MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) -- Some students are heading back to the classroom, while others are staying home in Montgomery County on Monday. It’s up to school districts now after the end of a two-week period of all-virtual learning, mandated by the county health department because of the surge of coronavirus cases.
While most districts kept their plans in place -- such as Colonial and Wissahickon sticking with the return of hybrid learning -- there was some last-minute scrambling in the Spring-Ford and Pottsgrove school districts. Both nixed the in-person learning that was supposed to start up again and told parents on Sunday.
Spring-Ford made the late change because of a jump in coronavirus cases in that area: Limerick, Upper Providence, Royersford. Pottsgrove told parents that too many staffers called out sick over the weekend, and they didn’t have enough support for hybrid learning.
“I recognize that changing our instructional model this late is challenging, upsetting, and stressful. There are no easy or 'right' decisions in this current environment.”
It goes to show that there are plenty of challenges for students, parents and teachers to face. Health and safety concerns lead to logistical issues, and plans can change quickly.
The Souderton School District is going back to all in-person learning.
“I am absolutely thrilled that my special needs son can go and get the education and therapies that he needs on Monday,” Souderton parent Kaitlin Derstine said to NBC 10.
Other districts, including Methacton and Perkiomen Valley, decided to stick with all-virtual for at least another week.
“I feel that I am in the most control of their situation because I am not having to be concerned with how other people handle themselves outside of school,” Perkiomen Valley parent Diana Maginn said in an interview with NBC 10.
Districts that do open buildings up for students again must follow tighter state regulations that were instituted in late November.
The state Department of Education said districts in counties where there is “substantial transmission” for two weeks must submit forms attesting to their compliance with masking and other mitigation efforts in order to offer any in-person learning. Closures, for two weeks, would also be triggered based on the number of positive cases and the school size.
In a statement, the department said all of the districts in the 63 counties with a high transmission rate submitted the form.