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CVSD Unveils COVID Dashboard; Approves New Courses

Conewago Valley School District Superintendent Dr. Christopher S. Rudisill introduced the school district’s updated website and COVID-19 tracking information to the school board on Monday evening.

The website now has a dashboard with information about the novel coronavirus. It includes updates on the number of cases of COVID-19, with the ramifications of the numbers listed. Other documents and a link to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and its FAQ regarding schools are also included.

Rudisill said the number of confirmed, presumed and probable COVID-19 cases will be updated each day between 3:30-4 p.m.

“This is important that people know that this is here,” he said. 

One document included on the dashboard is the attestation form that districts across Pennsylvania had to sign, each choosing one of two options: stay open and follow state guidelines, or go fully remote until the county has two weeks in a row of moderate transmission.

“When we chose Option 1, one of the things that happened was we now need to to adhere to certain regulations, and one of those regulations that you find on here is these numbers,” Rudisill said. “These numbers play an important role. In order for us to stay open, we have to have less than three cases happen between staff and students on a rolling, 14 day basis.”

Because its in-person enrollment is higher, the high school must have less than five cases in the same time period in order to remain open. If a school exceeds those maximums, it must close for up to 14 days depending on the criteria noted on the dashboard.

Rudisill warned that if a school is shut down due to meeting the maximum number of cases, there will be little warning. The dashboard can give the community an idea of whether the schools are close to meeting that number, though a daily jump in disease numbers is also possible.

The superintendent said that the district can switch to using Edlio to manage the website, adding that grants will cover the initial $9,000 in charges. As it would also replace Skyward, the funds for Skyward would be applied to the annual cost of using Edlio.

Winter Athletics

The board heard updates from Rudisill on the new guidelines for winter athletics [editor’s note: Recent state mandates prohibit sports in public schools until Jan. 4].

Student athletes will receive two passes for home events held in the high school’s gym. Guests will be required to wear a mask and social distance from people they do not live with. The district does not plan to charge admission to the events.

Guests will not be allowed in the middle school gym given its smaller capacity, but a livestream will be offered of home games. The district hopes to move some middle school games to the high school gym to allow for limited guests to attend, but did not immediately name any dates.

No guests will be allowed at tournaments.

New Courses Approved

The board also approved six new courses proposed by Jennifer Snyder and Amanda Sipe. Two science courses, Forensic Science and Wilderness Survival and Sustainability, were approved. Four language arts courses were also approved: Technical English, AP Literature and Composition, Multicultural Literature and Creative Communications I.

Snyder told the board that many students are interested in pursuing jobs in criminal justice, making the forensic science course one that would draw students. A grant would pay for the necessary supplies. The survival course would get students outside and away from their devices, she said.

Sipe said that the proposed technical English and the AP literature and composition courses would replace English courses while the others would be elective, shorter “skinny” courses in smaller time blocks.

The board recognized several students for various accomplishments including winning scholarships, placing in essay contests, gaining acceptance to colleges and more.

It also accepted a $2,000 donation from Conewago Enterprises to be used to purchase thermometers for use in district buildings.

The board held its annual reorganization meeting, re-electing Edward Goft as the board president and Jeffrey Kindschuh as the vice-president. Lori Duncan was named the Earned Income Tax Collection Agency representative.

The next regular public meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11. To view videos of the meetings, visit the district’s YouTube channel.

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Imari Scarbrough is a freelance journalist. She was a staff newspaper reporter for five years before becoming a freelancer in 2017. She has written on crime, environmental issues, severe weather events, local and regional government and more.

You can visit her website at ImariJournal.com.

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