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UPSD Remains on Track for Hybrid Opening
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            The Upper Perkiomen School Board remains on track to hold in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Administrators continue their preparations to welcome back students in a hybrid model.

            Students in grades one through 12, choosing to participate, will attend school two days a week. They will participate in 100 percent synchronous virtual learning two days a week. Kindergarten students will report four days a week, according to information posted on the district's website.

            During regular weeks, each school in the district will be closed on Wednesday to allow for deep cleaning. Information regarding reconfigured teacher adjustments and schedules was slated to be disseminated Friday, Jan. 8, according to Superintendent Allyn Roche.

            "I want to let everyone know this is the plan," he said during the Jan. 7 regular board meeting, hosted on Zoom and held in the middle school auditorium. "This is what we've been working towards."

            Assistant Superintendent Andrea Farina asked families and staff to follow the protocols identified in the district's health and safety plan. She explained the importance of self-diagnosing for symptoms related to the novel coronavirus.

            According to Farina, students and staff will be required to wear masks at all times and utilize hand sanitizer. She said that the district will follow Montgomery County's exclusion standards with fidelity.

            The district is responsible for identifying positive coronavirus cases, contact tracing and quarantining, according to Farina. She said the administrators feel confident in utilizing the system they have implemented.

            The administrator asked parents not to send sick children to school. Farina also emphasized that everyone needs to be open and honest. She identified flexibility and patience as the keys to success.  "Please be kind," the assistant superintendent said. "We are going to over-communicate. We are excited about seeing the kids back on campus."

            According to Roche, the district expects to soon have additional information on its participation in a rapid antigen testing program with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He said the North Penn and Lower Moreland districts are piloting the volunteer program this week.

            The superintendent told the audience that the 15-minute test, which includes a nasal swab, would help keep ill students out of buildings and expedite their access to a more advanced examination.

            Teachers in the district could receive the COVID-19 vaccination by early February through a voluntary program conducted by Montgomery County Health Department, according to Roche. He said the district's nurses will be eligible to receive the shot through a program with St. Luke's Medical Center.

            Member Raeann Hokfin did not participate in the meeting.






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