PENNCREST is experiencing a sharp jump in cases at the start of the new school year. In a separate letter sent out Monday, Glasspool said the school district has 70 laboratory-confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Once students and staff return to school next Monday, all will be required to wear masks as required under the Aug. 31 order from Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam unless they have a documented section 3.B exemption. This requirement extends to visitors to the school as well. “Last year, we had a total of 155 laboratory-confirmed positive COVID-19 cases,” Glasspool wrote. “We are on track to exceed this number by Halloween.”
Students are required to participate in virtual learning until the school is reopened, and must log into Google Classroom daily. Cambridge Springs students are not permitted to attend the Crawford County Career and Technical Center during the closure. The school has 405 students enrolled in grades seven through 12. It would take 29 cases to put the school above the 7 percent threshold.
In addition to the mounting cases, Superintendent Timothy Glasspool, in a letter announcing the closure, said there are two cases among students without “other identified epidemiological linkages,” and seven staff members who have either tested positive or are currently in quarantine. According to the school district, positive cases of COVID-19 have exceeded 7 percent of the total school population. Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines recommend an extended closure once cases exceed 5 percent over a 15-day period, and the decision to close the school was made after consultation with the department.
All members and staff of the Cambridge Springs Junior-Senior High School cheerleading and soccer teams who attended a Sept. 8 practice have been identified as close contacts to a positive COVID-19 case. Kylene Koper, principal of the school, announced the close contacts in another letter published on Monday. Glasspool said the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education have begun to push for “school exclusion” for people not complying with the masking order. He asked for “unity and cooperation” to keep instruction in-person for the rest of the school year.
“Masks and the lawfulness of face-coverings is contentious,” he wrote. “Sides are polarized and our students are caught in the middle. Regardless of personal, political, medical or legal beliefs, the district must continue to enforce this order.” The superintendent reminded parents that students, staff and visitors must all wear masks per the state order.
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