Selinsgrove became the latest school district to have a positive COVID-19 case when Superintendent Frank Jankowski announced a confirmed case at the middle school.
According to a letter sent to school district families, a middle school student showed symptoms at school on Thursday morning and was sent home.
"When it doubt, please have your child(ren) who are exhibiting symptoms remain home until they are not exhibiting any symptoms or have received a negative COVID-19 test result," Jankowski wrote Tuesday.
Since schools began returning to class on Aug. 24, there have been positive cases confirmed at Danville, Shikellamy, Selinsgrove and Mount Carmel school districts.
Students in one kindergarten classroom in Danville were sent home today due to a positive coronavirus case, school officials said in an alert sent to parents.
According to the message, the administration sent students home from one classroom at the Danville Primary School as a "precautionary measure." The message said the district is "waiting for more specific guidance from the Department of Health."
The move comes the same day Danville Area High School students will have a virtual learning day Tuesday, following a second high school student testing positive for COVID-19.
Superintendent Ricki Boyle announced the change Monday night in a notice to parents and students.
"After analyzing and considering the impact of the two coronavirus cases at the Danville High School, we have decided to make Tuesday, September 8 a virtual learning day at the high school only," Boyle wrote. "Students will be expected to check into each of their Google classrooms and complete and turn in assignments (Tuesday). On Wednesday the building will be moving to a hybrid model. Students with last names starting with A to L will be Group A, those with last names beginning with M to Z, will be Group B.
"We will be observing an every other day schedule beginning with Group A on Wednesday and Group B on Thursday this week," she wrote. "This schedule will be in place minimally through September 18th. An update with future scheduling will be provided by the end of the day on September 17th."
The district's three other schools are open today.
Boyle announced earlier on Monday that she and high school Principal Jeremy Winn were working with state Department of Health (DOH) personnel on the situation, and she planned to meet with administrators this morning to finalize a plan and prepare if changes are warranted.
Boyle said the second student was in direct contact with the first student, who tested positive outside of school, and a test came back positive on the second student.
Danville schools opened on Thursday after delaying the start of the year by a week.
Boyle said custodial staff cleaned the building on Friday after school hours and were scheduled to disinfect and sanitize the entire building again on Monday.
“Part of what we are doing is looking at how we move forward,” the superintendent said. “According to DOH, once we hit 5 cases in a building we need to consider making changes, but that does not mean we cannot adjust our model of instruction with fewer cases.”
Danville Area was the latest school district in the Valley to report an active case of the virus when it reported its first case on Saturday. Mount Carmel Area and Shikellamy also reported positive cases.
Mount Carmel, which reported its fifth positive COVID-19 case, announced Thursday it would shift to all virtual instruction until Sept. 17. All of the district’s extracurricular and athletic events are canceled through Friday.
According to a release, district officials said both the DOH and the state Department of Education recommended full closure of in-person instruction for two weeks, “based on data, protocols, established metrics, and the potential for community spread.”
The release stated the district and the DOH would assess community spread over the two weeks. School officials said if cases are controlled over the next two weeks, in-person classes can resume Sept. 18.
Shikellamy had one positive case, Superintendent Jason Bendle said.
“The student was in homeroom on Tuesday and sent home at approximately 7:30 a.m. due to feeling sick,” Bendle said.
He said the student was not in the district buildings on Monday. School officials were contacting families of students who may have been in the same homeroom, the superintendent said.
“The student is not involved in extracurricular activities or athletics this year,” Bendle said. “Our health professionals and administration are working with the Department of Health through the process.”
Boyle said that while the Danville district cannot enforce what happens outside of school, teachers are reporting that all students are wearing their masks and are distanced in the classrooms.
“I am very proud of our teachers and students and the fact that the majority are taking this virus seriously.”
She said the district’s priority is to keep our students and staff safe.
“We need the families to continue to do the home screening every morning before sending their children to school,” Boyle said. “This is the best way we can minimize the virus in the schools. No one can do anything when the individual is asymptomatic, but we need to keep trying.”