SCASD Students Continue to Learn from Home

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Hannah Garlin

A virtual School Board meeting was held Wednesday, September 2nd. Recent School Board meetings have been held virtually over Zoom due to the mandates set by Pennsylvania’s Governor, Tom Wolf. (Photo/Hannah Garlin).

Hannah Garlin, Staff Writer

It was announced Friday, Sept. 4, that SCASD would move to remote learning for the following week. After one week of students learning from the comfort of their homes, it was decided that SCASD would continue with this plan, not returning students to their respective school buildings. “Decisions to be in school or fully remote will be made at the end of each week,” Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said. 

In a school board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10, the board approved a new approach to evaluating the data of COVID-19 in Centre County. 

“The DOH (Department of Health) recommends that school districts within counties experiencing 100 or more new cases per 100,000 residents within the most recent seven days consider shifting to fully remote learning,” O’Donnell wrote in the improved Health and Safety Plan.

With Centre County’s population at approximately 163,000 residents, 163 new cases countywide within seven days would indicate a continuation of remote learning for the district, according to the recommended rate.

“As of Sept. 10, the adjusted seven-day countywide case total [with zip code 16802 removed] was 275,” as reported in the memo written by O’Donnell and District Administration. With such a high number of cases reported in the county, the district concluded that a continuation with remote learning would be the best possible option.

As for the district, there were “No known reported cases by SCASD faculty, staff, and students – either self-reported or by the DOH,” O’Donnell wrote. To ensure accurate reporting of this, there will be regular testing of SCASD employees. “This would enable us to identify asymptomatic adults in our schools.” O’Donnell wrote.

Differing from any school year experienced before, students have had to adjust to a new way of learning. For some students, the shift from in-person schooling to fully online was tough, but for others, it was not as difficult. 

“[This transition] was honestly really simple. It sucks, but I understand why we had to do it,” senior Clarre Porter said.

Although the transition was not difficult for Porter, it will still affect hers and her classmates’ senior year of high school in a significant way.

“I want my senior year to be filled with meeting new people and having human interactions with my teachers and classmates,” Porter said. Instead, students are spending most of their time at home participating in remote learning.

The decision to institute fully remote learning has affected all students throughout the district in one way or another. While O’Donnell acknowledges that the decision to continue remote learning is disappointing to some, he reports that meaningful instruction is occurring. Although it may come easier to some, the transition has reshaped the way all students approach their school day.

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