COVID-19 Response and Information

COVID-19 Daily Tracking at BASD.  3 cases in the high school, 2 case in the middle school and 5 cases in the elementary school. 10 cases district-wide for Tuesday November 30, 2021.

Click the image above to download the current statistics for November 30, 2021
.

UPDATES

The Federal, State and Local responses to the COVID-19 / corona virus are very fluid.  The District is attempting to provide clear and concise information to our Community, Families and Employees.

This dedicated page will be our main method of disseminating information.  We will follow up these notifications on social media and our other messaging tools as appropriate and as dictated by the situation. Please check this page often for updates.


2021-11-30

Pennsylvania Schools Must Maintain Masks


Pennsylvania schools must maintain masking orders until the PA Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Dec. 8. This latest ruling overturns a Commonwealth Court decision that lifted masking guidelines on Dec. 4.
 
Issued 11/30/21 
https://www.pacourts.us/Storage/media/pdfs/20211130/164911-nov.30,2021-order.pdf



District Response to the PA Supreme Court Order

November 30, 2021
 
Dear Parents and Guardians: 

You may recall, that on December 4, 2021, the masking order was to be lifted and 
school districts were to enact their individual safety plans. 

This afternoon, school districts across the state heard from the Supreme Court of 
Pennsylvania Middle District that the masking order will be in place until the Supreme 
Court hears the appeal argument on December 8, 2021. Therefore, students, 
employees and visitors must wear masks until the courts rule otherwise. 

We appreciate your understanding as we navigate these ever changing and difficult 
waters. Please see the District website for further information. 
Sincerely,
 
Thomas R. Mclnroy, Ed.D. 
Superintendent 

A downloadable version of this letter is available (here) and in the document archive below.


2021-09-20

Parent and Community Letter Regarding Masks

September 20, 2021

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community,

Since the start of the school year, the District has worked hard to implement a Safety Plan that was created by Bellwood employees that would preserve safety measures while providing parents a choice as to whether their children would wear a mask or not. The School Board and Administration respect the sentiments on both sides of the masking issue. The Board listened diligently on September 7th and 14th to parent concerns. As a result of those meetings the District has added a COVID tracker and we have made our local legislators, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Governor aware of the District’s position on the masking mandate.

As Superintendent, I have attended several meetings concerning the legitimacy of the mask mandate and have heard from several different authorities such as Pennsylvania School Boards Association and Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, as well as several attorneys. All confirm that there is legal authority for this mandate, and if ignored, would expose the School District and the School Board to significant liability. In addition, our insurance carrier has stated that they would drop insurance coverage for the School District leaving the District exposed to lawsuits and fines. There are several legal challenges which have been filed. However, the District cannot legally ignore the order from the Secretary of Health while these legal challenges are processed by the Courts.

It is important to note that the School Board members are unpaid and when they are elected to their positions, have sworn an oath to uphold all laws of the Commonwealth and the nation. This does not permit the School Board to pick and choose which laws they wish to enforce and which laws to ignore. The School Board has been clear that they do not agree with the mask mandate and wish to reinstate the local Safety Plan. However, they do not have the ability to do so without serious repercussions. Therefore, the School Board asks for your understanding, help and support by sending a respectful and professional correspondence to the Governor, acting Secretary of the Department of Health, Alison Beam, and our local legislators, expressing your concerns with the mask mandate.

The Board agrees that the mask mandate is not appropriate for the Bellwood-Antis School District and will seek a resolution through proper channels. Our hope is to return the focus on the importance of education in the classroom and we ask you to help us with this endeavor through your correspondence to the appropriate individuals at the state level.
Sincerely,

Thomas R. McInroy, Ed.D.
Superintendent

A downloadable version of this letter can be found below in the document library or at the link (here).


2021-09-10

COVID-19 Daily Statistics Available

Daily statistics can be found at the top of the Update Page.  Click on the chart above to download a copy of the statistics.  Prior daily statistics will be available in the document library at the bottom of the page in the COVID-19 Statistics by Day folder and arranged by ISO formatted (YYYY-MM-DD) date.

Data is compiled at 12:00 PM Daily (M-F) and posted by the end of the school day. 


2021-09-06

Universal Masking Letter to Parents - Additional Information

September 6, 2021


Dear Parents and Guardians,


This past week has been extremely upsetting and challenging for all of us.  I appreciate all of the phone calls, emails, and support.  As a community, we have been thrown into an impossible situation, but in typical Bellwood fashion, you have heard what all districts are required to do and have supported our district, even though you may not agree with Governor Wolf’s mandates.  I have appreciated the professionalism and understanding that you have shown.  

There are many different viewpoints on the Governor’s and DOH’s mask orders.  No matter how you feel about this order there have been similar questions asked by both sides.  I would like to take a moment and review the events that have recently transpired.  Also, I have included a Frequently Asked Questions section to help clarify what is happening and what to expect in the near future.

Last school year, the district worked hard to develop a safe educational setting that provided the greatest flexibility to parents while providing the best education possible.  March of 2020 saw the abrupt end to traditional education as we were forced to close school and teach lessons remotely, spring sports ended, prom was cancelled, and there was a significantly different graduation ceremony.  The 2020-2021 school year offered Face-to-Face instruction with a virtual option, the return of extra-curricular activities with significant restrictions, social distancing while in school, and masking.  

The District School Board, Administration, Faculty, and Staff have worked hard this summer to make safe decisions for our students return to school.  This plan focused on safety and parent choice regarding mask wearing.  This was not an easy task as I mentioned in the September 1, 2021 information letter.  At that time, the Governor stated several times that districts had “local control” to make the best decisions about education as we knew what was best for our children.  On Tuesday, that was all changed.  We are now faced with another challenge to educate our children with masks.  This was not the decision of the School Board or the Administration.  However, we are required to enforce this mandate. 
   
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the district required to follow the Department of Health Mask Order?

A: Yes, our solicitor and insurance carrier have advised us that we must follow the Department of Health’s order at this time.  There are significant penalties for the district as well as district employees and School Board Members personally for non-compliance. 

 
Q: What are the penalties for non-compliance of the Dept. of Health Order?

A: According to information provided by the state Department of Education, failing to enforce the school mask mandate could lead to lawsuits, fines and, potentially jail time under the Disease Prevention and Control Act of 1955, with personal liability under 42 Pa.C.S. 8850 (willful misconduct). That statute states that an employee of a local agency like a school district would lose sovereign immunity if there is an injury caused by an act of the employee that constitutes “a crime, actual fraud, actual malice or willful misconduct.” 


Q: Is there an exemption form that parents/guardians can submit?
A: Yes.  At this time, the only exemption that is permissible is a medical exemption.  This note must be signed by a doctor or mental health provider.

Exemption available below and linked (here)

 
Q: How long do I have to get a doctor or mental health provider to sign the exemption form?

A: If you believe that your child qualifies for a medical exemption, please complete the form and email it to your child’s principal immediately.  Upon submission, you will have five school days to submit a signed doctor’s note verifying the need for exemption.

  
Q: Last school year, the district offered a virtual option.  Will that option be available this year?

A: We started this school year without the virtual option as we believe that face-to-face, in person learning is the best educational delivery system and there was a choice for wearing a mask.  However, if we see our positive COVID cases increase, we will consider reinstituting the virtual option.


Q: What happens if I will not let my child wear a mask?

A: If a student does not have a mask, they will be sent to the principal’s office and provided one.  If they refuse to wear a mask, they will be sent to a location within the school where they can socially distance.  If a student continually refuses to wear a mask, the same disciplinary process that was in place last school year will be utilized and which is outlined in the student handbook.  This includes, but not limited to being sent home and detention.  Remember, the district is not happy about this order either, the state government has placed us in this situation.  The School Board is working on a resolution in an effort to reverse the mandate.



As we have done in the past, we will work through the challenges that have been thrust upon us together.  We promise to be as accommodating as possible with mask breaks.  We also promise to do our best to make this school year the best that it can possibly be.  

Respectfully,

Thomas McInroy Ed. D.
Superintendent



2021-09-02

Universal Masking Letter to Parents

September 2, 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Earlier this year Bellwood-Antis School District made the decision (Parent Choice) that was the best for our community based on what the Governor had called “local control”. On Tuesday, the Governor took this out of our hands and issued a mandate through the PA Department of Health.  We understand some of you may disagree with the mandate, but we have no choice but to follow an Order from the Department of Health.

On Tuesday, September 7th, all students, teachers, and other employees are required to wear masks while indoors.  

- Students who do not have a mask, will be given a mask and asked to wear it.  If they refuse to wear the mask, they will be subject to progressive disciplinary action that is outlined in the hand book. This is the same disciplinary process that was administered last year.

Here is the penalty for school district officials for not enforcing the mask order:

“Failure to implement or follow the Order may subject a person to penalties under the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 and exposure to personal liability.”

Please take a moment to review the links below concerning masks.
If you feel your child qualifies for an exception in the mandate, please submit a written request to your building principal.

Order Signed by the Department of Health

- (Accommodations and exceptions listed here)
FAQs concerning Masks

I recognize this announcement will be met with relief in some quarters and anger in others. I further understand that proponents and opponents alike will feel frustration that it comes as the school year is already underway. These decisions are very fluid, and can change daily, we will do our best to keep you informed of any changes.

Amid these challenges, I believe we all agree that our students’ long-term prospects depend on schools remaining open for full-time instruction. Our goal is to maximize the chances for regular school operations and minimize student and staff quarantines

We appreciate your help and support of the school district and we look forward to working with you during this school year. 
Sincerely,

Thomas R. McInroy, Ed. D.
Superintendent

2021-08-31

Universal Masking Mandate Announcement

The Department of Health order, released today, will take effect Tuesday, September 7 — the day after Labor Day — and will require students, teachers, staff, and visitors to wear masks when inside school facilities and childcare centers.  Some exceptions will apply, similar to the previous universal mask order.

Order of the Acting Secretary Directing Face Coverings in Schools

This order relates to all public schools including charter schools, CTE’s, private schools, Pre-Schools, Nursery Schools, Community Children Centers, and other pre-school facilities.

The order will be in effect until further notice.  DOH will monitor COVID-19 transmission rates and vaccination data on a periodic basis to determine when the order will be rescinded.

Districts do not have to change their Health and Safety Plan immediately but are encouraged to do so in the near future.  

PDE states that “This Order will help maximize the chances for regular school operations and minimize student and staff quarantines as the school year gets underway. The Order also acknowledges that face covering requirements can’t go on forever. The Administration will continue to evaluate community transmission rates, vaccination data, and other indicators, and will provide a comprehensive update to the education community by October 1, 2021, to inform decisions about the Order’s statewide application going ahead.

“To ensure as much consistency as possible, local implementation of the Order will reflect many of the standards that were in place throughout much of the 2020-21 school year, including a series of accommodations and exceptions detailed within the Order.

Answers to FAQs are also available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website. In a change from the 2020 Order and recognizing a steady accrual of evidence around disease transmission, face coverings are not required outdoors.”

Please note:  The ORDER from the Pennsylvania Department of Education supersedes our current local Health and Safety Plan, which will be amended accordingly to comply with this order.

2021-07-29


The Bellwood-Antis School District has posted the Health and Safety Plan for the upcoming school year.  Those guideline are linked [HERE] and in the document section below.



Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2021 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.