Greencastle-Antrim superintendent provides COVID-19 update

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot
Charles Ford was sworn in as the newest member of the Greencastle-Antrim School Board on Dec. 3, replacing Mike Still who is moving from the district.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District was already taking most of the health and safety precautions detailed in the latest guidelines from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's administration in the "substantial" phase of COVID-19 Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, said at the Dec. 3 school board meeting.

Lunchtime seating areas have been expanded to ensure children are 6 feet apart, Hanks said. For example, at the primary school, that means students are now also eating in the wrestling room and gathering "pit" in the lobby.

Because the high school classes are online until after Christmas break, half of the middle school students now eat in the high school cafeteria.

More:Greencastle-Antrim High School closed until January, COVID contact reported at elementary

The district's robust cleaning and sanitation program continues, staff members work remotely whenever possible, and PIAA regulations concerning sports are being followed, such as athletes wearing masks.

Hanks' update also included information on what steps the district will take based on positive cases, information she also included in a letter to families last week.

The district will follow the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education concerning in-person vs. virtual instruction.

"If we have seven or more students or staff in a building of 500-900 students test positive within a 14-day period while in the substantial phase, then we will move to a two-week virtual learning environment," Hanks wrote. "We will also continue to make decisions for classrooms and grade levels as warranted."

The district received many call from families after Thanksgiving break concerning positive cases and exposures, Hanks wrote. The majority of the exposures were outside of school.

As of Wednesday, Dec. 2, the following positive exposures were reported for each building:

Primary school — 1 student (kindergarten)

Elementary school — 2 students (grades 3 and 5)

Middle school — 4 students (2 in grade 7; 2 in grade 8)

"There may be other students who have been outside of our school buildings during time of exposure or risk of spread that are not included in these numbers," Hanks wrote. "We also have a considerable number of students in quarantine as a result of a family member testing positive.

"These are unusual times, and we will continue our work to be as consistent and supportive to our students and their families as possible. We will also continue to provide updates on our number of cases so that you can plan and prepare for any potential shift to a virtual learning environment. As you may have inferred, we are closely monitoring our middle school numbers!"

More:School bus driver will fill seat on Greencastle-Antrim School Board

On the board

Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham also swore in Charles Ford as the newest member of the board Thursday evening. Ford was selected from a field of 11 applicants for a one-year term to replace Mike Still, who resigned because he is moving from the district.

The board also conducted its annual reorganization, with Shannon Blanchard elected president and Dr. Carter Davidson elected vice president.