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LASD struggles with state Covid-19 guidelines and experiences few cases

The Littlestown Area School District Capital Building Project was moved forward by the school board at its regular meeting on Monday. The board authorized the LASD Administration and RLPS Architects to proceed with the consolidation of the secondary schools in alignment with the Feasibility Study. This would allow the administration to begin the consolidation of the Maple Avenue Middle School (MAMS) with the Littlestown High School to provide facilities that will house grades 6 through 12.

The LASD Board is working with the administration on this project for several years with input from the faculty, staff, and community and student focus groups to address the condition of the MAMS building and the need for upgrades throughout the two secondary buildings. Along with the approval for consolidation, the board voted to approve the AIA Standard Form Agreement with RLPS for the secondary school additions and renovations.

The renovations would include new heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems for the high school and its new additions. The project will not see a start date until mid-2023 with a completion date sometime in 2025. All renderings of the new buildings and other information is available to the public on the district website at https://www.lasd.k12.pa.us/page/renovation-projects.

Superintendent Christopher Bigger gave the board an update on COVID-19 in LASD. Overall, cases in the school district are minimal, as shown by the chart on this page.

Bigger said there will be a discussion held, and possibly a court ruling, in the case of the face mask order from the PA Department of Education on Nov. 30.

“We will update our Health and Safety Plan in December with the anticipated start in January, unless we hear otherwise,” said Bigger. He added that the PA D.O.E. is moving toward softer restrictions, whether that would be mask optional or less quarantining of students, staff, and faculty.

Bigger is the COVID whisperer of the LASD since March 2020 as he attempts to make sense of the directions given by three different entities.

“I must say it’s very challenging as a superintendent to watch three entities above you not get along and try to figure out what you are supposed to do between the Department of Health, the PA Department of Education, and the governor,” Bigger stated. “It’s all very frustrating. It depends on who you want to listen to. I’m not shy about airing that struggle right now, because it is the worst that I have ever seen it on getting direction and guidance on anything related to public education.”

Regarding personnel news, the LASD board welcomed back and approved Dr. Judith Berryman, who will be taking the position of Secondary Principal at LHS effective January 3, 2022, pending her clearances. Michelle Young was also approved as the new Athletic Director for the district effective November 29, 2021.

The next work session of the LASD Board will be held on December 6, 2021, at 6 p.m. and the next regular meeting will be held on December 13, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. in the board room at Alloway Creek Elementary School. The public is encouraged to attend.

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Christina Grim grew up in Shippensburg, PA, Franklin County, and graduated from Shippensburg Area High School. She is an experienced interviewer, researcher, and news reporter, having worked for the Shippensburg News-Chronicle as a staff reporter during college. Driven by the desire to know the facts and answers to today’s issues, she takes seriously the importance of providing the best reporting possible. Ms. Grim earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Messiah College and has worked in her field, either in print or radio/streamed media for the last 25 years. As a single mother, she has learned that the best things in life come from hard work and multi-tasking. She is the mother of two adult children and two cats

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