Coronavirus Updates

Coronavirus Updates
Posted on 03/17/2020

FAQ for our Bubbler Families

March 29, 2020


How long will the school closure last?

Governor Wolf announced on March 30 that all Pennsylvania schools will remain closed indefinitely.

On Monday, April 15, we will launch a formal remote K-12 learning plan.
More information regarding this plan will be sent to families in the near future.

How can a South Middleton family access meal assistance during the closure? If you feel you are in need of assistance with meals for your student(s) at this time, please contact the district at pandemicinfo@smsd.us immediately. (Please provide your contact information and student information.) Information provided will be kept strictly confidential. How will my child stay engaged in learning during the school closure? Your child’s teachers have sent home instructional activities to engage them in learning through March 27. The goal of these optional activities is not to present new learning but to provide practice and enrichment with skills and concepts previously taught.
Additional optional review activities will be sent home on Monday, March 30 and Monday, April 6.
What if the school closure extends beyond April 15?
We are currently preparing to launch a formal remote learning plan should the school closure be extended beyond April 14. Should it become necessary, the District will provide resources for instructional continuity to our students based on the revised time frame and the guidance of our state department of education.
​Will my middle school student need their Chromebook during the closure? In order to be prepared to deliver a formal remote learning plan to our students beyond April 14, we will be distributing the Chromebooks assigned to each of our middle school students on Tuesday, March 31, between the hours of 9:00-11:00 am and 5:00-7:00 pm. More detailed information regarding this distribution was emailed to each of our YBMS families on Sunday, March 29. How will my K-5 student(s) access remote learning if the school closure extends beyond April 15? We have been working diligently to gain the information needed to determine the technology needs of our K-5 students. We are still in the process of evaluating the results of the technology survey sent last week and are making individual calls to families who have not yet responded. A decision regarding the loaning of devices for elementary students will be made and communicated in the near future. What does this closure mean for AP exams? The College Board posted the following information on their website on March 20: For the 2019–20 exam administration only, students can take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home. Our teachers will communicate with their AP students regarding preparation for the AP Exam.  More information about these changes can be found by clicking this link: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update

What does the closure mean for PSSA and Keystone exams? The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced the cancelation of all PSSA testing and Keystone exams for the 2019-2020 school year. This includes the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA).

What does the closure mean for students in career and technical education programs?

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced the cancellation of all standardized testing for students in career and technical education (CTE) programs for the 2019-20 school year. These include exams from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) and National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS).


When will these school days be made up?  
Our Governor stated that districts will not be held accountable for days missed between March 16 - March 27.
Information regarding whether or not missed days beyond March 27 will need to be made up will be provided as soon as it is available. Once the total number of days missed due to COVID-19 has been determined, we will plan our course of action as a district.



Will graduation still be held on June 5? 

At this time, there are no plans to cancel graduation. 

Should you have additional questions, please email us at pandemicinfo@smsd.us. Answers to additional questions as well as revised answers to the questions above will be shared as they become available.



3/23/2020 This afternoon, Governor Wolf announced that schools will remain closed until at least April 6th. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has provided additional information:
April 7th – Staff are allowed to return to school

April 9th – Students are allowed to return to school
These dates are dependent upon future decisions made by government officials and may change. More updates will be provided as they become available. Below is a link for a tech survey that each family should complete. Please complete the technology survey by Wednesday, March 25th at noon.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYM6j_ubmRmSFFYqIzeLUEFL620SbdcjI6K9XZ27Z5_cm4gQ/viewform?usp=sf_link.
March 15, 2020 Dear Families of South Middleton School District:
This letter is to provide you with an update regarding the District’s response to COVID-19. Administrators will be available in each of our school offices on Tuesday, March 17, during normal operational hours to assist families in picking up medications and other personal belongings as needed:
● Yellow Breeches Middle School and Boiling Springs High School- 7:00 am - 3:00 pm
● Iron Forge Elementary School and W. G. Rice Elementary School- 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
You may stop into our schools as needed during these hours should you have items to pick up.
However, if you do not need to pick up any items but instead are seeking answers to a question, we ask that you use the email address pandemicinfo@smsd.us. Please note that as of 4:00 pm on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, access to the buildings will only be granted to essential personnel.
Information regarding academic resources to keep our students connected to learning during the closure will be provided to all of our families on Wednesday, March 18. The District will continue to provide all updates and information as it becomes available via our website at www.smsd.us, social media, and the SchoolMessenger communication platform. In addition, many of you have expressed
concerns regarding students who may experience food insecurity during this time. Our District has developed a plan to address this need in conjunction with Chartwells and Project Share.
We anticipate there will be on-going challenges as we work through the coming weeks. Be assured the safety of our community is at the heart of all of our decision making. We all feel tremendous Bubbler Pride, but Bubbler Kindness is equally tangible. We are stronger together.
Respectfully,
Melanie Shaver-Durham
Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Federal Programs
March 13, 2020



Dear families of South Middleton School District,

To protect the health, safety, and well-being of our students, staff, and community and to do our part in trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,

South Middleton School District will be CLOSED
effective Saturday, March 14 until Monday, March 30, 2020.
(To clarify, the current plan is for school to resume on Monday, March 30, 2020.) 

This action is taken in response to the directive issued by Governor Tom Wolf. District Administration will continue to monitor the situation to determine appropriate next steps for our District. 

All extracurricular activities, athletic events including practices and contests, and facilities usage will be canceled. During the period of closure, all school buildings will be thoroughly cleaned, and District administration will request that our transportation contractor completes an additional disinfecting of buses.

We are currently evaluating the need for an instructional plan for students during this period of school closure. Our goal would not be to fully replace classroom instruction but to help our students to maintain some level of academic focus during the closure. More information will be forthcoming.

We realize many questions and concerns will arise as this situation is rapidly evolving. The District will continue to provide updates and information as they become available via our website at www.smsd.us, social media, and the SchoolMessenger communication platform. Should you have any additional questions, please email us at pandemicinfo@smsd.us.
Please know that we are striving to keep our community safe and healthy during this unprecedented and challenging time. We truly appreciate your community spirit and patience. 

Respectfully,

Melanie Shaver-Durham
Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Federal Programs
South Middleton School District




March 12, 2020

Dear families of South Middleton School District:


On Thursday afternoon, March 12, Governor Wolf held an emergency press conference to address Pennsylvania's growing concerns for its citizens' safety regarding the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Governor Wolf has implored Pennsylvanians to do their part in mitigating the spread of Coronavirus through social distancing and has discouraged mass gatherings and participation in recreational activities.

With respect to Governor Wolf’s advisement, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Boiling Springs High School’s musical performances on March 13, 14, and 15, 2020. Tonight’s performance (Thursday, March 12, 2020) will proceed as scheduled. We understand and appreciate that this is disappointing news for the cast and crew who have dedicated their time and talents to this event and for the families, staff, and community members who have supported our talented student performers.  Please know this decision was made with the safety of students, staff, and our community as our primary concern.


Please continue to check the District’s website, www.smsd.us, for further updates regarding other events occurring throughout the District.  Should you have any additional questions, please email us at pandemicinfo@smsd.us. Thank you for your understanding and support of our school community during this very challenging time.


Respectfully,



Melanie Shaver-Durham

Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Federal Programs


March 11, 2020




Dear Families of South Middleton School District:

 

We understand the current concerns surrounding the globalized spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). On March 2, 2020, the district formed a Pandemic Workgroup to develop a comprehensive plan of prevention, mitigation, response and recovery. The safety of our students, staff, and community is of the utmost importance to us. Over the past several days, members of our Workgroup met with state and local officials to review all available resources related to COVID-19 and have used those resources to ensure our plan effectively addresses every necessary area. In addition, we have collaborated with other school districts in our region to align our efforts to support our school communities. These collaborative efforts will continue as needed for the foreseeable future.

 

In addition, the district will continue to monitor guidance issued by local officials, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. These experts have advised us that the best course of action to prevent the spread of the virus is to practice good hygiene, proper handwashing, and staying at home when you are sick. The CDC has shared that COVID-19 is transmitted like the common flu with symptoms including fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. In addition, we have initiated assertive efforts to disinfect high touchpoint areas within our school buildings, buses and vans. 

 

NOTE: As of the date and time of this communication, there are no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Cumberland County.

 

At this time, we do not plan to cancel events or gatherings unless directed by state officials. However, should we need to close school to ensure the health and safety of our community, all events, practices, and use of district facilities would be immediately stopped.  

 

In an effort to ensure the district is in compliance with changing guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health related to mandatory and self-quarantine, we are asking our families to follow the guidelines listed below:

 

a. Report any international travel that you have planned in the coming weeks to Mr. Zachary Gump, Incident Commander at pandemicinfo@smsd.us. Please include your destination as well as the dates of your trip.

b. Any student who has traveled to or has been in close contact with a person who has traveled to a Level III country as identified by the CDC is asked not to return to school for a period of 14 days.

c.     Any student with a fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as a productive cough should not report to school.  

d.     Any student who presents with both a fever and respiratory symptoms such as a productive cough will be sent home immediately for the safety of the school community unless that student is determined by a school nurse or physician to be non-communicable.  

e.     Any student who misses school due to a respiratory illness for three or more consecutive days is required to obtain a doctor's note verifying the illness and stating that they are able to return to school.


While South Middleton School District and other schools in Cumberland County have no immediate plan to close, given the rapidly changing health environment, we ask that all students, staff, families and community members plan now for disruptions that may occur in the future. These disruptions could include, but are not limited to 1) the closing of our schools for days or even weeks, 2) the cancellation of school related trips and after school events, and 3) disruption to our interscholastic sports schedules and other extracurricular activities.

 

We will continue to provide you with important updates regarding this issue. We also encourage you to visit our COVID-19 resource page available at http://www.smsd.us/news/what_s_new/coronavirus_resources. Should you have any additional questions for the Pandemic Workgroup, please email us at pandemicinfo@smsd.us.


The strength of our community lies in how we support one another through both favorable and challenging times. Thank you for all that you do to support our students and for your on-going cooperation throughout this difficult time. 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

The South Middleton School District Pandemic Workgroup






Posted on 2020-02-27
Please click the links below to view coronavirus resources as shared by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Coronavirus Information for K-12 Schools - PA DOH

Interim Guidance for Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Homes and Residential Communities - CDC

Coronavirus Fact Sheet - PA DOH