Superintendent Video Messages

Current Superintendent Message - Reopening

  • October 2, 2020

    Dear ELCO Families:

    We were informed today, Friday, October 2, 2020, that an individual employed by the District has tested positive for COVID-19.  While this individual has no contact with students as part of assigned job functions, this communication is provided in the spirit of transparency to our ELCO families. Following our approved Health and Safety Plan, we immediately consulted with the PA Department of Health and our school physician and have taken the appropriate actions to limit exposure of others to the virus. The individual who tested positive is currently isolating and staff who have been identified as having close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with them have been instructed to quarantine for 14 days.

     Due to privacy requirements, we cannot release the name of the individual or details that may identify the individual.  However, the individual will not return to work for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms. All potentially exposed spaces have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. We will continue to take the necessary steps to protect the health of our students and staff through our strict cleaning protocols.  

     We remind parents/guardians to review the Symptom Screening Tool prior to the start of each school day. If the tool indicates that your child should not attend school due to COVID-19 symptoms, please keep your child home and contact your primary care provider for further guidance. We would also appreciate a call or email to your child’s building nurse so that we can provide you with guidance regarding your child’s return to school. If a student begins to show symptoms during school, you will be contacted to pick him/her up immediately with a recommendation to contact your child’s primary care provider.

    Thank you to our ELCO families for your continued support and for maintaining open lines of communication with us. Together we can minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our school community.

    As always, please contact me if you have any questions. 


    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent



    September 4, 2020

    Good Afternoon ELCO Families!

    Week one to the 2020-2021 school year is in the books!  Above anything else, I want to THANK YOU for the encouragement you showed your child/ren as they returned to school, for your patience when ‘hiccups’ occurred this week, and for your support of our teachers as they began instructing in both in-person and live streaming modes.  Whether your child/ren joined us in person or online, THANK YOU for your support as we entered the new school year TOGETHER!

    Below are three important information items which I am introducing to you in my message today.  More information will be shared with you in the coming days from either your principal or me.

    REMINDER:  Learning Option Commitment due Friday, September 11

    As we enter into the second week of school, we want to thank our families as you have helped your child/ren transition into various learning environments. We appreciate the support you have provided for our students as they navigated the changes. The comments and suggestions that you continue to provide to us about these learning options will allow us to make changes that support our students.

    At this time, we are asking all families to finalize any changes to the selected learning options for each child. The deadline to submit a change to your child’s learning model is Friday, September 11, 2020. After this date, students will be expected to remain in the In-Person/Hybrid or Online Synchronous models until the end of the first marking period (November 4). For students in the Virtual Academy, students will be expected to remain as part of the Virtual Academy until the end of the first semester (January 26).

    If you wish to request a change to your child’s learning model, please contact the school building in which your child would attend. If you do not wish to make a change and want to remain in the current learning option, you do not need to take any further action.

    Of course, we will continue to constantly monitor conditions in our community and county and will proceed accordingly based on guidance from the county and state.  Any changes to our instructional plans will be communicated with you.

    *NEW* USDA Waiver:  FREE MEALS for ALL ELCO Students through December

    The District received news this week that thanks to a waiver extension by the US Department of Agriculture, all students will receive free meals through the ELCO cafeteria until the end of December. Effective immediately, students who purchase a school breakfast or lunch will not be charged for the meal. Student accounts will continue to be charged for ala carte items.

    Additionally, beginning the week of September 14, the District will be offering meals to students learning at home via the Online Synchronous and Virtual Academy learning options. Middle and High School students in the hybrid learning model will continue to have the opportunity to take meals home for days they are not in school.  For more information about these opportunities and registration information please go to the Announcement section of the ELCO Nutrition/Food Services site HERE.

    September 2:  Updated Guidance from the Governor Regarding Sports/Athletic Events

    It has been great to see our students preparing to enter the fall season, and we look forward to scrimmages, games and performances starting very soon!  Thankfully, our student-athletes and marching band will have the opportunity to play and perform this fall!

    Earlier this week, Governor Wolf released updated guidance surrounding athletic events which can be found HERE.  The Governor’s latest guidance states, “all sports-related activities must adhere to the gathering limitations which includes 25 or fewer people for indoor activity and 250 or fewer people for outdoor activity, and the facility as a whole may not exceed 50 percent of total occupancy otherwise permitted by law.  All individuals present at the facility at which such activities are held count toward gathering limitation (25 indoor/250 outdoor) and must comply with the face covering order and social distancing guidelines.”

    To adhere to the Governor’s Plan for indoor events for no more than 25 attendees, our volleyball games will take place in our gym with no spectators in order to accommodate the players from both teams, the coaches, game workers, and the officials.

    To adhere to the Governor’s Plan for outdoor events for no more than 250 attendees, we are working on a plan to accommodate as many attendees while remaining compliant to the Governor’s Plan.  More information outlining our procedures will be shared in the coming days in time for the scheduled scrimmages, games and performances.

    Keeping the Governor’s Plan for restricted attendance in mind, we are finalizing how we will livestream and/or record both indoor and outdoor events/performances for posting on the website.  While we are finalizing that process, I respectfully ask for your patience.  We want to ensure that we are considering all options and maximizing viewership of events in the best way possible. The details on how to access the livestreamed event and/or the recording will be shared in a future correspondence.

    While these are not the ideal conditions we had hoped for as we begin the fall season, we are thrilled that our student athletes and marching band will have the opportunity to play and perform!  However, in order for the games and performances to continue, we must comply with Governor Wolf’s orders.  Failure to do so puts us at risk of having our students’ seasons end and/or having sanctions levied against the school district.  As we have seen over the past six months, orders have changed; this is the most up-to-date information available at this time.  We appreciate the community’s cooperation and understanding as we move forward.

    May you enjoy the long holiday weekend!

    We remain #ELCOstrong and #ELCOtogether!

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent

Archived Superintendent Messages

  • August 4, 2020

    Dear ELCO Families:

    In my last communication to you, I indicated that the Instructional Plan would be presented to the School Board on August 3, 2020 for approval. I am happy to report that the Instructional Plan was approved and the 2020-21 learning options for students were finalized. We now turn to our families to provide us with a final decision regarding the instructional choice they are making for each of their children.

    We ask that you take the time to review the Learning Options Overview. This document outlines each of the learning options available to students for the 2020-21 school year. The ELCO options include In- Person/Hybrid Learning, Online Synchronous Learning, and ELCO Virtual Academy.  Each of these options are detailed in the Learning Options Overview document.  Elementary students who participate in the In-Person/Hybrid option will attend school in person five days a week. Secondary students who participate in the In-Person/Hybrid option will attend school in person two days a week. Please note that students in grades 6ththrough 12th who have IEPs will be provided the option and are encouraged to physically attend school on all in-person student days (every day except Wednesday).  Parents of a student with an IEP will receive a separate communication in the coming week to indicate their preference.

    When you have made a decision on which learning option is right for your child, please indicate your choice by completing the 2020 Reopening Commitment Form by August 12, 2020. (Important note:  the date in the mailed letter requests information by August 10; this was changed to provide two more days since the letter was just sent in the US Mail on Tuesday. We are aware it is taking a couple extra days for mail to be received.)  This form, as well as others, are now easily completed within PowerSchool.  While you are strongly encouraged to complete these forms on PowerSchool a hard copy has been mailed via US Mail as well. If you do not currently have a PowerSchool parent account for your child, access codes are included in the mailing which you will receive this week. PowerSchool forms are not accessible via the PowerSchool app and must be completed via a web browser.

    Review the directions HERE to complete the following forms:

    1. 2020 Reopening Commitment Form: After reviewing the available instructional options, please complete this form. You will be asked to choose one of the outlined instructional options for your child, provide information on your internet connection, and indicate your intention regarding transportation needs.  Please complete this form for each child as soon as possible but no later than Wednesday, August 12, 2020.
    2. Mass Notification Updates­: Please update this form with your most current contact information so that you will continue to receive District and building updates via phone, email, and text.  You may update this form at any time during the school year if your contact information changes.
    3. Yearly Student Updates: This section includes several forms to update regarding student demographics, emergency contacts, and medical information. Please take the time to update them prior to the start of the school year.

    As previously mentioned, you will also receive this information via US Mail in the event that you are unable to complete the forms via PowerSchool. We do ask that they are completed via PowerSchool if at all possible.

    If you have additional questions, please refer to the Reopening ELCO webpage which provides resources for families and staff.  As we develop District-wide plans and procedures, that information will be posted to this page and it will be continually updated with additional resources, fact sheets, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Additional questions can be addressed to the following email:

    Thank you for your continued support as we move toward the start of the 2020-21 school year, #ELCOtogether.

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent




    August 2, 2020

    Good Afternoon ELCO Families!

    I hope you’re enjoying a great weekend and continue to be safe and healthy!  As we continue to work on our plans for a safe return to in person learning, below are a few updates:

    New Video:  A new video posted to the Reopening ELCO webpage.  The video which can be accessed HERE provides a general overview to the Instructional Plan for the reopening of school.  Next week, three separate video segments will post to the website; the videos will explain each learning option in more detail to assist you as you decide on the best option for your child/ren.

    Instructional Plan:  On Monday night, August 3, the Instructional Plan will be presented to the School Board for their approval.  The presentation will give much more detail to what was shared in the Instructional Plan video on the Reopening ELCO webpage.  Please note that under the Governor’s Mitigation Order, school activities and gatherings not related to education instruction that are held indoors are limited to no more than 25 people.  This Order applies to School Board meetings, and the ELCO School Board is following this Order.  The public is welcome to join the School Board meeting by using the zoom link found on the District webpage or the link can be accessed here:

    Letter/Email:  Early in the week you will receive an email from me and a hard copy of that information will be sent via the US postal service.  The information sent will contain details for each learning option, a chart with questions to help you decide which is the best learning option for your child/ren, a form regarding reliable internet access, information for a parent Power School log in if you do not have one, and a demographic form for each of your children.  You will have the choice to complete the paper copies of the forms OR you can complete them electronically.  You will be asked to commit to one of the learning options and indicate your final decision about using bussing transportation.  If you have questions about any of the options, please contact your child’s principal; we will work with you to help you identify the best learning option for your child/ren.

    Finally, with the first day of school happening later this month, you will begin to receive an increased amount of communication from your child’s/ren’s principal/s to assist you with your plans for the reopening of school.  We have received questions about what the reopening will specifically look like in each building such as entry into the building, where will students go upon arrival to school each day, how will breakfast and lunch time be handled and other questions such as this. Our principals are working on those plans to share with you.  We know it will be very important for you to have that information before the start of school for you to share with your children.

    As we move forward toward the opening of the new school year we will remain #ELCOtogether.

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent



    July 17, 2020

    Dear ELCO Families,

    Earlier this week, I shared that a second survey would be sent to our ELCO families today.  This survey which can be found here contains specific questions about your current intentions for your child’s/children’s return to school in the fall based on your thinking right now.  The survey will remain open until Sunday, July 26.  Please know, the answers you provide will NOT lock you into your final decisions for the 2020-2021 school year.  However, your answers to the survey questions will be a tremendous help to our continued planning for the reopening of school, and I encourage you to complete the survey.

    Another survey will be sent in early August which will provide explanations of the instructional options available to your child/ren; we will ask for your intentions at that time for your child’s/ren’s return to school.   We are currently working on the instructional plan and will present an overview of the instructional plan during the August 3, 2020 School Board meeting.

    On Wednesday, July 15, the Draft Health and Safety Plan was presented to the School Board.  That plan along with the power point presentation can be found on the Reopening ELCO web page.  The Draft Health and Safety Plan provides an overview of the plans for our return to school and includes guidelines for cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting and ventilating learning areas/buildings, social distancing, monitoring student and staff health, as well as the use of face coverings and more.  More specific building-based procedures will be sent to you from your child’s principal/s in August and closer to the beginning of the school year so you and your child/ren know what to expect upon our return.  Of course, all of our plans are subject to any changes in directives from state officials.

    If you have questions or feedback after reviewing the Draft Health and Safety Plan, please send your comments/questions to  We will use feedback and questions received to revise the Plan.  On August 3, a revised Health and Safety Plan will be presented to the School Board for their approval consideration.  If new orders are issued by the Governor, the Department of Health and/or the Pennsylvania Department of Education which warrants revisions to the Health and Safety Plan, the Plan will be revised and presented again to the School Board for their approval consideration; in essence, the Plan is a ‘living document’ which will change in accordance to guidance from state officials.  Finally, the latest overview of the new Public Health Guidance Regarding COVID-19 for the Phased Reopening of Schools is posted to the Reopening ELCO webpage; this guidance was released on Thursday, July 16, 2020.

    Thank you for your continued support and patience as we move through this time.  I hope you have a relaxing weekend!

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent




    July 13, 2020

    Good Afternoon,

    I trust this finds you well and enjoying the summertime!  I’m reaching out today with three important information updates regarding the Reopening of school in the fall for the 2020-2021 school year.

    Reopening ELCO Video Updates

    Today marks the beginning of using video messaging to provide updates on the Reopening of School for the 2020-2021 school year.  Approximately each week for the next six weeks, until the opening of school, video segments will be shared with you and posted to our new Reopening ELCO webpage on the School District website. 

    The Reopening ELCO webpage will serve as the ‘hub’ of all of our communication regarding the reopening.  All of the videos will post there along with approved plans for reopening, announcements and resources.  As there are many variables and aspects to the Reopening Plan, we are committed to providing clear and regularly scheduled updates to inform you of our processes and next steps.  We want to make sure you have the important details that will help you plan and make the best decisions for your children and family. I know the thought of opening school is unsettling…  if not scary… for some and having up to date and accurate information is critical.

    You can view the video either on the Reopening ELCO webpage or by clicking the following link:


    Family Survey

    Later this week, another survey will be sent to our ELCO families.  This survey will include specific questions about instructional preferences, transportation, food service, childcare and comfort levels about returning to school.  The information you provide is based on your situation right now and will not commit you to anything going forward.  Your responses will be a great help as we continue to plan for reopening schools and instructional plans.  Another survey will be sent in early August after the instructional plan is finalized and will detail the instructional options for the 2020-2021 school year.


    Lebanon County School Districts’ Guiding Principles for Reopening School

    Below please find a co-authored letter, written by the six Lebanon County School District Superintendents with guidance from state and local health officials, which outlines twelve guiding principles that will apply to the reopening of all of our six county schools. 


    Lebanon County Reopening Letter


    The superintendents of the six public school districts in Lebanon County have been working collaboratively throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As we continue to prepare for the reopening of school for in person instruction, the six county school districts remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, staff, and our school communities as we provide exceptional learning opportunities for our students.


    After reviewing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization , the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education, information from the American Association of Pediatrics and other relevant information, the superintendents have created a list of guiding principles that apply to the reopening of our schools.  These general guiding principles have been developed in consultation with Mr. Bob Dowd from Lebanon County Department of Emergency Services and Dr. Jun Chon from WellSpan Health and represent our best thinking at this time.  Please note:  individual school district health and safety plans will address the fine details of local plans which reflect local context, and all plans are subject to change as guidance changes. 

    1.     Symptom screening of children will be conducted by all parents/guardians at home each morning before the school day. No children with symptoms shall be sent on a bus or brought to school; 

    2.     All district staff will perform a symptom screen on themselves prior to leaving for work, and will stay home if ill; 

    3.     Temperature screening will not be required upon entrance to school for students or staff;

    4.     Students and staff will consistently be made aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19;

    5.     Students and staff will go to the nurse immediately if feeling symptomatic; 

    6.     As per the order of July 1, 2020 from the Department of Health, face coverings are required of students with certain specific exemptions when social distancing cannot be maintained. The details of the order and exemptions can be found at the following links:  July 1 PA Department of Health OrderJuly 6  PA Department of Education

    7.     Social distancing, to the maximum extent possible, will be used in all learning spaces;  

    8.     All high-touch surfaces will be cleaned regularly, including water filling stations, door handles, light switches, and student desks. Students and staff will be encouraged to use individual water bottles from home;

    9.     All individuals in school will sanitize or wash their hands on a frequent basis. Hand sanitizer will be made available in all common areas, hallways, and/or in classrooms where sinks for hand washing are not available; 

    10.  Classrooms and common areas will be ventilated with additional circulation of outdoor air when possible;

    11.  High-traffic hallway use will be limited, when feasible; and

    12.  In cafeterias, seating arrangements will be reviewed to avoid overcrowding at tables. Individuals will be required to sanitize or wash their hands prior to, and after, eating.


    These guiding principles are based on information that we currently have and are subject to change.  We firmly believe that the best educational model is one that includes face-to-face instruction. Returning to school is vitally important and doing so responsibly and safely is paramount.


    Dr. Arthur Abrom, Superintendent, Lebanon School District

    Dr. Krista Antonis, Superintendent Annville-Cleona School District

    Dr. Philip Domencic, Superintendent, Cornwall Lebanon School District

    Dr. Bernie Kepler, Superintendent, Palmyra School District

    Dr. Gary Messinger, Superintendent, Northern Lebanon School District

    Mrs. Julia Vicente, Superintendent, ELCO School District



    I hope that you will continue to enjoy the summer days.  Please look for the next Reopening ELCO Video next week.  Director of Buildings and Grounds, Doug Dresch, will join me, and we will provide information on our safety and social distancing protocols as well as cleaning and disinfecting procedures. We will also show you supplies that we have on hand that will be used in our schools for safe and healthy practices.

    Take good care!


    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent



    July 2, 2020

    Dear ELCO Families,

    As the 2019-2020 school year has come to a close, I want to personally thank you and your children once again for your flexibility and adaptability as we quickly transitioned to remote learning and instruction in March and continued through the end of the school year. 

    The question on minds now is what will the fall look like?  The answer right now is, we are not 100% certain what it will look like … yet.  However, what we do know now, based on the guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, is that we need to be ready for a range of scenarios.  In response to PDE guidance, we have been focused on the creation of plans to reopen ELCO schools for the 2020-2021 school year. 

    On June 17, 2020, the School Board approved the PK-12 Athletics Health and Safety Plan, and on July 15, 2020, the Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan will be presented to the School Board for their approval consideration.  As directed from PDE, both plans reflect guidance from multiple sources which include but is not limited to the Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization.  Furthermore, the plans are tailored to the unique needs in our own ELCO School District and include survey results, and input from stakeholder groups, staff, community members and health officials.  Finally, an Instructional Plan for the 2020-2021 school year will also be created and School Board approved prior to the start of the new school year.

    As we continue to prepare for the reopening of school, the ELCO School District remains committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, staff and the entire school community as we provide exceptional learning opportunities for our students.  Getting back to school is vitally important and doing so responsibly and safely is paramount.

    Over the past months, we have seen how quickly information can change.  Employing a consistent communication approach moving forward is essential so you are kept informed of the plans and expectations for reopening.  Over the remaining summer weeks, we will communicate with our ELCO families and staff regularly through the following methods:

    • Reopening ELCO Webpage:  The COVID-19 webpage will be replaced with a Reopening ELCO Webpage.  This page will serve as the main hub of information for the reopening.  Superintendent messages, School Board approved plans, web resources, announcements, and more will be included.  This page will be continually updated.
    • ELCO Family and Staff Surveys:  We want to continue to hear from you!  Additional surveys will be sent to ELCO families and Staff asking for input and feedback regarding the reopening.
    • Email Updates:  Administrators will share important building-specific information about the reopening process through emails and newsletters with students and families.
    • ELCO School District Facebook Page:  The ELCO SD Facebook Page will continue to be used to share progress updates with the community on the reopening process.
    • *New* Fact Sheets:  One page fact sheets will be created on key issues and procedures that ELCO will implement when reopening in the fall.  These fact sheets will be available to download on the Reopening ELCO Webpage.
    • *New* Video Updates:  Brief recorded video updates on how the district is preparing to welcome students and staff back along with reopening updates will post to the ELCO Reopening Webpage each week.

    Once again, thank you for your continued partnership in helping us keep our schools and our children safe and healthy as we navigate a reality none of us could have ever imagined.  Please take care of yourselves and each other, stay healthy and enjoy the summer months as we remain #ELCOtogether!


    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent