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January 13, 2021 - Important Message Regarding CASD Virtual Learning

Dear CASD families,

A motion was made and approved at the January 12, 2021 Regular School Board Meeting to continue virtual instruction for all CASD students through the end of the third marking period with students returning to in-person instruction on March 29, 2021. Please understand that this decision was not made lightly, and is due to a number of factors and conditions as outlined below:

  • Local Conditions and Impact on Instructional Staff:
    • Confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the district causes staffing difficulties due to the need to quarantine both students and teachers. The Pennsylvania Department of Health, together with CASD, conducts contact tracing that often results in multiple staff members being quarantined and unable to provide in-person instruction. The low availability of substitute teachers compounds the issue. In November, these measures resulted in many CASD schools being forced into virtual education due to lack of staffing capability.
    • The Chambersburg area continues to experience a significant spike of COVID-19 cases. Based on data from the PA Department of Health, Franklin County has the 13th highest incident rate of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents of all counties in PA. Additionally, Franklin County has had a continual designation of “substantial” community transmission since 10/30/20.
  • Educational Consistency: With the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on families, educational consistency for students has become increasingly important. While full virtual instruction is not ideal, we have seen first hand the incredible resilience of both our students and staff as they have settled into a normal routine of logging on, attending virtual meetings, and completing assignments.

Please note the following important reminders as we continue all virtual instruction:

  • Students will continue to log in using District provided Chromebooks following their virtual instruction schedule as outlined by their teacher. If you have any questions, please contact your school building directly.
  • Meals will continue to be provided as outlined by the CASD food services department on their meal pick up page.
  • Athletics and graded co-curricular activities will be allowed to continue.

The health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. The administration and the school board will together continually assess the data regarding COVID-19 within the District and provide updates via monthly School Board Meetings accordingly.

We are examining the social and emotional well-being of our students. A student and parent survey will be forthcoming to help us gather information on how to better assist our CASD families.

Our sincere desire remains to bring students and staff back to in-person instruction as soon as it is safe to do so. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to your building principal or myself.

Sincerely,

Dr. Dion Betts
Superintendent of Schools
Chambersburg Area School District