Upper Adams School District (UASD) will be following updated guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to Superintendent Wesley Doll.
Doll presented updates and guidelines regarding district health procedures at the school board’s regular meeting Tuesday.
Looking at recommendations from local health facilities as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Health, moving forward, anyone who tests positive is to be isolated for five days, regardless of vaccination status, he said.
The previous recommendation from the CDC was 10-day isolation.
If symptoms improve or are asymptomatic after five days, isolation may be broken, but a mask must be worn around others until day 10.
Those unable to wear a mask will continue to isolate themselves for 10 days, Doll said.
COVID-19 exposure will continue to follow district protocols of watching for symptoms ten days after the last close contact with someone with COVID.
The district continues to monitor symptoms as they come up and as of Tuesday, the school district website has 17 positive cases and 35 quarantine cases.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health and other health officials recommend vaccination and boosters for everyone over the age of five.
“This is a parent and individual choice, it is not district mandated,” Doll said.
Doll described the sense of anxiety as an administrator first thing in the morning on a school day, anticipating if there would be enough teacher and nurse coverage.
“All of us have been working extremely hard for over two years now, this has been extremely stressful,” he said.
Doll acknowledged that he was not a trained medical doctor and “As an administrator, trying to work through and navigate all the tentacles of this is very challenging.”
Doll noted that administration has quietly handled as much as possible so teachers can maintain a consistent schedule for students.
“These are challenging times and we’re seeing it from all sides,” he said.
Doll credited parents for keeping sick students home as helping ensure the district stays open.
“Because there is so much sickness that we’re seeing during the winter months, it’s just an added precaution, if you’re able to keep them home please do so,” Doll said, noting that it can be a “guessing game.”
“I think the community has really stepped forward to help out the administration, the teachers and everybody else,” Board President Tom Wilson.
Doll expressed heartfelt gratitude to teachers and nurses who have all “gone above and beyond.”
School nurses and substitute teachers are extremely difficult to find, and the UASD is grateful for good working relationships with other districts as UASD has had to desperately reach out for alternative personnel.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it, if there are no nurses in the school district available to administer student medicine, or enough teachers to cover classrooms, the schools would have to shut down.
Those with applicable qualifications and credentials are encouraged to reach out with an application to assist the district.
UASD administrators are doing what they can with the resources and personnel they have each day.
“We’re trying to do any and all things to keep our schools open for in-person instruction,” Doll said.
In other business it was noted, the success of UASD’s Canner Fund has grown exponentially at the most recent Adams County Community Foundation Giving Spree, according to school board treasurer Susan Crouse.
Since 2010, UASD’s Canner Fund has raised funding to support the students each year through experiences that would otherwise be unlikely or impossible.
In 2020, the Canner Fund raised $17,000 and donations leaped to $33,201 in 2021, Crouse said.
“We are grateful to all of our donors who have come forward to support the Canner Fund who help us support the district,” she said.
“Hear, hear,” Wilson said, “Thanks to those who have supported the Canner Fund over the years, especially in this last year.”
UASD’s next regular school board meeting will be held February 15.