6/22/20 School Board Meeting Guide

Here are the main things I think you should know from last night’s East Penn School District board meeting:

Health & Safety Task Force Created

Re-opening the district’s schools as fully and safely as possible in the fall remains the central issue in board discussions. Two weeks ago, the administration presented a high-level overview of potential options. Now, the district has created a special health and safety task force to fill in details, consider other options, and make recommendations for a (state-mandated) Health & Safety Plan for re-opening this fall. The task force consists of district and school building leaders, a teacher, a board member, and several local health officials. This task force will now be meeting weekly, and plan to have initial ideas to present to the board next month. Watch this segment of the board meeting here.

(Modified) Block Scheduling at the High School Approved

Emmaus High School will replace it’s longstanding nine-period daily schedule with a modified four-period block schedule this fall. The high school’s program of study has been updated to reflect this change. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from parents and teachers about this new schedule. See my last meeting guide for a summary of the major elements of this modified block scheduling.

The district originally began exploring this new type of schedule in order to a) use the school day more efficiently, and b) better support a later daily start time for our middle and high schools. A plan for later start times is still being developed, but implementing this modified block scheduling was fast-tracked this year because it has the added benefit of helping the high school absorb pandemic-related budget cuts without increasing class sizes. (This is because it allows for more efficient use of teacher time during the school day.)

Athletics Safety Plan Approved

East Penn athletic programs will restart soon under a strict new safety plan designed to protect student athletes, coaches, parents, and the public during the pandemic. The plan was presented to the board by athletic director Becky George. It requires each athletic team to work through three different stages of safety precautions as they resume practices and games. Teams must spend at least fourteen days in each stage before being eligible to move to the next, less restrictive stage. These stages are not connected directly to the green-yellow-red phases implemented by PA state authorities, but the ability of team’s to move to less restrictive stages will depend on the overall status of the pandemic in the community. There was an extensive discussion of the plan at the meeting, which you can watch for yourself here. The plan itself is available here.

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