State suggests every local school district currently use all online learning, but few districts are

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — The Elizabethtown Area School District hasn’t been afraid to switch their students to online learning when COVID-19 case counts get too high.

“The factors we look at are the number of cases we have district wide,” Troy Porster, Director of School and Community Information for the district, said.

Porster said they also look at where cases are, the number of close contact associated with each case, and the number of students and staff under investigation.

On Monday the Pennsylvania Department of Health released new information that shows 59 counties, including all of them in the Midstate, have substantial spikes of community transition of COVID-19.

Both the state departments of education and health suggest when that happens all learning should be all online only.

However, most districts aren’t following that guidance.

“Community-wide spread and county-wide spread here in Lancaster County, while relevant and significant to us, is not the only factor,” Porster said.

District officials across the state suggest a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work and they’re quick to point out the state’s guidance is not a requirement.

Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, said schools need to make the best local decision.

“We do have specific guidance for the prevalence of COVID-19 in their communities as well as percent positivity,” Levine said. “What we’re asking is that schools follow that guidance.”

Levine said the state does not intend to force schools to use all virtual learning.

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