In an effort to continue to safely educate students in the school district while providing options for parents, new guidelines to the Upper Adams School District (UASD) health and safety policy were presented by Superintendent Wesley Doll Tuesday.
“We have to find a balance on how to live and educate students with COVID-19 in our community, state, and nation while keeping our schools safe for all students and all staff,” Doll said.
Updates to UASD class quarantine guidelines were presented stating quarantine was no longer required for the entire class after possible exposure unless symptomatic.
Parents will be notified of a positive COVID-19 case and will have the option to quarantine or send the asymptomatic child to school, Doll said.
The spreading of COVID-19 has been seen strongly through families as opposed to through schools so quarantining asymptomatic students due to possible exposure from a symptomatic family member “is working well,” according to Doll.
“Quarantine will continue with households having positive COVID-19 cases,” he said.
Doll will continue to meet with school nurses for their expertise and together monitor cases daily.
“If anomalies arise that make instruction challenging, we need to keep the possibility of full class closure as an option, but it won’t be the first line of our mitigation strategy,” Doll said.
Vaccinated students who are appropriately wearing masks and do not have symptoms, “Should not need to quarantine if exposed during the school day,” he said.
Doll reiterated the school district has no control over mandating vaccines and masking will continue until the mandate ends.
“We need to learn how to live with this and not hide from it because it’s not going away,” Board President Tom Wilson said.
In other business, financial updates regarding Fiscal Year 2021 were provided by Business Administrator Shelley Hobbs.
Developing the Fiscal Year 2021 budget was right on the cusp of the beginning of COVID-19, so the financial staff had to deal with projections changing daily at a state level, she said.
The Fiscal Year 2021 budget was approved by the school board in June 2020 with a zero-tax increase using $636,840 from the fund balance.
Grand total revenues for the Fiscal Year 2021 budget totaled 30,926,750 and grand total expenses totaled $30,453,045.
The overall district Fiscal Year 2021 fund balance was currently $7,680,905.
As work moves forward in building the budget for next year, “We should keep in mind we are dealing with big numbers, and we should continue to ask good questions of the administration,” Wilson said.
The budget timeline includes presenting Fiscal Year 2022 status updates by January 4, as well as adopting a resolution by Jan. 18.
The school district will next meet for a regular board meeting Dec. 7 and a reorganizational meeting Dec. 17.
A.L. Grabenstein, reporter, is a graduate of Philadelphia's La Salle University with a B.A in Communication and has been a journalist since 2016. She has reported for the Gettysburg Times and the Times Herald in Norristown, PA. Grabenstein moved to Gettysburg from Montgomery County in 2019. She was born in San Antonio, TX., and previously lived in Virginia, and North Carolina. Grabenstein is actively involved in the borough of Gettysburg and loves giving voices to the local community.