-face instructional model as soon as possible.
Dr. Jesse T. Wallace, III