MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — School districts across Pennsylvania have pushed back the first day of school in order to meet new Covid-19 recommendations.
“Without question, it has been the most challenging several months of my career as an educator. It has been a massive undertaking,” said Dr. David Christopher superintendent, Cumberland Valley School District.
Cumberland Valley School District is one of the largest in the state with almost 9,700 students.
The district provided abc27 with pictures of what classrooms are expected to look like this year. Superintendent Christopher said furniture was removed from classrooms to allow for desks to be spaced at least six feet apart.
“I don’t think we have more than 18 students at any given time in a classroom space. Most of our classrooms are going to be at 15 or lower,” said Christopher.
Students will have their temperature taken each day before entering buildings. According to CDC guidelines, a fever is considered a temperature of 100.4 or greater.
The district is asking students to bring two masks to school each day and a water bottle. Water filling stations have been installed throughout the school buildings. Other precautions are also being taken to limit contact.
“We are going to be asking kids to stay separated from each other in hallways. When they get into classrooms we are going to have assigned seating for them,” said Christopher.
This year, elementary students will go back to school full-time. Middle school and high school students are splitting their time, two days in the classroom, and three days of virtual learning. Middle school and high school students are split into two cohorts, which will report to school different days of the week to help limit class sizes.
Superintendent Christopher said a deep cleaning is scheduled for every Wednesday; when students aren’t in class.
“We actually have hospital-grade cleaner now which has a one minute activation time. Our teachers are being provided with that in our classrooms. They have gloves and paper towels, so teachers have the ability to do some cleaning throughout the day as well,” said Christopher.
The district also created an online virtual academy for students who did not want to come back to school.
“We have almost 3,000 students that are going to be virtual. A majority of those students are in grades K-8 and they will be taught by a teacher who is teaching fully online,” said Christopher.
Superintendent Christopher believes virtual learning will become a more common choice for parents and students, even after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We will see kids come back, but I don’t think they are all going to come back. Districts have to be ready. We have to be competitive,” said Christopher.
The first day of school for Cumberland Valley School District is Aug. 31.