Central Dauphin and Harrisburg students, teachers and parents adjust to COVID-19 impact

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version on Jan. 11 at 2:10 p.m.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Parents are racing to make child care plans as schools are forced to make COVID changes. Both the Harrisburg and Central Dauphin School Districts have moved to virtual learning for some or all of their students.

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Parents have been through this before, it’s disruptive and stressful, but those who talked to abc27 say they understand why the decisions have been made and they are trying their best to make the adjustment.

Parents in the Central Dauphin School District were notified Monday that the high school has 114 active COVID cases, with 41 having been in the building. So now, all Central Dauphin High School students and staff will work remotely for the rest of the week and will return to in-person classes on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Fernando Vega Jr. says he’s not surprised.

“When we first came back from the New Year the numbers were rising and I am like why don’t you close the school now so the numbers don’t go as high,” he said.

All extracurricular activities, including sports, are canceled through next week. The plan right now is that students with no symptoms can return to in-person learning next Tuesday.

But for the moment, Fernando’s daughter is worried about issues with her laptop.

“She has been emailing the teachers trying to get a number to call for it so unless they can get on remotely because now I can’t take it to the school,” he said.

All elementary schools in the CD district return to the classroom on Tuesday, Jan. 11, and will be dismissed at their normal time. Middle school and CD East High School students will also return to in-person learning and will have an early dismissal time at 1:45 p.m.

The Harrisburg School District is also switching to online learning for the week. Angel Fox has a son who is waiting to return to college. Her youngest goes to Bishop McDevitt, which has also switched to virtual learning. She knows the struggle firsthand.

“Our house had covid the day after Christmas,” Fox said.

Fox says although virtual learning is not new, it still forces many families to make big adjustments.

“Seeing them having to scramble and pivot to get babysitters praying they can get time off work trying to find someone to look after them and helping with homeschool that is a lot,” Fox said.

Bishop McDevitt also went online on Monday, and future plans are unclear.

All schools are asking everyone to be patient and understanding during this difficult stretch.

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