• Below is a record of our districtwide communications to parents and guardians:


    Letter sent to all SC parents and guardians Dec. 4

    Subject: Spring Creeks COVID Cases and Closure

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    In the last 14 days, there have been a total of eight positive COVID-19 cases at Spring Creek Elementary, including three employee cases we learned of today and one yesterday. All four of these cases came about through our internal district testing program. With these numbers, the new Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements led us to close Spring Creek next week. This applies to employees and student support centers scheduled to open Monday, Dec. 7. We will be sanitizing the building during the closure.

    Students scheduled to attend the Spring Creek support center next week, either those who receive special education or children of first responders and frontline medical workers, will be relocated to Corl Street Elementary. Details will be forthcoming to these families. 

    Sincerely,

    Todd Dishong, Principal


    Letter sent to all Panorama Village Administrative Center employees Dec. 3

    Subject: Panorama Positive COVID Case

    Dear Colleagues,

    An employee who was last in the Panorama building last week has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Randy Brown 


    Letter sent to all MNE parents and guardians Dec. 3

    Subject: MNE Positive COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A person who has been in Mount Nittany Elementary has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re in remote learning, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Mark Feldman, Principal


    Letter sent to all Fairmount parents and guardians Dec. 3

    Subject: Fairmount Positive COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A person who has been in the Fairmount Building has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re in remote learning, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Jon Downs


    Letter sent to all State High parents and guardians Dec. 3

    Subject: State High Positive COVID Cases

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Two State High employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and both are now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re in remote learning, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to all PFMS parents and guardians Dec. 3

    Subject: PFMS Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Park Forest Middle School employee who has not been in the building since before Thanksgiving break has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Karen Wiser, Principal


    Letter sent to all MNE parents and guardians Dec. 3

    Subject: MNE Positive Student COVID Cases

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Two Mount Nittany Elementary students who have not been in the building since the week of Nov. 23 are presumed positive for COVID-19 and are now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Mark Feldman, Principal


    Letter sent to all State High parents and guardians Dec. 3

    Subject: State High Positive COVID Cases

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    One State High student and one State High employee have tested positive for COVID-19 and both are now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to all Delta parents and guardians Dec. 3

    Subject: Delta Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Delta Program student has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Jon Downs


    Letter sent to all SC parents and guardians Dec. 3

    Subject: Spring Creek Positive Student COVID Cases

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Two Spring Creek Elementary students who have not been in the building since the week of Nov. 16 have tested positive for COVID-19 and are now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Todd Dishong, Principal


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Dec. 2

    Subject: COVID Reporting and Travel Requirements

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    We have appreciated parents’ prompt reporting of student positive COVID-19 cases to the district. Please continue reporting positive cases through this form. Even though we are in fully remote learning, this information helps us make staffing decisions and will be a key variable as we consider whether to return to in-person learning on Dec. 14.

    As a reminder, the PA. Dept. of Health's order for traveling requires anyone who has traveled out-of-state to have a negative COVID-19 test result upon returning to the commonwealth. In our case, students must have a negative result to enter any SCASD building. If they cannot get a test, or choose not to, they must quarantine for 14 days. 

    Thanks again for your continued cooperation. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all State High parents and guardians Dec. 2

    Subject: State High Positive COVID Cases

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Three State High students have tested positive for COVID-19 and are now in isolation. One student is fully remote, one has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 16, and one has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 23. Additionally, one State High employee has tested positive and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to all State High parents and guardians Dec. 2

    Subject: State High Positive Student COVID Cases

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Two State High students have tested positive for COVID-19 and are now in isolation. One student is fully remote and the other has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 23. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to all MNMS parents and guardians Dec. 2

    Subject: MNMS Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Mount Nittany Middle student who has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 23 has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Brian Ishler, Principal


    Letter sent to all SC parents and guardians Dec. 2

    Subject: Spring Creek Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Spring Creek Elementary student who has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 23 has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Todd Dishong, Principal


    Letter sent to all EP parents and guardians Dec. 1

    Subject: EP Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    An Easterly Parkway Elementary employee who has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 9, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Danielle Yoder, Principal


    Letter sent to all Spring Creek parents and guardians Dec. 1 

    Subject: Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    An as-needed district employee who was last in Spring Creek the week of Nov. 23, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Even while we’re remote, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Todd Dishong, Principal


    Letter sent to all PFE parents and guardians Dec. 1

    Subject: PFE Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Park Forest Elementary employee who has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 23, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, even while we’re remote, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Jonathan Klingeman, Principal 


    Letter sent to all FTE parents and guardians Dec. 1

    Subject: FTE Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Ferguson Township Elementary employee who has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 9 to 13, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Kelly Mark, Principal


    Letter sent to all State High parents and guardians Dec. 1

    Subject: Bus Driver COVID Positive Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A State High bus driver who has not been in the building, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to all SC parents and guardians Nov. 25

    Subject: SC Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Spring Creek Elementary student who has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 9-13, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Todd Dishong, Principal


    Letter sent to all FT parents and guardians Nov. 25

    Subject: FT Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Ferguson Township Elementary employee who has not been in the building since last week, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Kelly Mark, Principal


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Nov. 24

    Subject: SCASD in Remote Status Nov. 30 - Dec. 11

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    We’d like to provide you with a few updates regarding remote learning for the weeks of Nov. 30 - Dec. 4 and Dec. 7 - 11. During this period, all K-12 students will adhere to their daily schedules during remote learning each day except for Wednesdays, which will be asynchronous learning days with direction coming from each teacher.

    Meal Distribution

    Meal distribution will be offered, with details communicated directly by our Food Services Department.

    Support for Medical Professionals and Emergency Responders

    During the weeks of Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, we will be providing an in-school support service for students whose parents/guardians are frontline medical professionals or emergency responders. Those families are being contacted directly through their employers. Questions may be directed to Shannon Messick, Coordinator of Community Education at sem29@scasd.org

    Special Education Support Centers 

    During the week of Dec. 7-11, we will be providing in-person support to some of our students who receive special education services. For these services, we will be following the same format and protocols that we used when we were in full remote status in September. Eligible students’ families will receive follow-up emails tomorrow with details about these opportunities.

    COVID-19 Positive Case Reporting

    During this remote learning period, we are requesting that our families continue to report any positive COVID-19 student cases. If you have a child who attends any SCASD school test positive for COVID-19, please fill out this form so we can continue to track case numbers in our schools. 

    Regarding our district’s status for the week of Dec. 14, we will update you during the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 10. Until then, while our goal remains to return to in-person learning on Dec. 14, for that to happen we need the entire community’s commitment to health and safety protocols.

    Thank you for your cooperation and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


     Letter to State High parents and guardians Nov. 24

    Subject: State High Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A State High student who has not been in the building since the week of Nov. 9-13, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter to State High parents and guardians Nov. 23

    Subject: Contracted services provider positive

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A person who is employed by a third party and who doesn’t enter our school has tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    The person supports fewer than 10 students before and after school. 

    Sincerely,

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to State High parents and guardians Nov. 23

    Subject: State High Employee Positive COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A State High employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified. 

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,  

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


     

    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Nov. 19

    Subject: In-school Status of the District

    Dear Parents or Guardians:

    After meeting with our health and safety team today, we have made two difficult decisions. First, we will remain in schools next week, on Nov. 23 and 24. Second, we will be shifting the district to fully-remote learning for the two weeks following Thanksgiving break. Our plan is to return to in-person learning on Monday, Dec. 14.

    We took this course of action with the unanimous support of our health and safety team. For weeks, we have been struggling with staffing due to absences related to COVID-19 in addition to usual illnesses. Because of that, we’ve had to combine several classes at secondary schools and move them into alternative spaces. At the elementary level, we have been shifting faculty, staff and substitute teachers among classrooms and buildings. This has affected our operations areas as well, including food services and transportation. While we have been able to manage to this point, and are working to cover classes through next Tuesday, continuing in this manner is not sustainable. We are now at a tipping point.

    Compounding the problem, our team is predicting that our current situation will only become worse during the two weeks after the Thanksgiving break because of the recent surge of COVID-19 and expected holiday gatherings. This is why we are closing until Dec. 14. Hopefully, this period will give us time to restore our staffing levels, providing a pathway back into schools.

    Right now, we are working through the logistics of how we will operate during those two weeks. Details regarding food services, instructional support centers for students receiving special education services, and support centers for K-6 children of frontline healthcare workers will be coming soon. 

    I realize this decision will cause hardships for many of our families. Please know, a great deal of care and thought goes into these types of decisions, and they’re always challenging. For nine months now, this virus has taken its toll on our community, and I can only hope that we will be back in schools as soon as possible. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all RP and GW parents and guardians Nov. 19

    Subject: RP/GW Employee Positive COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    An employee who is periodically in Radio Park Elementary and Gray's Woods Elementary has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Deirdre Bauer, Principal
    Kristen Dewitt, Principal 


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Nov. 17

    Subject: Updated Academic Calendar Including Spring Break

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Last night, the Board of Directors approved an amended 2020-2021 Academic Calendar that eliminated the full week off for spring break and redistributed those days throughout the spring. This was done in an effort to discourage widespread travel during the break to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our district and community. 

    Please note the changes below, and you can view the entire calendar here

    • No school on Monday, Feb. 15 – President’s Day
    • No school on Thursday, March 11 and Friday, March 12
    • No school on Friday, April 30
    • Last day of school is Wednesday, June 2

    We recognize that this change could impact some of our families that already have plans. If this applies to your family and you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your building principal

    Sincerely,

    Chris Rosenblum


    Letter sent to all EP parents and guardians Nov. 16

    Subject: EP Positive COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    An individual who is periodically in Easterly Parkway has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Danielle Yoder, Principal


    Letter sent to all Ferguson Township parents and guardians Nov. 16

    Subject: FT Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A student who has not been in Ferguson Township Elementary since the week of Nov. 2-6 has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. This case is unrelated to the classroom closure we communicated yesterday. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Kelly Mark, Interim Principal


    Letter sent to all MNE parents and guardians Nov. 15

    Subject: Mount Nittany Employee Positive COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Mount Nittany Elementary employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Mark Feldman, Principal


    Letter sent to all FT parents and guardians Nov. 15

    Subject: FT Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Ferguson Township student has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified. In this instance, because we have both a positive case and a separate close contact, we are quarantining that classroom from tomorrow until Nov. 24. The parents of those children have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Kelly Mark, Interim Principal


    Letter sent to all PFMS parents and guardians Nov. 15

    Subject: PFMS Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A PFMS student has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Karen Wiser, Principal


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Nov. 13

    Subject: Update On District Status Decisions

    Dear SCASD Community Member:

    As you’re probably aware, with unanimous support from our Health and Safety Team, our district will continue to offer in-person learning districtwide for the week of Nov. 16-20. In response to questions about how we decide our status, we wanted to clarify why we remain open with in-person learning and why we might shift to fully remote learning.

    Why is the district open next week?

    On page 3 of our Health and Safety Plan, we included the overarching goal from the PA Department of Health: “The goal is to keep transmission as low as possible to safely continue school activities.” In line with this intent, we have seen no transmission in schools to date, and this is the main reason we continue to offer in-school learning. 

    Since Aug. 26, we have had one possible incidence of transmission on an athletic team, which happened outside of the school day. Contact tracing has shown no signs of transmission among our students and employees occurring during the school day.

    According to the medical and science professionals on our Health and Safety Team, our health and safety plan is working and preventing transmission. We have in place one of the most stringent health and safety plans in the state. 

    • We continue to require employees and students to be masked and six-feet physically distanced. 
    • We have a detailed contact tracing process conducted by our professionally trained nurses and Human Resources staff. 
    • Employees and students have done an excellent job of adhering to the Health and Safety Plan protocols since the first day of school, Aug. 26.
    • We have no evidence of COVID-19 transmission during the school day or on our buses. 
    • We are in consistent communication with the hospital about its ability to serve the community.

    What would cause the district to close districtwide or an individual school?

    • We see transmissions occurring within schools.
    • We have a critical number of cases in one building. Our considerations would include the location of cases and connections between them. 
    • We cannot adequately staff our buildings and operations.
    • The local hospital status necessitates our closing. At this time, the hospital has seen no relationship between SCASD being open and the patients they are treating.
    • Governor Wolf or the Department of Health requires us to close.

    Note: We are actively monitoring each school’s cases on a daily basis. This includes an on-call team throughout each weekend. Therefore, at any time, we could decide to close an individual school or the district based on any of the above variables. 

    Why is it important for SCASD to offer in-school learning?

    We believe that offering in-school learning, if it’s safe for students and employees, is best for many of our students. When we are in schools, students have immediate face-to-face access to  services and support from faculty and staff; e.g. – counseling, special education, and nursing services. In addition, we are better able to:

    • Support the social-emotional well-being of our students. Local mental health professionals, pediatricians, and social workers are concerned about a lack of social engagement contributing to a decline in our students’ well-being (i.e., increased drug use, obesity, depression/anxiety, etc.).
    • Provide specialized instruction for our students who receive required special education services.
    • Provide free and nutritious meals daily for all students.
    • Support our local medical community’s ability to fight the pandemic. From experience, we know that when we are closed, medical providers and first responders have challenges maintaining staffing when their children cannot be in our schools. 
    • Support parents and guardians who cannot work from home. Some families have little or no way to stay home with their children.

    What factors does our district consider when making weekly decisions?

    As a reminder, on Sept. 10, 2020 the Board approved a Health and Safety Plan amendment that replaced our plan’s original parameters for school closures. The memo stated:

    By adopting a multifaceted approach, we will be able to take all of the information below into consideration when monitoring the countywide and school community COVID-19 cases and trends:

    • Centre County Percent Positivity Rate
    • Centre County Incidence Rate
    • Community Cases: Reported via daily updates from Geisinger, Mount Nittany Health, Penn State Health
    • District Cases 
    • Mount Nittany Medical Center (MNMC) COVID-19 capacity
    • Individual school closures
    • Penn State employee COVID-19 positive rate pending testing. 

    Each week, we will take all of the above data into consideration while deciding whether to be in-school or remote for the next week. The information as a whole will be analyzed and the decision will be communicated as soon as possible, on either Thursday or Friday. 

    We hope this helps further your understanding of how we arrive at our weekly decision. This continues to be an incredibly challenging process for everyone, and we thank you for your patience and understanding. As we learn new information or if we decide to change our status, we will notify you as soon as possible. 

    Have a nice weekend.

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all PFMS parents and guardians Nov. 13

    Subject: PFMS Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A PFMS student has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Karen Wiser, Principal


    Letter sent to all High School parents and guardians Nov. 13

    Subject: State High Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A State High student has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to all Delta parents and guardians Nov. 13

    Subject: Delta Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Delta student has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Jon Downs


    Letter sent to all State High parents and guardians Nov. 13

    Subject: High School Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A State High student has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to all Panorama Village employees Nov. 13

    Subject: PV Positive COVID Case 

    Dear Colleagues,

    An individual who is periodically in Panorama Village has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Randy Brown


    Letter sent to all Ferguson parents and guardians Nov. 13

    Subject: FT Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A student who has not been in Ferguson Township Elementary for over a week has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Kelly Mark, Principal


    Letter sent to all State High parents and guardians Nov. 13

    Subject: State High Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    An employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Nov. 12

    Subject: Remaining in Schools Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    After consulting with our Health and Safety Team today, we have decided to remain in schools next week, Nov. 16-20.

    Although cases in our community and schools have risen lately, we are still well below the high numbers we experienced during October. Regarding the three employee and four student cases identified this week, our contact tracing results have identified no evidence of transmission within our schools or on our buses. We attribute this to our students’ and employees’ ongoing adherence to our health and safety plan protocols, and it’s primarily why we are continuing in-school education. 

    The increased COVID-19 cases in our community and statewide are troubling. We are also experiencing a shortage of employees leading to staffing issues in our schools, which we have been able to manage thus far. While our goal continues to be offering in-school learning, it’s becoming more difficult.

    Therefore, I again ask our community: Please be diligent about abiding by recommended safety practices. We can monitor what happens during the school days but beyond that, we need our entire community to wear masks, adhere to physical distancing and avoid gatherings. 

    Thank you for your continued commitment to following COVID-19 safety measures at all times. 

    Sincerely, 

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all MNMS parents and guardians Nov. 11 

    Subject: Positive MNMS Employee COVID Case 

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Mount Nittany Middle School employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Brian Ishler, Principal


    Letter sent to all PFMS parents and guardians Nov. 11 

    Subject: Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A student who was last in Park Forest Middle School on Friday, Nov. 6 has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Karen Wiser, Principal


    Letter sent to all Spring Creek parents and guardians Nov. 10 

    Subject: SC Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A student who has not been in Spring Creek Elementary School for over a week has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Todd Dishong, Principal


    Letter sent to all MNMS parents and guardians Nov. 10

    Subject: MNMS Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A student who has not been in Mount Nittany Middle School since the week of Oct. 26-30 has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Brian Ishler, Principal


    Letter sent to all Delta parents and guardians Nov. 10

    Subject: Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A district employee who was last in the North Building on Friday, Nov. 6 has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. To be clear, this is not a Delta employee, and this person did not have contact with Delta students. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Jon Downs


    Letter sent to all PFMS parents and guardians Nov. 10

    Subject: Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    An employee who was last in Park Forest Middle School on Friday, Nov. 6 has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Karen Wiser, Principal


    Letter sent to all Gray's Woods parents and guardians Nov. 9

    Subject: GW Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A student who has not been in Gray’s Woods since the week of Oct. 26-30 has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Kris Dewitt, Principal


    Letter sent to all State High parents and guardians Nov. 8

    Subject: State High Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    An employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and there are no close contacts.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson, Principal


    Letter sent to all EP parents and guardians Nov. 8

    Subject: EP Positive Employee COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    An employee who has not been in Easterly Parkway since the week of Oct. 26-30 has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and there are no close contacts.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Danielle Yoder, Principal


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Nov. 6

    Subject: Calling for SCASD Substitute Teachers and Paras

    Dear SCASD Community Member:

    We need you! Currently, our district is experiencing a severe shortage of substitute teachers and paraprofessionals. For a variety of reasons, we’re facing staffing challenges, so we are reaching out to our community for help. 

    These openings must be filled as soon as possible. If you, or someone you know, is interested, please apply now. To be a substitute teacher earning $95 per day, you must have at least a bachelor's degree. Paraprofessional positions require a high school diploma, and depending on their role, start at $11.50 per hour and go up from there. 

    In addition, we are seeking bus drivers, custodians, and food services workers.  

    For all positions, we will provide the training you need. Please consider joining us for a rewarding job that will help our community’s children. 

    To learn more or apply, please visit our job listing website or contact Shelbi Smeltzer at 814-272-3910 or sls15@scasd.org.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all Gray's Woods parents and guardians Nov. 6

    Subject: GW Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A student who has not been in Gray’s Woods this week has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and there are no close contacts.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Dr. Kristen Dewitt
    Gray's Woods Principal


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Nov. 5

    Subject: Remaining in Schools Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    After consulting with our Health and Safety Team today, we have decided to remain in schools next week, Nov. 9-13.

    When assessing our status, we considered the number and nature of recent COVID-19 cases in the district. This week, we had four unrelated cases of COVID-19 in three separate buildings. Contact tracing identified that each case had no close contacts within the district. 

    The countywide seven day average of COVID-19 cases is 34, a decrease from 45 the previous week. During the same period, we also have seen the seven-day average percent positivity drop from 16 percent to 10 percent. Even though we’re encouraged to see these changes, from our discussions with Mount Nittany Medical Center, we’re still concerned about local COVID-19 hospitalizations. In light of the virus’ continued presence in our community, please continue to exercise caution and follow safety measures such as maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding gatherings, especially indoors.

    We have received questions about how we are handling contact tracing. For student cases, our nurses conduct the contact tracing. With employees, our human resources department, in collaboration with our nurses, completes the tracing. 

    In most cases, there are no close contacts. This is a testament to the protocols in our health and safety plan. To be clear, if everyone abides by the plan, there technically would never be any close contacts. In reality, however, this isn’t always the case, and why for every case, we have professionally trained people completing our contact tracing. To help with your understanding of isolation, quarantine, returns to school and contact tracing, our nurses developed this flow chart.

    Thank you for your continued commitment to following COVID-19 safety measures at all times. 

    Sincerely, 

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all Radio Park parents and guardians Nov. 5

    Subject: RP Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Radio Park student has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and there are no close contacts.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Deirdre Bauer
    Radio Park Principal


    Letter sent to all high school parents and guardians Nov. 5

    Subject: HS Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A student who has been in the high school tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and there are no close contacts.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Curtis Johnson
    State High Principal


    Letter sent to all MNMS parents and guardians Nov. 5 

    Subject: Positive MNMS Employee COVID Case 

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    A Mount Nittany Middle School employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and there are no close contacts.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Brian Ishler
    MNMS Principal


    Letter sent to all high school parents and guardians Nov. 4 

    Subject: Positive Student COVID Case

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Yesterday, a State High student tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and there are no close contacts.

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.  

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Curtis Johnson
    State High Principal 


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Nov. 3 

    Subject: Spring Break Calendar Adjustment Proposal

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Last night, our district administration presented an updated draft of the 2020-2021 academic calendar to the Board of Directors. Our proposal is to reduce the number of days off during spring break to discourage travel to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19. This idea stems from Penn State previously eliminating their spring break.

    The recommended plan was developed through our calendar committee, which includes parent representatives, and by a survey of our faculty and instructional support staff. As you can see below, the plan distributes the spring break days throughout the winter and spring. 

    • No school on Monday, Feb. 15 – President’s Day 
    • No school on Thursday, March 11 and Friday, March 12 
    • No school on Friday, April 30
    • Final student day shifts from Thursday, June 3 to Wednesday, June 2

    Lastly, the below information will clarify our plans for snow days this school year. 

    When districtwide in-person learning is offered:

    • Snow days will be used in the traditional manner. All students will have the day off and the day will be made up at a later time through our scheduled snow make-up days. 

    During districtwide fully-remote learning:

    • Regular learning will occur remotely and the day would not need to be made up. 
    • For any students accessing special education services in our schools, we would work with those families on a case-by-case basis.

    We will bring the updated calendar back to the Board as an action item to request approval on Nov. 16.

    Stay safe and well,

    Chris Rosenblum
    Communications Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Oct. 29 

    Subject: Remaining in Schools Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    After consulting with our Health and Safety Team today, we have decided to remain in schools next week, Nov. 2-6.

    We based our decision partly on the lack of COVID-19 cases and transmission within our schools. Although cases in our zip codes have slightly increased over the past week, our daily cases remain significantly lower than they were during September and the first week of October. Additionally, we have had no known positive cases in our buildings with students or employees this week. In short, we believe it is still safe for us to continue offering in-person learning. 

    One area we are monitoring closely, through multiple conversations with Mount Nittany Medical Center each week, is hospital capacity. We know there has been a rise in patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in the last two weeks, which serves as an important reminder for all of us. To remain in school, we need everyone's commitment to safety measures both in and outside of school. 

    Moreover, with Halloween and the Ohio State game coming this weekend, we all need to remain diligent about wearing masks, remaining physically distant, washing your hands and avoiding large gatherings indoors.

    Lastly, Centre County government began providing a free “walk-in” COVID-19 testing site this week, with testing ending Nov 14. Click here for details

    Thank you for your cooperation,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Oct. 23 

    Subject: Quarantining after traveling update

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    In consultation with our Health and Safety Team, we have revised our travel protocols related to quarantining. Specifically, we have updated the travel section from the daily checklist form and educational trip form to include the following protocols: 

    During a pandemic: If the student/family travels to or from an area with increased cases/spread of COVID 19, or out of the country, the student(s) can return to school immediately upon return if the entire family wore masks at all times, physically distanced themselves from others at all times (this includes travel by air, train, etc.), was not knowingly exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, and did not attend a mass gathering (as defined by CDC Considerations for Events and Gatherings), as well as if the destination required others to wear masks.  Prior to making plans families should consider if their destination requires mask wearing and how that will impact their own response to wearing a mask. 

    If all of these safety measures cannot be met, the student must quarantine for 14 days upon return. 

    What this means is that if you travel to a state or country on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s quarantine travel list, you no longer have to automatically quarantine if you follow the above protocols. If the safety measures are followed, students can attend school immediately upon return. This, combined with the health and safety plan we currently have in place for our district, led us to make this change. 

    This is effective immediately for all students currently traveling or who have recently returned. If you have questions or concerns about traveling, please reach out to your school nurse.

    Sincerely,

    Jeanne Knouse
    Director of Student Services


    Letter sent to all PFE parents and guardians Oct. 23 

    Subject: Positive Employee COVID Case 

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    An employee who was in Park Forest Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Contact tracing has been completed, and any close contacts have been notified. 

    As a reminder, if your child, whether in-person or fully remote, tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Sincerely, 

    Jonathan Klingeman, Principal


    Letter sent to all K-5 parents and guardians Oct. 23 

    Subject: Elementary Absence Procedures for In-School Learners Clarification

    Dear Parents and Guardians of Elementary In-School Students:

    We’d like to clarify our procedures for elementary student absences from school. This has presented a challenge, and becomes tricky, when students and families have been required to quarantine related to COVID-19. For those reasons, we believe it’s a good time to explain how we are handling absences from school with the information below.

    • Absence from school for an educational trip: Just as in previous years, if the family provides 10 days advance notice of the the educational trip, the student will be provided with assignments to take with them to complete while on the trip. There will be no option to remote into the classroom.
    • Absences from school for illness: Students will be provided assignments upon their return to school within a reasonable time frame. In this case, students will not remote into the classroom or be provided asynchronous learning activities.
    • Absence due to COVID-19 quarantine/isolation: If a student is required to quarantine for a period of time at the recommendation of a medical professional, school official, or our health and safety plan’s rules, but isn’t sick, within two days the student will be given an opportunity to remote into the classroom or be provided with asynchronous learning activities and teacher check-ins. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the teacher in consultation with the principal. 

    Sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances that require us to adjust our procedures. In this case, or for any questions, please reach out to your building principal. As always, we appreciate your cooperation with our procedures and your commitment to your child’s education. 

    Warm regards,

    Vernon Bock
    Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education


    Letter sent to all K-5 parents and guardians Oct. 22 

    Subject: Mask-wearing at Recess

    Dear Parent or Guardian,

    I’d like to share an important update regarding an additional health and safety precaution that will be implemented at K-5 recesses beginning tomorrow, Oct. 23. 

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its definition of close contact related to COVID-19 exposure. According to the CDC, a close contact is someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before the onset of illness until the time the patient is isolated. 

    With this new information in mind and in collaboration with our Health and Safety Team, we have decided that all students will be required to wear their masks while at recess as an extra precaution. The only exception to this will be for students who wish to take a mask break in a designated area of the playground while maintaining six feet of physical distancing from peers.

    If you have any questions regarding this change, please contact your building principal.

    Warm regards,

    Vernon Bock
    Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Oct. 22 

    Subject: Remaining in Schools Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    After careful consideration, and in consultation with our health and safety team, we have decided to continue in-person learning next week, Oct. 26-28, as there is no school for students on Oct. 29 and 30. 

    Advised by the health and safety team, the administration considers multiple factors when making decisions. This week, the team noted a continued downward trend of COVID-19 cases within district zip codes. The seven-day average of cases in those zip codes went from 34 per day as of last Thursday to 20 yesterday — the lowest average since Sept. 3. Since the first day of school, we have had seven positive COVID-19 cases among students and seven among employees.

    One point of emphasis: We want to continue offering in-school learning long-term, but for that to happen, we need everyone's commitment both in and outside of school. Please continue to be diligent about wearing masks, remaining physically distant, washing your hands and avoiding large gatherings.

    At the advice of our legal counsel, we are updating our process on how we notify our community about positive COVID-19 cases. This change is necessary to protect the privacy of our students and employees. When we have a positive case in a building, we will now send the same communication to that building’s employees and parents. We then will update our dashboard and post the email on our website.

    You may have seen that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated their close contact guidelines related to the 15-minute exposure time over a 24-hour period. Since Aug. 26, our district contact tracing has been utilizing the 15-minute cumulative exposure time over a 48-hour period regardless of mask-wearing, a stricter approach to determining the need for quarantine. 

    On a final note, Centre County government will be providing a free “walk-in” COVID-19 testing site over a 21-day period, with testing beginning Oct. 27 and ending Nov 14. Click here for details.

    We greatly appreciate our community’s continued vigilance with health and safety measures. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of School


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Oct. 15

    Subject: Remaining in Schools Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    After careful consideration, and in consultation with our health and safety team, we have decided to continue in-person learning next week, Oct. 19-23. 

    As always, multiple factors were evaluated when making this decision, notably a downward trend of COVID-19 cases within district zip codes. This week, the seven day average of cases in those zip codes went from 82 per day as of last Thursday to 34. This is the lowest average since Sept. 8. Additionally, all SCASD employee random testing results to date have been negative among the 64 tests returned. 

    Since the first day of school, we have had four positive COVID-19 cases among students and five among employees. Through contact tracing, we have no evidence that any of these cases were contracted at school. This indicates that our health and safety plan is working but also emphasizes how important it is to follow the plan’s protocols with fidelity. Our goal is to remain in schools but in order to do so, we all must be diligent about abiding by these measures not only while in-school, but at all times. 

    As a reminder, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.

    We greatly appreciate our community’s cooperation in staying vigilant with these measures so that we all can remain as safe as possible. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Oct. 8

    Subject: Remaining in Schools Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    After careful consideration, and in consultation with our health and safety team, we have decided to continue in-person learning next week, Oct. 12-16.

    The below information, along with other factors, played into our decision this week.  

    • County data continues to show that the high number of COVID-19 cases are mostly among Penn State students. 
    • This week, more than 1,500 tests from Geisinger Medical Group and Mount Nittany Medical Center show a two percent or less positivity rate. 
    • Since the first day of school, our district has had two confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 among our employees and four among students. 
    • Our random employee testing began last week and of the 21 employees tested so far, all have returned negative results. 

    We’d like to clarify our expectations regarding testing within a family. If anyone in a family is tested for COVID-19 because of symptoms or close contact, all family members must quarantine until the test results are returned. That is, please do not send your children to schools while anyone in the family is pending a test for the above reasons. In these cases, please immediately contact your school nurse for guidance. 

    Lastly, if your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.

    We greatly appreciate our community remaining vigilant with the guidelines of our health and safety plan. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Oct. 8 

    Subject: Memorial Field Restrictions and Livestream

    Dear SCASD Community,

    Tomorrow, Oct. 9, the district will be hosting our first football game at the newly renovated Memorial Field. While we are all excited to see the new complex and cheer on our Little Lions, we must be cautious because of the pandemic. Therefore, due to stadium capacity restrictions developed by our health and safety team, the game will not open to the general public and no tickets will be sold for Friday night. 

    Football players have been given a limited number of tickets for family members and those will be the only fans permitted into the stadium. The Sidney Friedman Parklet will also be closed to spectators because it will be occupied by select members of the Marching Band. 

    Because of the limited capacity in the stadium, we will be livestreaming the game so that our entire community can watch. You can view the game on the SCASD Athletics YouTube channel

    For our high school students, we will be holding a live watch event at the North Athletic Field with priority ticketing by class. Students will need to register in advance and show their ID for admittance. This event will be chaperoned by district employees and attendees will be required to wear masks and social distance at all times.

    Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we try to provide the safest environments possible for our students, coaches and families. 

    Sincerely,

    Chris Weakland
    Director of Athletics


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Oct. 1 

    Subject: Remaining in Schools Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    After careful consideration, we have decided to continue in-person learning next week, Oct. 5-9. Our health and safety team, which includes physicians, epidemiologists and our nurses, unanimously supports the decision. From analyzing the ongoing data for local COVID-19 cases, the team determined that we continue to see low incidence rates in our community beyond the college-age population. 

    We appreciate what we have been seeing in our community with families taking precautions, but we still need your help to keep everyone safe while in-person learning continues. If children show any symptoms from the screening checklist, they should stay home. We encourage you to take the time to conduct the screenings; they’re vital to our efforts to remain in schools. If your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions.

    Finally, as a reminder, we will be sponsoring our drive-thru flu clinic this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 25

    Subject: Health and Safety Resources 

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    As we look ahead to returning to in-person learning Monday, we would like to follow up yesterday’s letter with information to help you and your families stay safe and prepare for next week.

    Because there’s still a risk of contracting COVID-19 in our community, we need to stay vigilant with our precautions. For our health and safety plan to work, everyone must continue abiding by basic safety measures in and outside of schools. Along those lines, please wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and physically distance as necessary when in the community.

    Free Testing Center

    The state Department of Health announced Friday that a pop-up coronavirus testing site will open next week at the Nittany Mall. 

    Flu Clinic
    SCASD is partnering with Rite Aid to offer a drive-thru flu shot clinic on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is an easy step to protect your family’s health; the Centers for Disease Control has advised that recent studies show that the flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by 40-60 percent among the overall population. Learn more

    COVID Alert PA App

    The PA Department of Health has released their official mobile app that uses the exposure notification system. Download it today through the App Store or Google Play.

    Transportation

    Prior to Monday, please check your bus arrival times in HAC as some have changed. We still need help from our parents to provide transportation for our students. As you know, our health and safety plan’s requirements significantly limit the number of students on school buses. Requests to return to district transportation may not be able to be accommodated due to capacity issues. 

    To paraphrase what our epidemiologists, physicians and nurses have underscored: This is a crucial period. The more committed we all are to implementing our safety measures, the more likely we will be able to provide in-person learning experiences safely for an extended period of time. Thank you for your cooperation. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 24

    Subject: Returning to Schools Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    After careful consideration, we have decided to return to in-person learning next week. This shift is unanimously supported by our health and safety team, which includes physicians, epidemiologists and our nurses. The team has analyzed the ongoing data for local COVID-19 cases and determined that we’re seeing low incidence rates in the community beyond the college-age population. In light of this information and multiple other factors, some of which are listed below, we are reopening schools on Monday, Sept. 28.

      • Since Sept. 1, Geisinger Health System data shows a 3.0 percent positivity rate from its 434 tests of people in the district zip codes. Out of 13 total positive cases, two were under the age of 18, and eight were 18-24 years of age.
      • Since Aug. 26, data from Mount Nittany Health, which includes Penn State Health, shows a 1.1 percent positivity rate from its 2,598 tests of people in the district zip codes. Out of 29 total positive cases, four were under the age of 16, and 18 were 16-25 years of age.
      • Since Penn State began random testing of employees, there has been only one case reported out of 700 tests.
      • The trend of our countywide 7-day case average has been decreasing.
      • One positive case has occurred from among the approximately 2,100 students and employees of preschools, daycare centers, and private and charter schools who have continued to attend school on a daily basis since Aug. 26.

    In the name of safety, we have enhanced our already extensive protocols. Beginning Monday, we will randomly screen students and employees with temperature checks. Also, we will begin weekly random COVID-19 testing of employees.

    In addition, we need your help to keep everyone staying safe while in-person learning continues. If children exhibit any of the symptoms from the screening checklist, they should stay home. We encourage you to take the time to conduct the screenings; they’re vital to our efforts to remain in schools. For more information, please review our health and safety plan. If your child tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out our reporting positive cases form and follow your physician’s directions. 

    For Monday, in-person learning will be A-L for secondary, cycle day 5 for middle schools, and cycle day 5 for elementary schools. Should you desire to change your educational model choice, please contact your building principal. If you have specific questions regarding the health and safety plan, please contact your school nurse

    While I am pleased students will return to buildings, this was still a difficult decision. Keep in mind, for this plan to work, our entire community must stay vigilant and abide by the safety measures in place to contain the spread of the virus. That is, please wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and physically distance as necessary.

    We appreciate your cooperation as we make this transition next week. Our hope is to remain in school for as long as possible, but for now, we will continue making our decision on a week-to-week basis. Whether students are learning remotely or in-person, I’m confident our faculty and staff will be providing valuable learning experiences next week. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 23

    Subject: Flu Shot Clinic October 3

    Dear SCASD Community,

    SCASD is partnering with Rite Aid to offer a drive-thru flu shot clinic on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is an easy step to protect your family’s health; the Centers for Disease Control has advised that recent studies show that the flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by 40-60 percent among the overall population. 

    Our drive-thru clinic is open to all SCASD family members ages 3 and up. This includes students and employees, along with their families. The clinic will take place under the canopies in the North Building parking lot off Westerly Parkway. No appointment is necessary, but this form must be completed prior to arrival. Most insurances, including SCASD’s insurance, are accepted.

    All participants are required to wear a mask.

    What: Flu Clinic sponsored by Rite Aid and SCASD

    When: Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., no appointment necessary

    Where: North Building Parking Lot at 653 Westerly Parkway (directly across from 

    the main high school building). Please enter the parking lot via the Plaza 

    Drive entrance.

    Who: Open to all SCASD families, ages 3 and up

    Required:  Completed form, insurance card, mask

    Cost:  There is no cost for those with SCASD insurance. Others should check 

    with their insurance company or with Rite Aid.

    Contacts:

    • SCASD employees - Cory Cunningham, 814-231-1049, (cdc14@scasd.org)
    • All others contact Rite Aid, 814-238-1862 (ext. 3)

    Letter sent to all secondary parents and guardians Sept. 18

    Subject: SAT canceled 

    Dear SCASD High School Families,

    The school district is canceling the SAT administrations scheduled at State High on September 26 and October 3. College Board, which handles the registration and testing procedures for the SAT, will not permit us to restrict the SAT administration at our site to only SCASD students. Due to the volume of students from outside of our area who registered to take the SAT at State High, we are not comfortable administering the exam in our school while our district remains in full-remote status due to COVID-19.

    State High is a designated testing site for the SAT on December 5, and our counseling office will be requesting that we are added as an approved testing location for the November 7 SAT administration. For those students who were registered to take the SAT on September 26 and October 3, College Board will be sending you a message with further details. Additionally, our counseling office will be providing information regarding the registration process for the November and December SAT dates.

    Sincerely,

    Curtis Johnson
    State High Principal


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 18

    Districtwide Remote Learning Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    After reviewing our present circumstances with the PA Department of Health and our safety team, we are proceeding with districtwide remote learning next week, Sept. 21-25. 

    This week, we became aware of four SCASD students and two employees confirmed to have tested positive, which gives us cause for concern that the virus could be spreading beyond the Penn State student population. In all cases, we completed contact tracing with our nurses in accordance with the DOH protocols.

    Many of you are probably wondering, given our present situation, what is our path to get back into schools? We have asked the DOH to release data that we believe will help us to better understand the status of our community’s health, including beyond the college-age population. Specifically, we’re seeking age-related data within zip codes. If given this information, we’ll be able to paint a more complete picture of the presence of the virus in the community. This could be key in deciding whether to return to schools or stay in remote instruction. 

    We are consistently meeting with representatives from the DOH, Penn State and our Health and Safety Team. Those conversations led to a special meeting today to reiterate the importance of the age-related data. We talked with DOH representatives, PA Department of Education representatives, and members of Gov. Wolf’s staff about our particular needs, and we expect the conversation to continue early next week.

    Our goal continues to be returning to in-person learning as quickly as possible as long as we determine it’s safe. In the meantime, we’ll continue to notify you on a weekly basis. There is no doubt that being fully remote is difficult for many of our students and families, and I am hearing your frustrations. Please know, we greatly appreciate your patience as we struggle through this pandemic.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 15

    Subject: September Straight Talk

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    We invite you to join us for our next Straight Talk session, “Why Trauma-Informed Care Matters - Now More Than Ever,” with Dr. Peter Montminy, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 7-8:30 p.m. via Zoom. 

    Fully one-half of our children experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) such as child abuse or neglect and family violence, mental illness, or substance abuse. On top of that, the current chronic stressors of the coronavirus pandemic, social injustices, economic downturn, and environmental catastrophes have sent many families into "Fight, Flight, or Freeze" overdrive. These conditions are toxic to our children’s developing brains.  

    Without attuned and responsive caregivers, the research shows that our children will continue to suffer from a wide array of physical and mental health difficulties. Trauma-Informed Care offers us an important alternative. When we meet the emotional needs of our children with clarity, calm, and kindness, they can flourish. When we provide safe, predictable structures, they can develop a stable sense of security. When we offer empowering opportunities for choice and collaboration, within the context of compassionate relationships, they can learn to be resilient. Trauma-informed care is vital to the well-being of our children and our community.

    Dr. Peter Montminy would like to hear from you. What questions do you have related to trauma-informed care? Please complete the following google form  prior to Monday, Sept. 21.

    Zoom link - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/94344403366 and attached is the updated flyer.

    A recording of this event can later be found on our Straight Talk website

    Sincerely,

    Morgan Bechdel
    SCASD School District Social Worker


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 14

    Subject: Positive COVID Cases in SCASD

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Unfortunately, we’ve been notified today that our district has three COVID-19 positive cases among our students. We are now dealing with this virus on a more personal level, which really hits home. Out of respect for the families involved, and in accordance with privacy laws, we can’t divulge any further information than what is presented below. However, please know that our school nurses are communicating with the families.

    One case is a high school student who has not been in any district building this school year. The other two are Mount Nittany Elementary students, and contact tracing showed there were no close contacts by these students connected to district schools. 

    These cases reiterate the importance of filling out the Reporting Positive Student COVID-19 Cases Form if one of your children tests positive for COVID-19, even while we’re in fully remote instruction. We are continually evaluating data, and the information supplied by this form will help further inform our decision making. As always, the health and safety of our school community will be paramount with everything we do.

    Looking ahead, we presume that it’s likely we’ll have more positive tests in our district among our students and employees. In this case, we will be adding district cases to our COVID-19 numbers dashboard. When we shift back to in-school instruction, we will also communicate news of positive cases at the school level.

    We wish the best for the affected families and hope for swift recoveries.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 11

    Subject: Remote Learning To Continue Week of September 14-18

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Last night in a special meeting, the Board of Directors approved amended guidelines for the health and safety plan to help us decide between remote and in-person learning. After using all of our available data to assess local COVID-19 case numbers and meeting with our health and safety team members, we have concluded that continuing with remote learning next week is our safest option. Today, 137 new county cases were reported, including 128 in our district community.

    Our health and safety team unanimously supports this decision. This morning, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, upon reviewing our present situation, strongly recommended that we should remain in remote learning.

    Next week, we will follow our normal remote learning schedule (elementary / secondary). Wednesday will be an asynchronous learning day for students, permitting faculty and staff to plan, take part in professional development, and communicate if needed with individual students or parents.

    For students who receive special education services, we will have our Instructional Support Centers up and running next Wednesday. A special education representative will contact eligible families directly with further details. We are still exploring ways to expand our centers to accommodate other situations. 

    During full remote learning, we are offering free weekly meal distribution on Wednesdays to any child under the age of 18 from the district. Please look for an email from our Food Services Department for further information. 

    We will continue to evaluate the status of COVID-19 in our community on a daily basis. Decisions to be in school or fully remote will be made at the end of each week. Our health and safety team believes this week-to-week approach provides the best opportunity to safely return to schools as soon as possible.

    No doubt, this is a disappointing outcome for many of us, but while we’re in remote, meaningful instruction is occurring. Our faculty and staff will keep doing their best to engage your children with care and dedication. Thank you for your understanding, cooperation and support for your children during this challenging time for everyone. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools 


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 10

    Subject: September Straight Talk

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    We invite you to join us for our next Straight Talk session, “Why Trauma-Informed Care Matters - Now More Than Ever,” with Dr. Peter Montminy, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 6-7:30 p.m. via Zoom. 

    Fully one-half of our children experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) such as child abuse or neglect and family violence, mental illness, or substance abuse. On top of that, the current chronic stressors of the coronavirus pandemic, social injustices, economic downturn, and environmental catastrophes have sent many families into "Fight, Flight, or Freeze" overdrive. These conditions are toxic to our children’s developing brains.  

    Without attuned and responsive caregivers, the research shows that our children will continue to suffer from a wide array of physical and mental health difficulties. Trauma-Informed Care offers us an important alternative. When we meet the emotional needs of our children with clarity, calm, and kindness, they can flourish. When we provide safe, predictable structures, they can develop a stable sense of security. When we offer empowering opportunities for choice and collaboration, within the context of compassionate relationships, they can learn to be resilient. Trauma-informed care is vital to the well-being of our children and our community.

    Dr. Peter Montminy would like to hear from you.What questions do you have related to trauma-informed care? Please complete the following google form  prior to Monday, Sept. 14

    Click here for registration, and attached is the flyer.

    A recording of this event can later be found on our Straight Talk website

    Sincerely,

    Morgan Bechdel
    SCASD School District Social Worker


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 9 

    Subject: Special board meeting September 10

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    On Thursday, Sept. 10, the SCASD Board of Directors will hold a special online meeting at 7 p.m. to discuss updating the district’s health and safety plan and adopting guidelines for reopening our schools. 

    Watch the district website for registration information, and the meeting will be broadcast on Channel 98 and streamed live on YouTube.

    As a reminder, for the time being, we will decide on our weekly status every Friday after reviewing local COVID-19 data.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 5 

    SUBJECT:  FREE MEALS AVAILABLE FOR REMOTE SCHOOL DAYS

    Dear Parent or Guardian, 

    With the district moving to remote learning for all students this week, the Food Service Department will be making meals available to families for pick-up on Wednesday, Sept. 9.  

    USDA recently announced extraordinary waivers to the rules for school meal programs.  These waivers allow us to provide meals to all children residing in the district free of charge through the end of December (contingent on the availability of federal funding).  When we do return to in-person learning, meals at school will be free for all students while this waiver is in effect.  

    Meal kits distributed on Wednesday, Sept. 9 are available for all children age 18 and younger or ones up to age 21 with an Individual Education Plan. The kits will include five breakfast entrees, five lunch entrees, fruits, vegetables, and milk. Meals are free of charge without the need to apply for meal benefits. Meals are also available for your pre-school age children. 

    In order to get meals on Wednesday, we ask that you complete this order form by 5 p.m. on Monday. You will receive a confirmation email and an assigned order number on Tuesday morning. The link for ordering meals is also available at www.scasd.org/ordermeals and will be updated there as needed if this closure continues into additional weeks. 

    Meal pick-up will be at the North Athletics/Delta Building on Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Details for pick-up will be included in the confirmation email that is sent to you on Tuesday. A limited number of extra meals will be available to pick up if you are unable to place an order.  

    Regardless of whether students are learning in school or at home, we are committed to making sure that they have access to healthy food. Please do not hesitate to sign up for meals if this service is helpful for your family.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper, SNS
    Food Service Director
    State College Area School District


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 4

    Subject: Districtwide Remote Learning Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    After reviewing our present circumstances, we are proceeding with districtwide remote learning next week. 

    Today, we reached the PA Department of Health’s “substantial level,” the highest level of community transmission of COVID-19. At this level, the state’s recommendation is all schools in Centre County should go to “full remote learning.” Furthermore, according to the health department’s early warning dashboard, Centre County has the second highest incidence rate in the state per 100,000 residents during the most recent seven days.

    Fully remote is certainly not where we want to be, and I can assure you that our goal is to get students back in schools as soon as possible. Currently, we are working on a return-to-school plan that would include specific guidelines for allowing us to safely resume in-school learning. We will let you know next Friday, Sept. 11, if we are able to be back in buildings the week of Sept. 14-18. Moving forward, our goal is to operate on a week-by-week basis with the decision for the next week made on Fridays. Meals will be available next week; look for an email from our Food Services Department with details. 

    By any measure, this is an extremely disappointing turn of events, but our faculty and staff are among the best in the state and they will do their best to provide students with engaging and challenging learning experiences. You’ll be hearing from your teachers soon about what Tuesday will look like, but in the meantime, you can learn more on our elementary and secondary websites. To be clear, because it’s a four-day week, we will have synchronous remote learning Tuesday through Friday next week.

    For your reference, we have added a SCASD COVID-19 dashboard that shows our local COVID-19 numbers. This will be updated regularly as data is available from the health department.

    Thank you for hanging in there through this trying time as we respond to a dynamic situation and plan the safest course of action for our school community. I hope you enjoy your holiday weekend. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 3

    Subject: No School Friday September 4

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    Last night, our Board of Directors voted to not have school on Friday, Sept. 4. This applies to all students: in-school, remote and Virtual Academy. This is not a switch to full remote learning; it’s akin to a snow day for students with no instruction, and will be made up on Dec. 23. Because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases reported in our county yesterday, the Board took action to use Friday to further assess the local data we are receiving and better inform our course of action. 

    Right now, no decisions have been made regarding next week. Over the next couple of days, we will continue to evaluate COVID-19 cases in our community and let you know once we make a decision regarding Tuesday.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 2

    Subject: COVID Update Sept. 2

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    Today’s numbers from the state Department of Health have brought us to where, according to our current health and safety plan, we should consider shifting to district-wide remote learning. However, we are not going to make that shift today. To be clear, we are going to continue with in-school learning while we further evaluate the parameters in our plan but it’s safe to say that we are taking it day-by-day right now. 

    First and foremost, since the first day of school, Aug. 26, we still have no known confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students, faculty and staff. 

    As of noon today, the state Department of Health reported 48 new cases within our district zip codes. Our seven-day total now stands at 105 cases and puts us above the range of 50-75 cases where we would look at shifting to fully remote. 

    County-wide, 47 new cases were reported, increasing the seven-day total 108 cases and now placing us inside the 80-120 cases range for considering a switch to district-wide remote learning. There was an adjustment in the number of cases in a zip code outside of the district, which is why the district and county numbers are not equal.

    Moving forward, despite the rise in cases, the district is staying open for now. As I expressed yesterday, if our schools are still safe — which we still believe they are — we are committed to providing in-person learning for as long as we can. This is consistent with the advice we’ve received today from the state Department of Health, as they view our status within the moderate range, giving us the option to be in-school or remote. For clarity, the parameters of our own health and safety plan are more conservative than those from the health department.

    Our main rationale for staying open is that we still have no known cases in our district — a testament to how well our students, faculty and staff are following our health and safety plan. From the information we have, it’s our belief that most of the new cases in the past two days are Penn State students, and we know under the university's protocols, these individuals are likely in isolation. 

    Tonight, I will ask the board to let us reevaluate the closure protocols in our health and safety plan. Next week, we’ll call a special meeting and bring back an updated plan that we believe will better reflect the status of COVID-19 in our community. For more information, please watch tonight’s meeting.

    Sincerely,


    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools 


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Sept. 1

    Subject: SCASD COVID Update 

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    Following up my email yesterday, we would like to update you on the status of our district  regarding COVID-19. Additionally, we are including other key information that we will take into account with any school closure considerations, as per our health and safety plan. Since the first day of school, Aug. 26, we still have no known confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our students, faculty and staff. 

    Before going further, I want to emphasize that maintaining the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority. Having said that, we are also committed to providing in-person learning for as long as we can. There is no doubt that in-school instruction is extremely valuable for many of our students. 

    As of noon today, the state Department of Health reported three new cases within our district zip codes. Our seven-day total now stands at 63 cases, one more than yesterday’s total. This keeps us firmly in the range of 50-75 cases which, according to our health and safety plan, means we will continue to prepare for a potential move to remote learning. 

    Our county-wide case numbers are also being considered, and they are more favorable for continuing in-school learning. Today’s seven-day total was 67 cases, placing us below the 80-120 cases range in our plan for considering a switch to district-wide remote learning.  

    Please know that, every day, we are assessing multiple indicators related to the presence of COVID-19. How many cases within the district’s zip codes is one key data point among many that we will use in any consideration of shifting to fully remote learning. While important, and definitely concerning, it’s not the only factor we would use to make a decision. In addition to cases in our schools, we’re tracking multiple other factors, among them hospital capacity and Penn State employee numbers. 

    Lastly, we’ll continue to keep you informed, and as a reminder, we will have an update for our Board of Directors at tomorrow’s meeting.

    Sincerely,


    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Aug. 31

    Subject: Preparing for Closure as Virus Increases

    Dear SCASD Community,

    Over the last couple of days, we have seen increasing numbers of COVID-19 positive cases in our community. However, this rise is not occurring in our school community. Since the first day of school, Aug. 26, we have had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our faculty and staff. Nor do we have confirmed cases among students who have been in our buildings since the first day of school.

    Unfortunately, our greater area is facing a different reality. As the overall numbers rise, we still must consider switching to district-wide remote learning for the health and safety of our entire community. While we’re not there today, we want to share some concerning information that will be key to determining when we might make this shift. 

    Our health and safety plan includes the below parameter for strongly considering whether to close schools and move to remote learning:

    • 50-75 COVID-19 cases in the most recent seven days within the zip codes of the district boundary. 

    As of noon today, the zip codes within our district have reported 62 cases in the last seven days. This places us firmly in the range for preparing to move to remote learning. If the trend continues as it has recently, we could reach 75 as early as tomorrow. In that case, we will be looking at shutting down in-school learning.

    Without a doubt, this is a troubling turn of events, especially so early in the school year, but the circumstances of our area have us moving in the wrong direction. It’s disappointing, to say the least, that we find ourselves at this juncture, and I recognize the magnitude of what a shift to remote learning means for our families. For all of us, this year is unlike any other, and I hope we can lean on each other to make it through. 

    Because we’re in a day-to-day situation now, we’ll provide an update tomorrow.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all grade 7-12 students, parents and guardians Aug. 28

    Subject: Interim Fall Athletics Plan 

    Dear Students, Parents and Guardians,

    On Monday, we will be sharing an interim fall athletics plan with our Board of Directors during a work session at 7 p.m.

    The interim plan is an extension of the optional summer workout plan, with several refinements listed in this memo. Please review the memo and use this form if you have any questions or feedback. Your comments will be shared with our Board and considered as part of our Board discussion.

    Following Monday’s work session, we will request Board action to approve the plan at their Wednesday, Sept. 2 meeting. If approved, we will then be able to implement the plan. 

    To watch either meeting, you must register ahead of time. Details of how to tune in can be found here. The work session agenda may be found here.

    Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through this process.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all families Aug. 25

    Subject: Daily COVID Reporting and Screening

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    To ensure our schools are as safe as possible, we need your assistance with the daily reporting of and screening for COVID-19. 

    If you have a child test positive for COVID-19, please fill out this form so we can track case numbers in our schools. This applies to all students: in-school, remote and Virtual Academy. We’re including remote and Virtual Academy students because they can participate in extracurricular activities. While we should be receiving reports from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, parent and guardian self-reporting guarantees we have accurate data. This form cannot be anonymous for contact tracing purposes, but your child’s identity will never be disclosed. We will only notify parents and guardians of a COVID-19 case by building or classroom, never by a student’s name. 

    Because daily reporting of COVID-19 cases is imperative to the health and safety of our community, we will be emailing you the tracking form every day. Please fill out the form as quickly as possible if you are notified that your child has tested positive for COVID-19. 

    Additionally, we ask that you perform a health screening of your children every day before sending them to school. Please use this daily screening checklist every morning. If you answer “yes” to any of the screening questions, please do not send your child to school. Instead, consider contacting your healthcare provider for further direction and guidance. 

    If you have questions about the daily screening process, please reach out to your school nurse.

    I wish you all the best of luck on the first day of school tomorrow!

    Jeanne Knouse
    Director of Student Services


    Letter sent to all families Aug. 24

    Subject: Reminder about first day of school change

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    Following up on our email from Saturday, we would like to remind you that tomorrow is no longer the first day of school. This week’s schedule has shifted; please refer to the information below.

    Tuesday, Aug. 25

    • Kindergarten orientation remains as originally scheduled

    Wednesday, Aug. 26

    • Grades K-5 start in-school (continuing Aug. 27 and Aug. 28)
    • Grades 6-12 A-L remote learning
    • Grades 6-12 M-Z students in-school
    • Grades 6-12 remote only students begin synchronous learning
    • K-12 Virtual Academy students begin school

    Thursday, Aug. 27

    • Grades 6-12 A-L students in-school
    • Grades 6-12 M-Z remote learning

    Friday, Aug. 28: Grades K-5 remote students begin synchronous learning

    For your convenience, we have added the elementary cycle days, the secondary A-L and M-Z days and the middle school cycle days to the district calendar. This will be the one place you can always reference to see which day it is. You also can see these on the calendar in the SCASD App available in the App Store and on Google Play.

    Stay safe and well, 

    Chris Rosenblum
    Director of Communications


    Letter sent to all families Aug. 22

    Subject: Notice: Delayed Start of School

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    This week, our faculty and staff reported back for in-service training on Tuesday. Since then, we have been busy preparing to begin the new year under the protocols of our health and safety plan. After four days, however, it became clear that we, as a district, need more time to prepare for the first day of school. Therefore, we have made the necessary decision to shift the first few days of school, including delaying the first in-school day to Aug. 26. 

    Here is the revised schedule:

    Tuesday, Aug. 25

    • Kindergarten orientation remains as originally scheduled

    Wednesday, Aug. 26

    • Grades K-5 in-school
    • Grades 6-12 A-L remote learning
    • Grades 6-12 M-Z students in-school
    • Grades 6-12 remote only students begin synchronous learning
    • K-12 Virtual Academy students begin school

    Thursday, Aug. 27

    • Grades 6-12 A-L students in-school
    • Grades 6-12 M-Z remote learning

    Friday, Aug. 28: Grades K-5 remote students begin synchronous learning

    If you recall, we anticipated this need earlier in the summer and shifted two in-service days to this month to prepare. But in the end, we found we need even more time to carry out the plan. 

    Some of our challenges include the installation and training for new instructional technologies, secondary student schedule adjustments, and changing K-12 educational model selections.

    Our K-5 remote students now will begin school on Aug. 28. This change is necessary so that in-school students can learn the impact of our health and safety plan on classroom rules, arrival and dismissal procedures, and how lunch and recess will work according to the plan. The delay will enable our teachers to concentrate more on these critical preparations. For these two days, our instructional coaches will be sending remote students a menu of learning opportunities soon.

    Lastly, for athletics, we will bring a draft of our athletics health and safety plan to our Board of Directors meeting on Aug. 31. We saw the PIAA’s vote yesterday, but in order for our fall sports to officially begin, a plan must be approved by the Board. 

    We sincerely apologize for this late move; we know last-minute changes are hard on families and would not have made this difficult decision unless it was extremely important. After our preparations played out this week, we recognized that we simply would not be ready on Tuesday. We wish that we could have started as originally planned, but this extra time will put us in a much better place to welcome students back. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all K-5 families Aug. 20

    You may have recently received an email from your elementary principal discussing attendance for our K-5 remote students. There was some confusion in the terminology of the email so we wanted to follow up. K-5 students will still be connecting to their classrooms in a remote synchronous model each day. However, we know that there are situations or days where remote students may need to work independently. To allow our K-5 remote families flexibility, the process for attendance is listed below. Remote students will need to do this each day to be marked present.

    We have created a check-in portal that students can use to do this. The portal will be located on their Clever (https://clever.com/in/scasd) page under “District Resources” and will be called “Remote Student Check-In.” Each day before 10PM the remote students will need to go to Clever and click this option. It will take them to a webpage and they can sign in with their district account (most will already be signed in if they are using a district chromebook). Then they will check a box for the day saying they are present and hit submit. 

    Each week on Saturday morning, registration will receive an email of the students who did not check in that week and update the daily attendance for the prior week. 

    Here is a helpful link to work through the steps with you and your child: https://kb.scasd.org/display/KB/Remote+Student+Check+In


    Letter sent to all families Aug. 20

    Subject: Help for Students in Need

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Our Social Work Team is excited to be back and looking forward to another school year. As we are preparing for the return of our students, we recognize this beginning looks much different than previous years, and we wanted to reach out to let you know that our team is here to support our students. 

    COVID-19 has caused many families in our community to face challenges that include, but are not limited to, financial hardship, physical ailments, along with mental health concerns. 

    To help any student in need, our team has created a needs assessment form that enables the SCASD Social Work Team to connect with students and families. We are eager to assist, so if you find that your family has a need that our team can help you in some other way, please fill out this form: Social Work Family Needs Assessment.

    Please contact the Student Services Department at studentservices@scasd.org if you have any questions or concerns about counseling, social work, special education, nursing services, ESL, equity, or other issues.

    Sincerely,

    Nabil Mark
    Media and Communications Manager


    Letter sent to all families Aug. 19

    Subject: Required COVID Family Handbook Signature

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    The State College Area School District is committed to a return-to-school plan that balances the health, safety and wellness of all members of our school community. To that end, we have developed a COVID-19 Family Handbook, which contains all of our essential health and safety information for this fall. We also have created an information page that includes links to the handbook and other resources.


    We also ask that each family follows the instructions on this
    Return to School Checklist.  Reviewing each of the elements on this checklist will ensure you have the necessary information needed to begin in-person instruction.

    In addition, please also review the COVID-19 Daily Screening Checklist that we are asking all families to conduct on a daily basis to help ensure we are monitoring symptoms related to COVID-19 closely. Our faculty and staff are committed to the same process. Families also will receive hard copies of both checklists.

    Once you have reviewed the checklist and student handbook, you are required to go into the Home Access Center and acknowledge that you have reviewed this information. For information about HAC, please see page 5 of the handbook.

    If you have questions, please contact your building principal.

    We wish you all a safe and healthy return to school.

    Chris Rosenblum
    Director of Communications


    Letter sent to all families Aug. 18

    Subject: Preparing for the first day of school

    Last night, our Board of Directors approved the latest versions of our health and safety plan and our instructional plans, paving the way to begin the school year just one week from today. On Aug. 25, students will be back in schools, remote learning or our virtual academy — something we’re all very excited about! 

    The Board considered two other options: one to open with in-school learning and proactively shift to remote learning after two weeks. Second, the Board considered beginning the school entirely remotely on Aug. 25. After a thorough review of all options, the Board moved forward with the district’s recommended plan. I appreciate our board members for their diligence in leaving no stone unturned to make this difficult decision.

    While we prepare for opening day, we request your assistance. One of the most important protocols we have to keep students and adults safe is masking. Every student will be required to wear a mask at all times at school and on buses with limited exceptions for lunch, recess or supervised breaks. This week, please practice mask wearing with your child so teachers can focus on community building during the first few days. 

    A key update in the plan is that it now includes detailed markers (page 3) for monitoring the virus daily. We will follow these parameters to decide when to close classrooms, school buildings, or the entire district. 

    As we have communicated previously, please remember that things could change quickly. In some instances, you could be notified that your child might not be able to return to school the very next day, and we want you to be prepared with alternative plans for your children. 

    This year will definitely be like no other we have experienced, but I’m confident that because of our preparation, we will be ready. Our stellar faculty and staff’s commitment to every student  will make your child’s experience special, and all of us are looking forward to welcoming them back. 

    Sincerely,    

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to 4th and 5th grade families Aug. 14

    Subject: Elementary Instrumental Music 

    Dear Parents and Guardians of 4th and 5th grade students,

    Each year at this time, students eagerly await their turn to join our music program.  The study of music could be one of the most valuable components in your child’s education.  Current research shows that playing an instrument increases brain development and—along with developing responsibility, mental discipline, teamwork and self-esteem—will provide enjoyment and fulfillment while fostering a lifelong appreciation of music. 

    While working within the limits of our SCASD Music K-12 Health and Safety Guidelines we are planning to proceed safely with instrumental music lessons for the 2020-2021 school year pending board review.  In-person playing will not exceed 30 minutes in groups of 2 or 3 students with bell covers and face masks with slits and six-feet distancing (or nine-feet for trombone) pending board review. In-person band lessons with no playing will be in groups of 2 or 3 students who are wearing face masks with six-feet distancing.  Students will receive instruction for music reading, fingerings on the instrument with no mouthpiece, rhythm reading, and perform rhythms.  Any opportunity to play outside will be taken to provide even more fresh air exchange.  Remote students will have the opportunity for lessons, as well, during the school day via zoom.  String instrument and percussion lessons will proceed in person and remote and will play during every lesson.

    Our instrumental music teachers will hold two online parent meetings:
    Tuesday, August 18 at 7:00pm https://scasd.zoom.us/j/7472082815
    Thursday, August 20 at 7:00pm https://scasd.zoom.us/j/7472082815

    During these meetings, a brief video will be shown to demonstrate the instrument choices, explain our instrumental music program, and how to register.  There will also be time for families to ask questions.  The elementary instrumental music video is fun to watch with your child so that they can decide what instrument to play and can be found here.  We understand that you have a busy schedule, so the meeting will be short, but informative.  

    The State College Area School District believes that every child should have the opportunity to participate in music-making, to develop an appreciation for it, and to tap into their hidden talents through the study of it.  All instruction is free and all that is necessary is for you to obtain an instrument for your child. A quality instrument is the most essential piece of equipment needed for your child’s success.  

    We deeply believe that every student deserves the opportunity to participate in the instrumental music program, regardless of his or her life circumstances.  Please reach out to your instrumental music teacher if you have any concerns about affordability of an instrument or supplies.  The school district has a limited supply of loaner instruments for students of need.

    You can learn more about our instrumental music program by visiting our website.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact your child’s elementary instrumental music teacher.

    The elementary instrumental music department is looking forward to an exciting year.

    Have a great day!

    Nabil Mark
    Media and Communications Manager


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians August 11

    Subject: Preparing for in school students to be home

    Dear SCASD Community Member,

    We are very excited to welcome our students to the new school year. That said, this will be the most abnormal beginning we’ve ever experienced. With Penn State planning to return at the same time, we will be diligent in monitoring the COVID-19 infection rate and remain flexible during this uncertain period. We have full confidence in the detailed planning from our educational model and pandemic health and safety teams, but nonetheless, we might need to make adjustments in response to changing circumstances. 

    One point we want to emphasize is that our in-school families should be prepared for a potential quick transition to their children being at home. This could happen for various reasons, such as:

    • Closing all schools for a district-wide move to remote learning 
    • Closing a single school because of an outbreak within building
    • Quarantining a single class or individual students due to results of contact tracing


    In some cases, you could be notified that your child might not be able to return to school the very next day. While this isn’t ideal, we want to be transparent about these potential scenarios we are working through so that you are prepared in any event.

    As a reminder, our Board of Directors will be having another important discussion this week regarding our plans for returning to school. The Board is holding a non-voting meeting this Thursday, Aug. 13 at 11:45 a.m. where they will be discussing the updated guidance from the PA Department of Health and Department of Education. On Monday, Aug. 17, the Board expects to take action on requirements from the PA Department of Education regarding our return to school plans. Further details about the events can be found here and you can always watch via C-NET

    Lastly, for elementary families, we will be holding our afternoon CEEL program at every school this year. Please watch for further information later this week. 

    Stay safe and well,

    Chris Rosenblum
    Director of Communications


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians August 10

    Subject: Finalizing and Approving Fall Plans

    Dear SCASD Families:

    We’d like to inform you that our Board of Directors will be having important discussions this week regarding our plans for returning to school.

    As a reminder, tonight’s regular Board of Directors meeting starts at 7 and includes a discussion with two members of our medical community (agenda). We also have a Board work session on Aug. 13 at 11:45 a.m., and final Board approvals, as required by the PA Department of Education, will be made on Aug. 17 during the regular Board meeting. Further details about the events can be found here and you can always watch via C-NET

    Sincerely,

    Chris Rosenblum
    Director of Communications


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 31

    Subject: Elementary Ed Model Update

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Following up on yesterday’s letter, I’d like to clarify why we had to change our elementary education model for in-school and remote options. The disruption to education throughout the world due to COVID-19 has been unprecedented and has put every educator in this unfortunate and challenging situation. We fully recognize that no model is perfect for our students, faculty and staff, but we will continue striving to provide the safest schools with the best educational model under these difficult circumstances while operating under budget constraints.

    When the final numbers came in Monday night and we started placing students and teachers into in-school and remote classrooms, it became clear we faced two serious problems. First, because the in-school numbers were so high, with about 70 percent choosing in-school, we didn’t have enough teachers to cover both in-school and remote learning classrooms. Second, again because of the in-school numbers, there wasn’t enough physical space in our schools to accommodate the high numbers while abiding by the physical distancing guidelines in our health and safety plan. Even when we looked at trying to utilize alternative spaces, such as libraries, cafeteria, and art rooms, we couldn’t make the original educational model work. 

    Therefore, we had no other choice than to change our educational model to what we presented yesterday, the cohort approach for in-school and remote learning. This cohort model will provide opportunities for in-person and remote students to interact with each other and the teacher throughout the school day. Please keep in mind we continue to offer the Virtual Academy as an option. 

    Many of you have wondered if this is just the next step in the process to close schools and move to remote learning as a district before school even starts. At this time, we have no intention of closing schools prior to Aug. 25. While this new education model puts us in a good position for transitioning to district-wide remote learning if necessary, we believe beginning the school year in-person, for however long we can, benefits students and teachers. When students are in a cohort, they build relationships not only with their teachers but also with their classmates. These connections between in-school and remote students will establish a classroom community and serve as a strong foundation to keep students engaged should we be forced into district-wide remote learning.

    Lastly, we realize there are concerns about how teachers will manage in-school and remote instruction simultaneously. Our teachers are highly skilled and dedicated educators, among the best in their profession. While this won’t be easy, we have the utmost confidence that they will be able to carry out this plan, and we are working on giving them the tools they need. For example, we are purchasing cameras so that teachers can show remote students what is happening in the classroom. Additionally, professional learning for teachers prior to the start of the school year will focus on delivering instruction to students in this model. Also remember, every K-2 classroom will have a paraprofessional to support our students and teachers, and we are looking at ways to possibly enhance their roles. 

    As always, thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have further questions or concerns, please reach out to your building principal.

    Sincerely,

    Vern Bock
    Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 30

    Subject: Important Elementary Ed Model Update

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    After analyzing the fall selection numbers we received from our parents, we would like to inform you about how we are going to implement our elementary educational model. We’re moving forward with a cohort approach — meaning our in-school and remote learning options will now be synchronous with each student’s classroom teacher. While our K-5 students will continue to attend every day either in-school or remotely, this new approach will be mostly synchronous; however, for flexibility, some asynchronous learning will be available through recorded lessons.

    Please understand this is a necessary step. Without this adjustment, we would face serious space and staffing issues because of the final numbers. We have 2,739 students at the elementary level. Almost 31 percent (837) of families have chosen remote or virtual learning as their option for the fall. As a result, under the previous plan, we would have needed to reassign 27-30 teachers to teach remote or virtual. This reassignment of teachers would have shifted some faculty to different grade levels and/or schools. Additionally, class sizes would have increased for in-person learning, requiring classrooms to be moved to alternate spaces where possible, but in some cases there simply wasn’t an available space.

    The cohort approach presents two distinct advantages for students. First, every student will now remain with their home classroom teacher whether in-school or remote. Second, if we must close schools this school year, the cohorts will remain together under district-wide remote learning. 

    In summary, by going to a cohort model, one that combines in-person and remote teaching to occur simultaneously with one classroom teacher, in-person class sizes will drop significantly because more teachers will be in our elementary schools. In short, we will have more teachers and more classrooms so, therefore, fewer students will be in each class. Equally important is that the cohort option allows for the cohort to stay together while transitioning into or out of remote learning as an entire district.  

    While not perfect, this updated model is essential to facilitate safe and robust learning experiences this fall. Should you want to change your selection because of this new information, please email your building principal prior to 8 a.m., Monday, Aug. 3.

    Your patience has been appreciated throughout this process, and we can’t thank you enough for your support.

    Warm regards,

    Vern Bock
    Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 29

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, Aug. 5 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, Aug. 3, at 8 a.m. 

    Please note: This will be the last week that meals are available through this program as we need to shift our preparation to be ready for the first day of school on Aug. 25.

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 27 

    Subject: Fall Planning Decision Deadline Today

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    As a reminder, tonight at 11 p.m. is the deadline to log into our Home Access Center and choose your educational option for the fall or, if you wish, change your selection. After you make your choice, please remember to make your transportation selection also. 

    For elementary families, please keep in mind that after the deadline, you won’t be able to change the selection until Aug. 25.

    If you have trouble logging in, please email itsupport@scasd.org or call 814-231-7743. 

    Your cooperation to help us plan for the fall is appreciated.

    Stay safe and well,

    Chris Rosenblum
    Director of Communications


    Letter sent to all K-5 parents and guardians July 24

    Subject: Elementary Final Selections for this Fall

    Dear SCASD K-5 Families,

    Due to the urgency of making staffing and transportation decisions, we need for all families to understand the importance of making your selection by 11 p.m. Monday evening, July 27. After the deadline, we will not be accepting requests for changes until Aug. 25, the first day of school. For families who do not make a selection, we will be assigning those students to our in-school program.

    Beginning Tuesday, the enrollment data will dictate how faculty and staff will be assigned in the district. In addition, your decisions will be used to develop bus routes with pick-up and drop-off times. These are the reasons we must hold on any requests for changes except for the reasons below. Once we are able to accept requests, we will make changes, wherever possible, through our building principals.

    Exception

    There is only one exception regarding changes for our elementary students. At any time, a student can move to the virtual academy from either the in-school or remote learning options. 

    Note: Keep in mind that we are staffing in-school and remote learning with different teachers, so it’s not easy to accommodate changes between in-school and remote. 

    As always, we will continue to monitor our community and the status of the pandemic, and of course, if the status of our community changes, we will adjust our plans accordingly. If you have any questions, please reach out to your building principal

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 24

    Subject: District-wide Town Hall Video

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    If you missed our district-wide Virtual Town Hall last night, you can watch the entire video here. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions. Our hope is that the presentation provides you with the most up-to-date information regarding our educational choices for this fall so that you can make the most informed decision possible. 

    By the Monday night deadline of 11 p.m., please log into Home Access Center (HAC) and make your selection from the in-school, remote learning or virtual academy options. You can change your choice at any time up to the deadline. 

    Thank you,

    Nabil Mark
    Media and Communications Manager


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 22

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, July 29 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, July 27, at 8 a.m. 

    Please note: The district will continue to distribute meals throughout the summer every Wednesday until at least Aug. 5.

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 22 

    Subject: Secondary Remote and District Town Hall

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    After continued planning, we have now added synchronous remote learning as an option for grades 6-12 that aligns with our in-school choice. This step maintains our plan for having students in school every other day but now allows all students, regardless of their selection, to have access to district faculty and curricular experiences they selected through scheduling. One positive impact of this change is that new learning will now occur every day both in-school and in synchronous remote learning. In addition, it would help facilitate the transition to district-wide remote learning should we have to close buildings.

    In summary, our fall of 2020 K-12 options are:

    Clearly this is a hard decision for many families, and while we’ve done our best to give you the most up-to-date information available throughout this process, we know many people still have questions. Therefore, we are going to host a live Virtual Town Hall this Thursday at 6 p.m. to answer as many questions as possible. Please submit your questions ahead of time here, though we also will take questions live.

    We have extended the deadline for making your fall educational decision to Monday, July 27, at 11 p.m. Anyone not registered by this deadline will be assigned to in-school learning to begin the school year. This decision is necessary to ensure we have complete data that will allow us to make accurate staffing decisions, as well as plan for the implementation of our health and safety plan protocols. By the Monday night deadline, please log into Home Access Center (HAC) and make your selection from the in-school, remote learning or our virtual academy choices. You can change your choice at any time up to the deadline. 

    For transportation, please remember to choose an option. We need as many parents and guardians as possible to choose “Parent Provided/Walker” to keep busing schedules and the school day as normal as we can. If we don’t have enough people opt-out, we may have to stagger bus times and possibly even adjust the school day schedule. 

    During this extraordinary time, I appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through our fall planning.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 20 

    Subject: Fall planning deadline extended

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    We are extending the deadline for making your fall educational decision until Monday, July 27, at 11 p.m. This will give us time to re-evaluate our fall planning to consider the possible addition of remote learning as an option for grades 6-12. By Wednesday, we will communicate our direction so you can make your choice with the updated information. 

    Our Health and Safety Team continues to monitor and evaluate the PA Department of Education’s most up-to-date revised guidelines during this fluid time. Based on this, the team most recently focused on the impact of maintaining 6-foot distances and the amount of time inside that physical space, causing us to rethink our approach to in-school instruction. To reiterate, we will enforce 6-feet of social distancing and require mask-wearing at all times except when students are eating lunch, at recess or having a coordinated mask break. 

    Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work through these developments to provide safe environments and robust learning experiences for all of our students.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 17

    Subject: Fall planning options update and reminder

    Dear Parent or Guardian,

    As we head into the weekend, I’d like to remind you that the deadline for selecting a learning option for the fall is Tuesday, July 21. To date, we have had about half of our families respond. Thank you for those responses. However, we need all of our families to choose options because the data will help ensure principals can make changes to vital scheduling and staffing plans based on accurate enrollments.

    The options are:

    Specific details about each option are available on our website.

    We recently added remote learning as a flexible opportunity for the elementary level. It includes both synchronous and asynchronous learning, and will promote a seamless transition back to in-person later in the school year. An additional feature will be recorded lessons via Google Meet that students, if they can’t participate in synchronous lessons, can view at their convenience. 

    We ask that you please log into Home Access Center (HAC) and make your selection from in-school, K-5 remote learning or our virtual academy. For transportation, please remember to choose an option. We need as many parents and guardians as possible to choose “Parent Provided/Walker” to keep busing schedules and the school day as normal as possible. If we don’t have enough people opt-out, we may have to stagger bus times and possibly even adjust the school day schedule. 

    Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this time. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your building principal

    Have a nice weekend!

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians in grades 6-12 July 17

    Subject: Video of Secondary Virtual Academy Town Hall

    Dear Secondary Families,

    For those of you that missed our grades 6-12 Virtual Academy Town Hall last night, you can watch the video here. For your convenience, the presentation in the video starts at 17:53. 

    Our intent was to give you specific details about the program and provide answers to your questions. If you still are looking for information, please visit our Virtual Academy website. There, you will find our online learning course catalog. Additionally, there are specific details on our Secondary Back-to-school website.

    If you have questions regarding the Virtual Academy specifically, please email Jennifer Scudder, Online Learning Coordinator, and Jon Downs, Director Alternative Programs, via virtual@scasd.org. One of them will reach out to you and respond to your questions. 

    If you have other questions or concerns about our back-to-school plans unrelated to the Virtual Academy, please reach out to your building principal.

    Sincerely, 

    Will Stout
    Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 15

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, July 22 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, July 20, at 8 a.m. 

    Please note: The district will continue to distribute meals throughout the summer every Wednesday until at least Aug. 5.

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all grades 6-12 parents and guardians July 15

    Subject: Secondary Town Hall Regarding Virtual Academy

    Dear Secondary Families,

    To give our families that are interested in our grades 6-12 Virtual Academy as much information as possible, we will be hosting a YouTube Live event tomorrow, July 16, at 6 p.m. Our intent is to give you specific details about the program and provide answers to your questions. We invite you to submit your questions ahead of time through this form, but we will also be taking questions live during the event.

    You can view the event here

    Sincerely, 

    Will Stout
    Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 14

    Subject: Important Update Regarding Fall Selections

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    We would like to give you an update regarding our offerings for the fall and expand on other points within our plans. During our preparation for the fall, our goal has been to give our students and families the best options under the circumstances. Along these lines, in response to recent feedback, we will be adding a third option for elementary families this fall.

    K-5 Remote Learning

    Remote learning has been added as a choice for our students in grades K-5 in addition to in- school and Virtual Academy options. The remote learning model will provide a daily schedule of more synchronous experiences than available in the Virtual Academy. This option will be different from what we offered in remote learning last spring, and will include many improvements. For more details, please visit our elementary website

    After investigating this option within the secondary schedule, we have concluded that a remote option is not feasible for our 6-12 students in conjunction with our in-school operations. This is due to the conflicts this would create with our secondary school schedules.

    In-School Learning

    We are planning to return to in-school learning this fall while following our comprehensive Health and Safety plan. The details about our in-school learning are available on our elementary and secondary back-to-school websites.   

    Virtual Academy

    In response to the questions we’ve received from some families, we have updated both our elementary and secondary websites to include more information about this asynchronous choice. Next week, we will propose Fuel Education to our Board as the elementary digital platform to support our teachers in facilitating online learning. 

    For the secondary students, our teachers will use Edgenuity, a digital platform, and Canvas, our current online learning management system, to facilitate online learning. In response to questions about our Virtual Academy for secondary students, we will be offering a virtual town hall Thursday, July 16, at 6 p.m. Our intent is to give you the most up-to-date information about the academy and provide answers to your questions. Please submit your questions through this form. Tomorrow, we will be sending secondary parents a link to the webinar. 

    Masks

    In order to create a safe environment for everyone, we will require masks to be worn at all times in school buildings and on buses. This applies to all students, faculty, and staff and stems from our Health and Safety Plan, which was developed following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and PA Department of Education as well as with input from local medical experts. The mask requirement is important to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and the community at large.

    We recognize that there may be circumstances where students have special needs that make mask-wearing difficult or impossible. Before granting an exception, we will first require parents/guardians to submit a healthcare provider’s documentation with established need. In the case of an exception, we will collaborate to develop a plan that includes alternative safety measures. We will handle such instances on a case-by-case basis. Parents and guardians will be notified if a special exception has been granted in their child’s classroom. 

    Please look for more information about our exemption process in the near future.

    Our goal is to do everything we can to protect the safety of our community. As we work toward this objective, we will continually evaluate our protocols and determine what is best in that regard. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this time. If you 

    have questions or concerns, please reach out to your building principal

    Make Your Fall Selection

    Please log into Home Access Center (HAC) and make your selection between In School, K-5 Remote Learning or our Virtual Academy. Note: If you have already made a choice, you are able to change your selection until the new deadline of Tuesday, July 21. 

    Whichever option you choose, your child will have robust and valuable educational opportunities. Please know that our teachers, staff, administrators, counselors and everyone involved will be here to support every student throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 10

    Subject: Educational Model Fall Selection Information

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Following up on Dr. O’Donnell’s letter, here is the information for choosing between in-school instruction or our Virtual Academy for the fall of 2020.

    To make your choice, please log into Home Access Center (HAC). Once you’re logged in, under School Links click, “Fall of 2020 Enrollment Selection.” You will then be prompted to select either “In-school” or “Virtual Academy.” Once you have made your selections, please press submit. If you select “Virtual Academy,” you are done and will get a complete message. 

    If you selected “In-school,” you will then be prompted to make a transportation choice. For transportation, please select between “Parent Provided” or “District Provided.” As you think about this choice, please know that parents and guardians opting out of transportation will be crucial to our plans to go back to school. We need as many parents as possible to choose “Parent Provided” to keep busing schedules and the school day as normal as possible. If we don’t have enough people opt-out, we may have to stagger bus times and possibly even adjust the school day schedule. 

    The portal in HAC will be open from July 10 until July 20.

    We recognize that this will be a difficult decision for many of our families. Please know that regardless of the choice you make, the district, our faculty and staff and I are all here to support you. During this challenging time, we’ll work together to make the best possible educational experience for our students this fall. Along that line, if you have any questions regarding this information, please reach out to us directly.

    Sincerely,

    SCASD Principals


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 10

    Subject: Educational Model Fall Planning Update

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    This fall, we will offer two options for learning: in-school instruction and our Virtual Academy. Following this communication, you will receive an email from your child’s principal asking you to choose between the options via a form in the Home Access Center (HAC). You will be able to select individual options for each student in your household. The window for making your choice will be July 10-20. 

    We understand that you face important decisions, so to help, our educational model team has prepared websites of our in-school and Virtual Academy models for the elementary and secondary levels. The websites go into specific details of our educational models. Our hope is that these, combined with our Health and Safety Plan which was approved by our Board July 6,  will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. Please know that for both options, we are committed to providing substantive and rewarding educational experiences this fall while keeping students, faculty, and staff safe.

    Once you make your selection, you will be able to change it during the enrollment period through July 20. When it comes to shifting your choice beyond the July 20 deadline, we will try to be as accommodating as possible based on staffing and classroom capacity. Should you want to switch or have extenuating circumstances, please contact your child’s principal, as we will be managing individual cases at the school level. 

    If you decide on the in-school option for a student, you then will be directed to opt in or out with bus transportation. This information will be crucial for us. So that we can maintain 6-foot social distancing among students and other safety measures, our bus capacity must be reduced drastically. In turn, this means we will need many parents and guardians to provide transportation. The reality is, in order to avoid staggering routes and possibly restructuring the school day, we must have at least 60 percent of families who previously used district transportation either opt out of busing or choose the Virtual Academy. Therefore, we’re requesting that if you can provide transportation, please choose the “Parent Provided” option. So you know, we intend to expand the drop-off/pick-up time windows to give you more flexibility.

    In addition to the educational model websites and health and safety plan, we have developed a parent and guardian Q&A to help provide you with as much information as possible.

    Finally, I don’t think any of us could have ever imagined being in this position. It’s unfortunate on so many levels, and definitely something I wish we didn’t face. But for the safety of our schools and community, we have established protocols we believe are necessary, and to abide by them, we must make these adjustments for the greater good. That said, we want to provide the best possible educational experiences for our students under the circumstances, and that’s why our educational model team has put countless hours into developing these choices for the fall. Whichever option you choose, your child will have robust and valuable educational opportunities. Please know that you are never alone in our district; our teachers, staff, administrators, counselors and everyone involved will be here to support every student throughout the 2020-2021 school year. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 9 

    The State College Area School District has a 1:1 Technology initiative in place which allows all students K-12 to have access to a Chromebook. This initiative complements the classroom and remote learning environment by providing options for teachers to enhance lessons and activities with digital resources.
     
    Each year, we hand devices out to our 6-12 students prior to the start of school. This year, that is going to include our elementary families. Although students typically only started taking their devices home beginning in 6th grade, the pandemic created a need for our elementary families to have access to their devices at home.
     
    For the 2020-2021 School Year, SCASD will continue the K-12 take home plan for student Chromebooks. This will ensure that every student continues to have a device regardless of their In-School or Virtual Academy selection. In addition, it ensures that families already have a device at home if school closures occur and that students continue to have learning opportunities available without delay.
    In the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to families who do not currently have their student’s 1:1 device at home with information on picking the device up prior to the start of school. This process will begin with our incoming Kindergarten students and move up from there as well as include our 9th grade students who need to receive their replacement devices.
     
    As we plan ways to help our elementary students embrace this new opportunity, IT Services has created resources for families to help both students and parents familiarize themselves with the devices. These articles (https://kb.scasd.org/display/public/KB/Chromebooks) will help answer questions as well as aid you and your students when navigating the Chromebook.
     
    We are excited to be able to provide all of our students with the technology they need to be successful in school and in life. We appreciate your continued support of our efforts to empower students through their use of instructional technology.
     

    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 9 

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, July 15 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, July 13, at 8 a.m. 

    Please note: The district will continue to distribute meals throughout the summer every Wednesday until at least Aug. 5.

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 2

    Subject: Health and Safety Plan Update

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    As we had hoped, many of you took the opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback about the Health and Safety Plan draft that we’re creating to make our return to schools in the fall as safe as possible for students, faculty and staff. Thank you for sharing your concerns and suggestions. They have been useful to our teams working on fine-tuning the plan.

    To help you better understand the safety measures in store, we have created this video in which Director of Student Services Jeanne Knouse, Director of Physical Plant Ed Poprik and I give overviews of the plan and address your questions as best we can at this point. Central to our plans for in-school instruction, we will maintain social distancing at six feet, and faculty, staff, and students will wear masks. Our goal is to submit a final plan to our Board of Directors for approval, as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, on July 6.

    Though the video focuses on proposed health and safety protocols, it touches upon aspects of the elementary and secondary educational models being developed for next year. Next week, we will provide an update with more details about the learning experiences we anticipate for our students. On July 10, you will receive a survey asking you to choose between in-school instruction and our Virtual Academy for your child or each of your children. This information will be crucial for much of our planning.

    We understand that a big decision for your family lies ahead, and we hope that the video and our upcoming educational model update will help guide you. As you consider your options, you can always find fall planning information, as well as a record of our COVID-19 communications to families, on our website.

    I hope you and your family have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians July 2

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, July 8 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, July 6, at 8 a.m. 

    Please note: The district will continue to distribute meals throughout the summer every Wednesday until at least Aug. 5.

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians June 26

    Subject: SCASD Fall Planning Update 

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Looking ahead to the fall, we are preparing for both in-school instruction and our Virtual Academy as learning options by first creating a Health and Safety Plan as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This plan will cover the educational and operational changes we’ll make in order for our schools to be as safe as possible for students, faculty, and staff while the risk of the COVID-19 virus continues. Currently, we have three committees working on the details of our plan for in-school instruction: Health and Safety, Educational Model, and Operations.

    Please note: The information below assumes we are in the “green” phase of pandemic mitigation. Should the governor move us into yellow, we will shut down schools and in-school instruction, moving immediately into remote instruction for students. Any remote learning will differ from the “emergency remote” experiences that we utilized this past spring. The new remote learning model is being improved based on student, teacher, and parent feedback.

    In-school Instruction 
    We are planning to provide all students with the opportunity to attend school in a safe manner through our adherence to the district’s Health and Safety Plan. Central to the plan for in-school instruction, we will maintain social distancing at six feet, and faculty, staff, and students will wear masks. Both measures are critical to the effectiveness of our contract tracing. Please know we will be developing specific plans for each student with complex special needs at the school level on a case-by-case basis.

    • Elementary students will be provided daily, full-day in-school learning.
    • Secondary students will be provided full-day in-school learning every other day, along with asynchronous experiences when not in school. Students with specific learning needs may have the opportunity to be in school every day.  

    Virtual Academy

    The Virtual Academy is a full-time cyber option for K-12 students. This program has been in place for secondary students for many years, and we have refined our secondary experience to now include our own faculty. For this fall, we are expanding this program to include K-5 students who would like to learn in a full-time cyber format. The program will be aligned with our in-class curriculum, allowing students to make a smooth transition back into school when appropriate. A key aspect of our cyber experience is that we will include all of our district’s many student services such as counseling, school psychologists, and social workers. 

    Health and Safety Plan

    Our Health and Safety Plan is being created with guidance from health professionals in our community, including all of our nurses, who are providing the recommendations that serve as our in-school plan’s foundation. All of the plan’s details have stemmed from the health professionals’ expertise, as well as from the guidelines we received from the state departments of health and education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Next Steps
    Please review the draft of our Health and Safety Plan. After you look it over, we’d like to hear your questions and feedback through this form by the end of the day on Tuesday, June 30. The final Health and Safety Plan will be sent to our Board of Directors for approval on July 6. 

    Next week, we will be providing a detailed update to answer your questions and share more specific information about the plan, how we will return to schools, and our Virtual Academy. 

    Following next week’s update, we will be asking families to make a choice between in-school instruction or the Virtual Academy for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. 

    Have a nice weekend,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools

    Letter sent to all parents and guardians June 24

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, July 1 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, June 29, at 8 a.m. 

    Please note: The district will continue to distribute meals throughout the summer every Wednesday until at least Aug. 5.

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians June 18

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, June 24 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, June 22, at 8 a.m. 

    Please note: The district will continue to distribute meals throughout the summer every Wednesday until at least Aug. 5.

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians June 11

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, June 17 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, June 15, at 8 a.m. 

    Please note: The district will continue to distribute meals throughout the summer every Wednesday until at least Aug. 5.

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians June 4

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, June 10 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, June 8, at 8 a.m. 

    Please note: The district will continue to distribute meals throughout the summer every Wednesday until at least Aug. 5.

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians May 29

    Subject: Fall of 2020 Planning Information

    Dear parents and guardians,

    In the midst of finishing this school year, we’re busy planning for the 2020-2021 year. We understand that the community has many questions about what the fall will look like for our district, and to provide as many answers as we can at this point, we have prepared this video presentation.

    Our goals with this presentation are to inform you about our planning to date, explain our direction, and respond to your inquiries. This includes information about how we will return to schools as well as our plan to provide everyone with a choice for remote learning. 

    In the video, I’m joined by Finance and Operations Officer Randy Brown and Director of Student Services Jeanne Knouse. As part of our presentation, we provide details about the district teams that are developing protocols for three key areas: health and wellness, educational model and operations.

    Following the video, if you have feedback or questions, please continue to use this form

    On Monday, we will send you a survey to gather your feedback on how our remote learning went this spring. 

    Have a nice weekend,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians May 20

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, May 27 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, May 25, at 8 a.m. 

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians May 14

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, May 20 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, May 18, at 8 a.m. 

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians May 8
     
    Subject: SCASD K-11 Student Chromebooks Summer Information
     
    Good morning,

    As the State College Area School District looks forward to the 20/21 School Year we wanted to share an important update involving your child’s 1:1 Chromebook. Typically each summer, IT Services collects devices from students to perform routine maintenance on the equipment and prepare them for the next school year. This year, in an effort to provide families with increased learning opportunities and more flexibility, all families K-11 will be permitted to keep their child’s Chromebook over the summer. IT Services will be pushing routine updates to the devices throughout the summer to ensure that they are ready for the upcoming school year. These updates will occur in the background, students just need to restart their device regularly to allow the update to install.

    For families that would like to opt-out of this opportunity or if you are moving from/leaving the SCASD district, please fill out the following form and we will be in touch with instructions to return your child’s device prior to summer: https://forms.gle/uYxmCZZJpbibJ4At9
     

    If your family has yet to request your child’s 1:1 device for remote learning and would like to do so now, please email itsupport@scasd.org. Please also feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
     

    Sincerely,

    Justin Hetrick
    Director of Technology


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians May 7

    Subject: Outdoor Areas and Playgrounds Update

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    On Friday, Gov. Wolf will move Centre County into the Yellow Phase of response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the PA Department of Health has updated their guidelines. During this phase, we will be re-opening our outdoor athletic areas under specific rules. 

    Our playground status is in keeping with what Centre Region Parks and Recreation is communicating: “During yellow status, all playgrounds in Centre Region parks and on State College Area School District facilities remain closed for the safety of our community. Playgrounds will not open until Centre County reaches green status.”

    To follow health and safety guidelines, we ask that you:

    • Do not use our playgrounds.
    • Do not gather in groups larger than 25 people.
    • Stay at least six feet from other individuals, even during conversations.
    • Do not use the facilities if you are sick or medically vulnerable.
    • Sanitize equipment, balls and supplies before and after use of the facilities.
    • Organized youth or adult sports groups’ practices, large events, tournaments, or leagues are not permitted.

    Despite this change, we still need to be cautious, and mindful of healthy practices, as we begin to open some of our facilities. We appreciate your cooperation with these guidelines so that we can all enjoy our community’s outdoor facilities as safely as possible.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 30

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, May 6 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, May 4 at 8 a.m. 

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 23

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, April 29 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, April 27 at 8 a.m. 

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 16

    Subject: Free Meal Order Form Open Now

    Dear SCASD Family,

    The form to submit your order for free meals next Wednesday, April 22 is now open. Submit your order here. The form will be closed Monday, April 20 at 8 a.m. 

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickups will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process.

    In order for us to provide the most meals possible, please place orders only if you are sure you can pick them up. We don’t want any meals to go to waste with so many families in need. 

    If you have no way to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you to help.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Services Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 13

    Subject: Local Power Outages and Internet Disruptions

    Dear SCASD Family: 

    Today, we are experiencing power outages and Internet disruptions throughout the district due to inclement weather. Because of this, it might not be possible for some students and teachers to communicate effectively.

    If you experience a disruption, please do not worry. Once this passes, please contact your child’s teachers with any questions. Any teachers who were impacted will notify students with any changes.


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians as well as the community April 10

    Over the last couple of weeks, administrators, teachers, staff, and volunteers have been working hard to support students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day, our school district hears from families who are struggling to make ends meet, and we are helping these people in need. 

    While $22,000 has been contributed to the State College Area School District Education Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Fund in the past few weeks, all of it now has been spent on helping families. This emergency funding has been used to cover basic needs such as utilities, groceries, and transportation to work, as well as other necessities.

    In order to continue assisting our families, we need your help. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Mental Health Matters Fund through the Education Foundation.

    Click here to give online by selecting the Mental Health Matters Fund from the “Select Campaign” dropdown, or by mailing a check to:

    SCASD Education Foundation
    Mental Health Matters Fund
    240 Villa Crest Drive
    State College, PA 16801

    Be sure to include “Mental Health Matters Fund” in the memo line of your check.

    We have been using the hashtag “It takes a village” lately, and that definitely applies here. We appreciate your support and are grateful to be able to help so many families during this difficult time. 

    Take care, stay safe and be healthy.


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 9

    Subject: Governor Closes Schools for the Year

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Earlier today, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed through the end of this school year. This is incredibly sad news because many of us were holding out hope that we would be together again, and now that’s not going to happen. Because this is so disappointing, it’s going to take some time to sink in. However, over the last couple of weeks, I have seen us come together like never before. With this in mind, I know that we can make the most out of the rest of this year.

    Moving forward, our focus will remain the well-being of students and families, while at the same time we’ll strive to provide students with quality learning experiences under the circumstances. We will continue our remote learning, grateful for the groundwork put in place by our entire school community. 

    For our students and families, we recognize this is a difficult time for many reasons. Therefore, we have numerous ways of providing support. Whether it’s mental health or basic needs such as food, we are here to help. If you need assistance, please complete our family needs assessment or register for our free meals for children.

    With remote learning, our goals will continue to extend beyond academics. We want to connect students with teachers and each other. The face-to-face check-ins provide a sense of community and support for learning in this new social distancing world. In an attempt to balance these unique demands and challenges, our lessons are meant to create a sense of structure for our students to engage and keep their minds sharp. 

    As we continue down this road, we truly believe we are all in this as a community. Our intention is not to overwhelm you; rather, we want to do everything we can to support you as we finish this school year. To be responsive with our efforts, we welcome your feedback. Please share your thoughts with your teachers and principals, as well as me.

    I’m proud to be part of this community. Now more than ever, it takes a village. 

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 8

    Subject: April 10 Status and Academic Calendar Recap

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    We’d like to remind you that on this Friday, April 10, we will have no remote learning. In regard to this impact on secondary cycle schedules: We will not make up that cycle day B. That is, Monday, April 13 will be a cycle day A and continue our weekly schedule as outlined in the 6-12 Remote Learning Plan.

    If you have any questions regarding the final two months of our 2019-2020 academic calendar, please visit our website. Take note that May 22 is now a student day, and June 8 remains the last student day for the 2019-2020 school year.

    Stay safe and well,

    Chris Rosenblum
    Director of Communications


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 7

    Subject: Athletic Facilities and Playgrounds are Closed

    Dear SCASD Community:

    While we are under Governor Wolf’s stay-at-home order until April 30, we want to clarify the use of district facilities. To be clear, all playgrounds, tennis courts, and athletic stadiums are closed until further notice. 

    Because exercise and walking outside are allowed under the order, we support the community’s use of our grounds for exercise and fresh air, as long as you practice social distancing and do not use the playground equipment. However, group activities and any type of congregation are not permitted. 

    Both our police departments and school district request your assistance to share and support this closure for the well-being of our community. The police and our district administrators are working together to comply with the governor’s order.

    We realize this may be an inconvenience, but we all need to have a hand in keeping our community safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 3

    Subject: NOTICE: Orders for April 8 Meals Closed

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Due to unexpectedly high demand for the meal kits being distributed April 8, we have to stop accepting orders because we are at our capacity to fill them. This is very unfortunate, and we promise to do everything possible to increase future distributions.  

    If you have already submitted an order, it will be filled. For the April 8 meal pick up, we have extended the delivery window because of the high volume of orders. Hours are now 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and your children still need to come with you to the pick up. 

    If your food situation is dire, please contact me directly at mas15@scasd.org or call 814-231-5095, and we will work on your individual needs.  

    For those families that missed out on ordering for April 8, you will be given priority for the April 15 distribution if you fill out this form. Additionally, if something changes and we end up having more food than anticipated for April 8, we will contact you.

    Again, we are sorry that we are unable to take care of everyone this week and we appreciate your understanding. 

    Stay safe and well,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Service Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 3

    Subject: Superintendent’s update

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    I hope this note finds you and your families safe and healthy. Based on Governor Wolf’s orders, we are in remote learning until at least April 30 and are planning to continue indefinitely. As we wrap up another week, I’d like to provide you with some updates.

    Calendar

    • April 3 and April 6 are now regular school days of remote learning.
    • April 8 is the day for releasing the second marking period progress reports for K-5.
    • April 10 is a day off for everyone; there is no school.
      • For high school and Delta, we will lose the B day and begin Monday with an A day.
      • For MNMS and PFMS, we will lose the even day and begin Monday with an odd day.
    • May 22 will be a regular school day whether we are in remote learning or back in school.
    • June 8 is the last day of school. 

    We know many of you have questions regarding prom and graduation, as well as many other events. At this point, we have not made decisions on future events. 

    Board Meeting

    The SCASD Board of Directors will be holding a remote board meeting on April 6 at 7 p.m. Please click here for details

    Remote Learning Plans and Secondary Grading

    Yesterday, our secondary families received an update about grading. Families can stay up to date on the current information at the below websites:

    Secondary Remote Learning Plan
    Elementary Remote Learning Plan

    Family Needs and Support Assessments

    Your family's basic needs are of the utmost importance to us, and we are here to help. Please fill out this form if your family has any unmet needs such as: food, transportation, Internet, mental health support, counseling, etc. Once we receive the form, a district representative will contact you. And please fill out this form if you want to help our families in need. 

    Zoom Security

    You may have heard about security and privacy issues concerning Zoom. We want to assure you that our district and Zoom are doing everything we can to make sure the platform is safe. Zoom has been consistently updating its security measures to protect school districts. Additionally, our district is monitoring our practices on a daily basis, adjusting them if necessary. One example is the use of waiting rooms to prevent disruptive or offensive “Zoom bombings.” 

    As this week of remote learning comes to a close, I can’t thank our entire community enough for everything that is happening for our students. The patience and kindness I am seeing on a daily basis are truly heartwarming.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all secondary parents and guardians April 2

    Subject: Third and Fourth Marking Period Grading for Grades 6-12

    Dear Secondary Parents and Guardians:

    I hope that your first week of remote learning for all students is going well. Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility while we make historic adjustments to our educational programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    This email has additional information/clarification regarding the third marking period grading process and how we will grade students during the fourth marking period. To start, here are important dates for the third marking period:

    • March 6 - Ended new work/assignments for the third marking period 
    • April 2 - The first official day of the fourth marking period
    • April 8 - Last day students may hand in work for credit for the third marking period
    • April 20 - Third marking period grades posted in HAC

    For the fourth marking period, teachers will continue to monitor student progress and provide feedback with grading schemes that they have customarily used (such as total points, percentages, letter grades). We are still working on how we will report the end of the marking period grades because we are taking into consideration the impact of students’ grades on the whole year. Please know that whatever grading approach we choose will not negatively affect a student’s cumulative grade for each course. As soon as we finalize the details, we will communicate them to you.

    I’ve appreciated hearing all the accounts of students and teachers working together this week to continue our learning. Such stories make me feel even prouder of this district. I’m sure that together, we can support each other and get through this crisis as a community.

    Sincerely,

    Will Stout
    Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians April 1

    NOTICE: Meal Distribution Change Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Beginning next week, we are going to change the way we distribute meals to our families. Instead of daily pick-ups at three locations, we will be handing out meal kits on Wednesdays only at the High School parking lot. Weekly meal kits will be available for any child age 18 and younger and will have enough food for breakfast and lunch for 5 days. To be clear, meals will continue to be distributed daily through Friday, April 3. Then next week, there will be no meals handed out on Monday or Tuesday; the first weekly pick-up will be Wednesday, April 8. Extra food will be handed out on Friday to help cover when no meals are served on Monday and Tuesday. 

    Place Your Orders

    To facilitate this change, we will need families to place their weekly orders by 8 a.m. each Monday. You are able to customize your orders and pick what suits your family's preferences. By filling out an order form you will also be guaranteed the meals. Place your orders via this form: https://forms.gle/4BtEWjWAY78Lisjp6.  (Find the live link each week at www.scasd.org/schoolmeals)

    Walkups

    A limited number of meals will be available for those who did not order ahead of time. However, these meals will be available on a first come, first served basis. 

    Meal Details

    Each lunch kit will include five servings for each child of the chosen entree along with bulk portions of vegetables, fruits and milk. Breakfasts will also be provided in the form of five complete meals, one for each child in the household.

    Pickup Procedures

    Pickups will be on Wednesdays only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the State College Area High School North Parking Lot. This lot is located across the street from the main high school building at 653 Westerly Parkway in State College. Upon arrival, families are asked to enter the parking lot via Plaza Drive. Food service staff will then guide you through the process. Children must be present in order for meals to be provided.

    If you are unable to pick up your own meals, please fill out this form.  Someone from SCASD Student Services will work with you to help meet your needs. 

    For any other questions or concerns, please reach out to me at mas15@scasd.org or call 814-231-5095.

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Director of Food Services


    Letter sent to all K-5 parents and guardians March 31

    Subject: MyOn Reader for Digital Books

    Dear K-5 Families,

    All SCASD students and teachers in grades K-5 now have access to MyOn Reader. This platform offers a personalized literacy environment that engages students at all reading levels by providing a large library of digital books. Specifically, it walks children through a series of questions and then customizes books to their preferences and reading levels.  

    Parents interested in MyOn Reader can join one of several webinars to learn how to navigate this tool. Multiple 60-minute training options have been scheduled via Zoom in an attempt to accommodate varying schedules.

    Training dates and times for families are as follows:

    • Wednesday, April 1 - 11 a.m., 2 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, April 2 - 5:30 p.m.
    • Tuesday, April 7 - 5:30 p.m.
    • Wednesday, April 9 - 10 a.m, 3:15 p.m., or 5:30 p.m.
    • Thursday, April 9 - 5:30 p.m.

    For more information about MyOn, additional support, and Zoom links for the webinars, please click here

    Warm regards,

    Vern Bock
    Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 30

    Subject: Calendar Adjustments and Playgrounds Closed

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    We would like to give you an update about our calendar adjustments and the closing of our facilities, which now includes playgrounds.

    Calendar Adjustments

    If you recall, during the week of March 16, we missed five school days. Two were used as teacher in-service days in preparation for our remote learning plan. The other three we will make up on the following dates whether we are still in remote learning or back in school: April 3, April 6 and May 22.

    Because of this change, we will not be holding elementary teacher-parent conferences on April 3 and 6. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher at any time. 

    Our final day of school for students in the 2019-2020 school year remains Monday, June 8.

    Playground and Facility Closure

    Last Saturday, Governor Wolf added Centre County to the list of counties under a Stay at Home order. Because of this, please do not use any of our school grounds, athletic facilities, or playgrounds until this order has been lifted. We realize this is an inconvenience, but we are abiding by the orders of the governor to keep our community safe and slow the spread of COVID-19. 

    Thank you very much for your patience and understanding.

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 26

    Subject: Remote Learning Opportunities

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    I hope you and your family are doing well. Before I get to our updated plans, allow me to share that it’s been an amazing week. I’m not sure any of us were quite prepared for how powerful the initial classroom Zoom sessions were going to be. The laughter, energy, and joy experienced between re-connecting students and teachers have been moving to say the least, something many of us will not soon forget.

    Now, on to what’s ahead. Given that we’re going to be closed until at least April 6, we’ve revamped our remote learning opportunity plan. Beginning Monday, March 30, teachers will communicate specific expectations for particular classrooms and courses. To provide flexibility, our plan is mostly asynchronous, meaning that lessons and learning materials can be accessed throughout the day. In addition, teachers will be offering live opportunities for conversations and support.

    When we said “required” Wednesday, we were trying to emphasize that we want students to engage. So what does required mean? The answer is that it depends on what grade level your child is in. 

    Elementary K-5

    For the elementary level, we want our K-5 students to engage in the learning opportunities that the teachers will be providing. We will continue our menu of options for learning over the next two weeks, March 30-April 6. No attendance will be taken, but teachers will give students feedback on their learning. Our K-5 remote learning opportunities website has information elementary families need to know about our plan.

    Secondary 6-12, including the Delta Program 

    At the secondary level, teachers will not be taking attendance but grading will occur. However, we are finalizing the details of how grading will work. Instruction and content will be delivered by our Learning Management Systems: Canvas, Google Classroom and now, Zoom. We will be running specific schedules for middle and high schools.

    For specific details of our secondary remote learning plans, including scheduling information, please view our 6-12 remote learning information

    Please note: We will be ending the third marking period as of March 6. Teachers will allow students to hand in any missed work for credit by April 8.

    As a district, we understand that during these challenging times for families not all students will be able to fully participate. We want students and our employees to put their families first so please know that this flexibility exists. However, if we find that certain students aren’t engaging, we will reach out to those students and families directly. We want to work with you to give you the best possible support for your child's education. Of course, if you need help at any time with our remote learning plan, please reach out to your teachers and/or your building principal.

    I often say, “It takes a village,” and that absolutely applies here. It’s been inspiring to watch our entire community come together to develop this plan over the last couple of weeks. Now, seeing the opportunities happening this week, I’m confident that next week is going to enhance the education of our students. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 24

    Subject: Remote Learning Shift Next Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Yesterday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for an additional two weeks. Due to our schools now staying closed until at least April 6, and in light of new guidelines from the US Department of Education, we are going to make a shift with our remote learning plan for our students. 

    Beginning Monday, March 30, we will move from optional to required learning. We are finalizing the details of our plan, and we will share specifics later this week. In brief, we are building on the lessons that our students are having this week to further enhance the educational experiences. Additionally, we are working on student services, special education, grading, marking periods and attendance, among other things. 

    If you still need a computer or Internet for remote learning, please fill out this form.

    Finally, with respect to the health and safety of our community during this crisis, please refrain from gathering in groups, even if they’re small, to limit the spread of coronavirus. We are abiding by the CDC’s direction on social distancing, and we ask that you and your children do the same.

    If you have any questions, please contact your building principal.  

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 23

    Subject: Computer and Internet Needs

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    As we begin our optional remote learning plan this week, we’re still trying to identify students who need a computer and/or Internet access at home. We are prepared to provide a 

    Chromebook to any students, as well as support to families with Internet access issues. If your child already has a computer at home (laptop, Chromebook, tablet, iPad), that will work with our plan and you do not need to sign up. 

    Please fill out this form if you require a device at home or lack Internet access. Once your need is identified through the form, we will contact you directly to fulfill your request. Note: This is a new form. If you have previously filled out a form but still need help, please fill it out again. We need to do this because we want to ensure we are connecting with everyone. 

    If you have any questions, please contact your building principal.  

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 22

    Subject: Optional Remote Learning This Week

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Tomorrow, while our schools remain closed, we will begin our optional remote learning plan. As we enter into this new chapter in our district, I’d like to thank you for your patience with us during this time of change. Below, we’ve included several reminders:

    1. Nothing will be required, and there are no graded assignments or attendance taken.
    2. Secondary students will receive communications directly from teachers. 
    3. Elementary students, along with parents/guardians, will receive information from teachers.
    4. If you have questions, please reach out to teachers directly and then the principal if needed.
    5. Zoom is an online communication tool that many teachers will be using to facilitate conversations with students. Teachers will share access/links directly with students via email (parents for K-2). Please have your child read the Zoom etiquette information.

    We think these optional experiences will help keep our students engaged while they’re at home, and we know our teachers can’t wait to reconnect. We have launched an updated website to host our most current information. This includes ways you can learn how to get help, offer help, and access many other resources. 

    At this time, we are working toward an updated plan for the week of March 30 and will keep you posted on new developments. 

    Finally, a lot of preparation and changes have taken place behind the scenes so that we can provide these experiences this week. Thank you to everyone who has made this happen, and we hope you all have a great week!

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 20

    Subject: SCASD Continues to Distribute Meals

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    We have received word from the PA Dept. of Education that we are able to continue distributing meals under the guidelines of Governor Wolf’s order given last night. 

    Therefore, for the foreseeable future, meals are being provided every weekday (including today) for all children under the age of 18 while schools are closed. This will continue next week, March 23-27. A breakfast and lunch will be available on a first come, first served basis. Children must be present in order for meals to be provided at the following drive-thru locations:

    • State College Area High School bus loop from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    • Weis Market parking lot on North Atherton Street from 11 a.m.-noon
    • Ashworth Woods Apartments in Boalsburg from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

    If you have any questions, please email Food Services Director Megan Schaper at mas15@scasd.org or call 814-231-5093.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 19

    Subject: Optional Remote Learning Plan

    Dear SCASD Families,

    On Monday, March 23, while our schools remain closed, we will begin our optional remote learning plan. To be clear, next week’s experiences will not be required, and there will be no assignments, attendance taken or grading. 

    The reason we are unable to move forward with requiring students to participate is that we would be violating federal law that dictates meeting the needs of all students. If not every student can engage equitably with remote learning, then we cannot proceed with required lessons. Required participation also conflicts with the cyber stipulations added to Gov. Wolf’s edict to shut down. 

    We think these optional experiences will help keep children engaged while they’re at home, and we know our teachers can’t wait to reconnect with their students. We’re also laying the groundwork for supporting students and families should we have to stay closed in the coming weeks.

    Lastly, we have launched an updated website to host our most current information. This includes ways you can learn how to get help, meals, offer help, and many other resources. As we learn more information, we will communicate it to you. Please watch for further communications from your building principal and teachers.

    Thank you for your understanding and patience during these unprecedented times. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your building principal

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 18

    Subject: How can we help? 

    Dear Students and Families,

    As we join together amidst these challenging times, the SCASD Counseling Department and Social Workers would like to reach out to you all and offer our unwavering support through the coming weeks. Below are a few important items that we would like to share with you:

    First, in order to better serve our families we need to gather information. This information will help us identify specific ways in which we can help and support any family in need of services beyond standard school counseling, and we will work on a system to connect the resources with needs within our SCASD community.

    • Community needs: Please use this form if your family has any unmet needs such as: food, transportation, Internet, tutoring, mental health support, counseling, childcare, etc.   
    • Community supports: Please use this form if you want to help our families with any of the above needs.

    Second, our team has been working diligently to develop a comprehensive collection of resources, including a Q&A, that may be helpful to your family in a variety of ways. These resources can be accessed HERE, where you will find information on how you can access an array of counseling support for your child through our internal and external support systems. We also have compiled many links to resources, meant to assist you in navigating your child’s education during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Our focus at this time is to be accessible and supportive to you all to the extent of our abilities. We are committed to supporting your family’s needs in any way we are able so please do not hesitate to contact your school counselor and social workers at any time.

    In the spirit of community,

    The SCASD Counseling and Social Worker Team


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 16

    Subject: Computer needs and important updates

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    This week, we are working with faculty to prepare our remote learning plan scheduled for next week. However, for the plan to work, we need your cooperation. 

    Specifically, every student needs access to a computer. Therefore, we are assessing the need for Chromebooks among our elementary students. Additionally, we know some of our secondary students might have left their Chromebooks in school prior to spring break.

    We are prepared to provide a Chromebook to any student who needs one. However, keep in mind that any computer will work (laptop, Chromebook, tablet, iPad) with the remote learning plan we are developing. 

    If you need a device at home, please fill out this form. Once your need is identified through the form, we will contact you directly to get you a Chromebook.

    Internet: For those households without home Internet service, Comcast has announced changes to improve local Internet access. For more Comcast information, click here  or call 1-855-8-INTERNET. Additionally, the district has cellular hotspots available for families that can’t get Internet access. If you need a hotspot, please call IT Support at 814-231-7743 or email itsupport@scasd.org.

    Buildings: Our buildings are not open while school is closed.

    Food: During this closure, the district is providing free breakfast and lunch every day for children. Please view our flyer for details. Beyond this, the State College Food Bank is offering assistance, and also is in need of donations. Please visit its website for information.   

    Education this week: There are no required assignments this week. However, some teachers may provide optional work.

    Medicine: If you wish to retrieve medicine left in the school buildings for your child, please contact the school nurse to make arrangements.

    Registration: During this closure, our kindergarten registration process has moved online. Use the online enrollment feature to submit your child's registration. Please feel free to contact the office by phone 814-231-1017 or email dbr14@scasd.org should you have any questions.

    If you have any questions or issues related to the above items, please contact your building principal

    Thank you for your cooperation. We will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available.

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 13, 2020

    Subject: Governor Wolf Announces School Closure

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Today, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for two weeks, effective Monday, March 16. This changes our original plan to make week-to-week decisions on our school closure. While schools will now be closed until March 30, we are still working on a remote learning plan that could begin the week of March 23. 

    We will be in touch as we assess this new information and our plans come together. 

    Have a good weekend,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 13, 2020

    Subject: SAT Testing Cancelled for Saturday

    Dear Parents and Guardians: 

    The SAT testing scheduled for Saturday, March 14, at State High has been cancelled. We apologize for the late notice. Please know, State High will be a testing site on May 2 and June 6 so there are upcoming opportunities to reschedule. 

    Thank you,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 13, 2020

    Subject: Free meals March 16-20 during SCASD closure

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    Schools closed due to the coronavirus are able to provide free meals to all students through the National School Lunch Program's Seamless Summer Option. These meals are available for all families and to any child age 18 and younger. 

    For next week while schools are not in session, the State College Area School District invites families and caregivers to pick up meals for their children beginning on Monday, March 16. A breakfast and lunch will be provided each day on a first come, first served basis.

    Children must be present in order for meals to be provided. Please stay in your car, and meals will be passed through based on the number of children in the car.

    Pick up is available Monday through Friday at:

    • State College High School Bus Loop, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    • Weis Market Parking Lot, North Atherton Street, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    • Ashworth Woods Apartments, Boalsburg, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


    Families who live in Ashworth Woods or very close to the other sites may walk to pick 
    up their meals but are asked to not congregate at the pick-up site.

    Lunches will include sandwiches, fresh vegetables, fruit, milk and a dessert treat. Cereal, yogurt, banana bread, and bagels are some of the items that will be provided for breakfast. Breakfast bags will also include fruit, juice, and milk.

    We encourage families to continue to be proactive in reducing the risk of coronavirus by not congregating at the pick-up site once meals have been distributed, continuing to wash your hands often, sneezing or coughing into a tissue, and staying home if you are sick.

    Additionally, free menstrual hygiene products will be available during these times. 

    Contact the State College Area School District Food Service Department at 814-231-5095 or mas15@scasd.org if you have questions about this service or if you need to make arrangements for medically necessary meal accommodations. 

    Sincerely,

    Megan Schaper
    Food Service Director


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 12, 2020

    Subject: Update: SCASD co-curricular/extracurricular activities

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    In response to the rapidly changing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, our plans for district extracurricular and co-curricular activities have changed. Beginning Monday, March 16, we are suspending all K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular activities next week while schools are closed to students. During that time period, all buildings will also be closed for community use.

    To clarify yesterday’s message, the CEEL program will operate through Friday, March 13, but then will be suspended.

    In regard to the high school’s SAT testing for this Saturday, we plan to proceed as scheduled. We are asking students to arrive 30 minutes earlier than planned to facilitate health screenings by nurses. In addition, our testing administrators have planned to ensure we establish safe distances among participating students.

    As we stated yesterday, our schools will not be in session next week, and we will update the status of the district on Thursday, March 19. By doing this, we will have additional information to better evaluate the impact of COVID-19 and spring break travel on our community as well as develop flexible/remote learning plans should they be needed.

    While we finetune our plans, we will provide you with updates in the coming days. Thank you for working with us through this complex and challenging time.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 11, 2020

    Subject: SCASD Plan for March 16-20

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    We have spent the past few weeks researching and monitoring the rapidly changing COVID-19 coronavirus health issue. As we negotiate this uncharted territory, we believe that the time has come for our district community to make an important decision. 

    All schools in the State College Area School District will not be in session for students from March 16 until March 20, 2020, but all buildings and district offices will be open. 

    Great care and research went into this decision; however, we regret the hardships this will cause for some of our families. Before choosing a course of action, we reviewed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and worked with the PA Department of Health, Centre Region Emergency Management, and the Integrated Health Planning Group. At this time, we believe that is the right step to take for the health and safety of our SCASD families, employees, and the community at large — especially to protect our students and employees who are immunosuppressed or at greater risk due to age and other reasons.

    We will use this time to develop the following measures should we resume classes on Monday, March 23, or a longer closure becomes necessary: 

    • Identify immunosuppressed and other at-risk students and employees
    • Finalize daily systematic approach to disinfect all schools and buses
    • Develop flexible and remote learning options for all K-12 students
    • Prepare for potential distribution of chromebooks to K-5 students
    • Coordinate food service options for our children in need


    This five-day period will consist of two instructional training days for faculty and staff and three days that will be rescheduled for students and made-up. In the coming days, we will communicate more information about Special Education and Student Services, including Counseling, Gifted, Nursing, and ESL. 

    At this time, athletics and extracurricular activities will proceed as planned. The SAT test scheduled for Saturday will continue as normal. However, because of the expected large number of test-takers, we will take extra precautions related to student health.

    Moving forward, we’ll continue monitoring the situation weekly and proceed on a week-by-week basis. We will make a decision about the week of March 23-27 on Thursday, March 19. Regardless, our goal is to resume instruction on March 23, whether that’s in our classrooms or via remote learning.

    Because of the magnitude of this decision, I ask that you please reach out to your building principal with individual requests and needs. They will serve as the first contacts for funneling communications throughout the district. 

    Though this is an uncertain time, I know we’ll pull together as a community. Thank you for your understanding as we work through this difficult period. 

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 5, 2020

    Subject: Update: COVID-19 and Travel Information

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    As promised, we want to give you an update on our COVID-19 coronavirus preparation and plans. Yesterday, we had another productive meeting with the Integrated Health Planning Group and today, we attended a Mount Nittany Medical Center briefing on the virus. We will keep collaborating with these groups of local experts in health care, emergency preparedness and crisis management as we closely monitor the situation.

    Although Pennsylvania still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, we are preparing in anticipation of the virus spreading to our area. To keep our community informed, we have developed a COVID-19 website. This will serve as a central place for resources and the most current information related to our district. 

    As of now, our plan for after spring break is to continue the normal operation of our schools. However, if you are planning to travel internationally during spring break, or are currently out of the country, we ask that you abide by the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for travel to CDC Level 3 countries. This will help prevent potential exposure to our community. As per the guidelines, please self-quarantine for 14 days after returning from Level 3 countries, and inform your school nurse of the quarantine. 

    Right now, for preventative care, the CDC is recommending frequent hand washing, healthy eating, not touching your face, and the proper use and disposal of tissues. Additionally, they have valuable resources for what you need to know about COVID-19. Please visit the CDC website to learn about symptoms, how the virus spreads, prevention and treatment, steps if you are sick, and frequently asked questions. 

    Should we have a student or employee test positive for COVID-19, we will be notified by the PA Department of Health. In that case, we will inform our community, and our plans will change accordingly. This could include closing schools, so please be considering childcare options. 

    Because this situation remains very fluid, we will continue to keep you informed. In any event, I hope you have an enjoyable spring break.

    Sincerely,

    Bob O'Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians March 2, 2020

    Subject: COVID-19 Coronavirus Information and Preparedness

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    As many of you are now aware, the COVID-19 coronavirus is now present in the United States and we would like to update you on our actions so far and the steps we are taking as a district. 

    All school districts are required to have an emergency preparedness plan. An important component of our plan is to keep parents and guardians informed of what could potentially happen. Please know that the district has been in ongoing communication and consultation with the following organizations that are experts in emergency preparedness and crisis management: 

    We receive advice and possible direction from them when it comes to taking district-related actions. At this time, there have been no confirmed cases in PA, but we are preparing should this pandemic affect our local area. This could result in the closing of schools, so we ask that you please consider alternative childcare plans. In addition, the CDC website has some recommendations related to getting your household ready for COVID-19. 

    Recently, the district postponed two student trips to Europe based on the Travel Health Notices by the CDC. We have purchased hand sanitizer and tissues that will be available in every classroom following spring break. We also use disinfectant cleaner that is effective against the coronavirus to clean our facilities. 

    Please remember the importance of frequent hand washing, healthy eating, and the proper use and disposal of tissues at all times. Also, our recommendation is that if your child has a fever over 100 degrees, please stay home and before returning, students should be fever-free for 24 hours.

    This week, district officials will participate in another meeting of the Integrated Health Planning Group related to COVID-19. Along with the district, this group consists of PSU Health Services, Centre Region Emergency Management, Mount Nittany Medical Center, and other local medical providers. Following that meeting and before spring break, we will send you another communication with the most up-to-date information.

    Thank you,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools


    Letter sent to all parents and guardians Feb. 26, 2020

    Subject: COVID-19 Coronavirus Information and Preparedness

    Dear Parents and Guardians:

    As the COVID-19 coronavirus leads many news broadcasts and information is being widely disseminated, we wanted to share how this virus relates to our district and what we are doing to be prepared. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised school districts to review their emergency preparedness plans, which includes responding to potential pandemic outbreaks, and we are undertaking this action.

    Additional measures include: 

    • Monitoring daily attendance for students, faculty, and staff
    • Monitoring various outlets including CDC, PDE, and PA Department of Health as well as working with the local Infectious Hazardous Planning Group consisting of Penn State University Health Services, Centre Region Emergency Management, Mount Nittany Medical Center, and other local medical providers

    For your reference, the PA Department of Health has a coronavirus resource page that includes valuable information. Additionally, the latest information on the coronavirus in the U.S. and worldwide can be found on the CDC website.

    Because we are at the height of cold and flu season, please remember the importance of frequent hand washing, healthy eating, and the proper use and disposal of tissues at all times. For families traveling during spring break, the school district recommends referencing the CDC Information for travel website

    As always, protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our utmost concern, and we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and communicate as necessary.

    Thank you,

    Bob O’Donnell
    Superintendent of Schools

Last Modified Today at 2:49 PM