Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Over the past several weeks, the information available regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been changing at a rate so rapid that it is often difficult to keep up. Since March 6, 2020, when Pennsylvania announced the first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the state, the number has continued to increase on a daily basis.

    As the District receives recommendations and information from relevant agencies such as the Departments of Health and Education, we will continue to provide you with regular updates via this website as well as email communication.  In an effort to provide easy access to the information that is being shared by the District, as well as information being shared by other local, state, and national sources, we have compiled various links and resources on this page.

    Our first priority is to provide all students and staff with a safe, secure, and healthy environment in which to learn and work.  We thank you for your continued support of these efforts!

Current Superintendent Communication

  • June 3, 2020

    Dear ELCO Families,

    I trust this finds you and your family well as the 2019-2020 school year will officially come to a close on Thursday, June 4. The ELCO staff, students, parents/guardians and community have done a remarkable job of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 12 weeks during the school closure.  Undoubtedly, the 2019-2020 school year has made an indelible mark which will serve as a reminder of the resiliency, commitment, and strength of us all. 

    As we bring an end to the school year, we celebrate our graduating Class of 2020!  While, unfortunately, they have missed many special events, they have been a part of history in the making.  Our graduates are celebrated for the hard work and perseverance they have demonstrated not just over the past three months but throughout their entire schooling years. 

    We are so proud of our 156 graduating seniors who will walk across the stage Thursday evening and take the next steps into their future.  Some graduates will attend colleges, universities and post-secondary schools near and far; others will proudly serve our county in the armed forces, while others will serve our communities through workforce commitments.  We wish them goodwill and a future filled with hope and prosperity!

    For our underclassmen, middle and elementary school students, thank you for finishing the year strong!  This was a year like no other, but you rose to the challenge, did your very best and made us so proud!

    Thank you parents/guardians, grandparents and family members for supporting your child/ren during this unusual time when many of you very unexpectedly became “teachers”.  I know this was not easy to juggle your many responsibilities and help your child/ren learn, but you did it and you did it well!  Thank you for your support and partnership with the teachers and district.  We truly weathered this time together.

    Reopening School

    While there are many questions surrounding what school may look like in the fall, today was a very important day as the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) issued their preliminary guidance for reopening school with additional information to follow in the coming days.  We will use the preliminary guidance in conjunction with the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health safeguards and guidelines to determine the safest way for students and staff to return to school.  Furthermore, a School Board approved plan will post to our website in the near future and will address items such as but not limited to:

    • Identification of a “Pandemic Coordinator” and/or team to plan for reopening;
    • Steps to protect students and staff at a higher risk for severe illness;
    • Processes for monitoring students and staff for symptoms;
    • Guidelines for best hygiene practices and the use of face coverings;
    • Procedures for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting;
    • Protocols for social distancing;
    • Training for staff;  and
    • Systems to ensure ongoing communication with families.

    Please be assured over the summer we will continue to provide updates to you regarding the reopening of school via the Black Board connect email and phone system, the district website, and the district Facebook page.

    Next week we will send a survey to all families with students in the ELCO School District as a way to gather your feedback for use as we plan for the reopening of school.  The survey will not be very long, and I encourage you to take time to complete the survey so we can hear directly from you. A Black Board connect phone call and email will be sent with information on how to access the survey within the next couple days.

    As a couple reminders …

    We will continue food distribution at the Intermediate School on Wednesdays between 10:00am and 1:00pm through the end of June.  Specifically, meals will be distributed on June 10, 17, and 24.  We kindly ask that you sign up weekly so we know how many meals to prepare.

    We are still accepting Kindergarten registration materials.  If you or someone you know has a child ready to enter Kindergarten, registration information can be found on our website. 

    ***Beginning Monday, June 8, Kindergarten packets should be dropped off at the District Office between the hours of 7:00am and 3:30pm (or by special arrangement if requested).***

    Thank you again for your support throughout this momentous school year!  We overcame many challenges, and we look forward to the days ahead when we can be together, safely!

    May your summer be filled with lasting memories to savor!

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent

Continuity of Education Plan

Continuity of Education Plan

Healthy Hygiene Tips

  • Below are some important preventative measures which you can review with your child(ren) that will assist in keeping them healthy:

    • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues;
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    • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (younger children can sing the ABC song), especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after they blow their nose;
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    • When soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol;
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    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
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    • Avoid close contact with anyone who displays flu-like symptoms; and
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    • If your child exhibits symptoms of illness, please do not send him/her to school, limit contact with others to reduce the chance of infecting them and contact your health care provider.

Cleaning at ELCO

      • The District’s Custodial Department has an ample amount of hand soap, alcohol based hand sanitizer (86% alcohol based), and paper towels in each building for use by students and staff.
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      • The District custodial staff is using a hospital grade disinfectant (Hillyard 19) to clean all buildings.
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      • Custodians are disinfecting high touch surfaces, including but not limited to desktops, railings, door handles, and light switches. After being sprayed with a sufficient amount of disinfectant, the disinfectant is allowed to sit wet for at least 10 minutes. The surface is then wiped with a microfiber rag that has been soaking in disinfectant and the surface is allowed to air dry.
      •  
      • Each building has a C3 cleaning companion, a touch free cleaning system, that is stocked with Hillyard’s Suprox (peroxide based cleaner) and a hospital grade disinfectant (Hillyard 19). These machines provide the staff with the ability to spray a significant amount of cleaner on high touch surfaces, allowing for more efficient disinfection.

Archived Messages from the Superintendent

  • May 17, 2020

    Good Evening!

    I trust this finds you and your family well and enjoyed the weekend!  As we head into the third week of May, plans for wrapping up the school year are well underway.  Our teachers continue to go above and beyond in their planning and instruction and their creativity has been evident!  Seeing how they have incorporated events such as virtual field trips and STEM lessons and coming soon will be field days has been nothing short of excellent!  To our parents/guardians, we thank you for how you have become at-home teachers to your children.  It’s not always easy serving as their at-home teacher, and we greatly appreciate your support of your children’s learning.  Thank you for all that you have done!

    The end of each school year also has a very important milestone, graduation.  To our Class of 2020 we are all so proud of all that you have accomplished, and we know you are destined for greatness!  You and your families have been anticipating your graduation for many years, and we are all deeply saddened that your last couple months at ELCO are being impacted by a global pandemic.  I am sure these days have been rife with disappointment and frustration as many time-honored traditions of your senior year were not possible.  While this situation is certainly historic and unique, I am confident that each of you will not only persevere but will grow from this.  In the words of Helen Keller, "Your success and happiness lies in you.  Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties."  Here is to your extraordinary future, Class of 2020!

    *************

    We have received a number of questions, and I thought it might be helpful to compile a listing of those that have been asked most frequently.  In the coming weeks you will still receive newsletters and communications from your child’s/ren’s principal/s and many will expand on the details listed in this Update.  However, before the Question and Answer section, I would like to invite you to join a very special Birthday Celebration!

    Happy 10th Birthday RaiderTHON!

    This year RaiderTHON turns 10 years old!  As a community, you are invited to join the birthday celebration by showing your RaiderTHON Spirit next week!  Check out the schedule below! Of course we’d love to see your celebration!  Snap a picture and share to social media!  #raiderthon2020, #elcolighthenight, #elcotogether, #elcospirit, on twitter @elcoftk and on Instagram @elcoraiderthon

    ·      Monday:  ELCOtogether Conquering Cancer: Wear an ELCO t-shirt

    ·      Tuesday:  Happy Birthday RaiderTHON:  Wear a hat

    ·      Wednesday:  4-Diamonds/FTK Draw a picture of the 4-Diamonds

    ·      Thursday:  Throwback Thursday:  Wear an old THON shirt

    Thursday is a special day and we invite you to Light the Night!  Join RaiderTHON on Thursday, May 21 at 8:30pm to light a candle on your front porch in honor of those battling cancer or in memory of those who we have lost to cancer.  Take a picture and share to Instagram @elcoraiderthon or on twitter @elcoftk.  Check out the ELCO Facebook page for RaiderTHON flyers.

     

    Questions and Answers

    If you have a question that is not addressed, the elcocovidinfo@elcosd.org email is still open, and you may submit questions to that email address.  A team of administrators monitor the email account and will see that your question is sent to the individual who can provide information to you.

    Q:  What is the food distribution schedule and when will food distribution end?

    Food distribution for all students will continue to be held at the Intermediate School each Wednesday from 10:00am – 1:00pm through the end of June.  The last food distribution is scheduled for Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

    Q:  Are there scheduled end-of-year events for each building?

    Below is a listing by building of the scheduled end-of-year events.  Please look for more information and details from your child’s principal. 

    High School:  More information and details will be sent from Ms. Haas

    • HS Awards, 2019-2020, HS Awards will be highlighted in an upcoming S’more newsletter dedicated to student recognitions for the end of the school year;
    • Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 7:00pm, Sports Awards Program, Zoom event (more details forthcoming);
    • Thursday, May 28, 2020, 2:00pm – 6:00pm, Senior Cap and Gown Pick Up, High School Bus Loop;
    • Thursday, June 4, 2020, 3:00pm – 8:00pm, Commencement and Diploma Presentation Ceremony, ELCO SD Campus;
    • Underclassmen will return school materials (included iPads) and receive their yearbooks during the week of June 8
    • Incoming ninth-graders will be invited to participate in the Freshmen Forward Orientation program.  Look for more details in July!

    Middle School:  More information and details will be sent from Mr. Marks

    • MS Awards, 2019-20, MS Awards will be announced/presented via Parent Smore and on Schoology the week of June 1;
    • A SignUp Genius schedule will be sent out for students to come into the MS during the week of June 8.   When students come into the MS, they will:
      • Clean out all personal items
      • Return their iPads
      • Collect their yearbooks (if they have been delivered by then);
    • There will be a 6th Grade WEB orientation prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year. In the coming weeks, incoming 6thgraders will receive a 3-part video series that includes:
      • A virtual tour of the MS
      • Information regarding life at the MS
      • Frequently Asked Questions 

    Intermediate School:  More information and details will be sent from Dr. Gerhart

    • Field Day: May 21, Virtual option (Zoom, Schoology, Youtube)
    • Student placement letters for the 2020-2021 School year:  Mailed home on May 29
    • Student Awards: Virtually/online (SMORE)
    • Students meet with 2020-2021 teacher: Virtually (Zoom meeting)
    • Student Pickup of materials: Week of June 8

    Fort Zeller Elementary and Jackson Elementary:  More information and details will be sent from Mr. Lin for Fort Zeller students and Mrs. Hower for Jackson Elementary students

    • June 1, all day, Field Day: Mr. Babiarz will lead a school wide celebration of student fitness with a number of activities that will be shared via homeroom Seesaw accounts. 
    • June 2 afternoon, STEM Day: Mr. Wright and Ms. Breeden will celebrate STEM by pushing out challenges via homeroom Seesaw accounts
    • June 3, Move Up Day: Via Seesaw accounts, current homeroom teachers will share pre-recorded video introductions by students’ teachers assigned for next school year.

    Q:  How will the HS Renovation impact end of year events?

    Phase Two of the High School Renovation Project began on May 14, 2020 and focuses on continued building safety improvements by establishing a secure entrance to the High School.  The renovations will also enhance the accessibility in the office areas, create additional spaces for educational specialists to provide services to our students, and improve the learning environment by updating various components in classrooms throughout the building.  Mechanical system work, which continues from Phase One, will also be completed.  As a result, we no longer have access to the High School building which means we are unable to use the building for any end of year events, including Commencement.

    Q:  What are the plans for Commencement?

    The Commencement Celebration for the Eastern Lebanon County School District Class of 2020 will take place on the originally scheduled date of Thursday, June 4, 2020, with a diploma presentation ceremony.  All graduating High School seniors will be presented with their diploma  under the canopy at the ELCO Middle School.  Seniors will arrive by vehicle, have their name announced, and will receive their diploma in a presentation ceremony that will be broadcast through Facebook Live.  A video production company will record the presentation of diplomas, and along with recorded portions of the commencement ceremony, a video compilation of the ceremony will be shared with the ELCO community by the end of June 2020.  Look for more information closer to the date of Commencement regarding Baccalaureate.

    Q:  Can I still register my child for Kindergarten and how will Kindergarten screening take place?

    Yes!  It is not too late to register your child for Kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year. Please visit the ELCO website (www.elcosd.org ) for more information on how to pick up and return a completed registration packet. We ask that registration be completed as soon as possible to help facilitate a smooth transition into the school.  If you are having difficulty securing medical records, they can be submitted at a later date.

    In regard to Kindergarten screening, representatives from Fort Zeller and Jackson Elementary Schools will be in touch with families of registered Kindergarten students to schedule times to conduct Kindergarten screenings. These screenings will be scheduled for later in June after the end of the academic school year. Portions of the screenings will be done virtually.

    Q:  My child paid money to go on a school field trip.  Will that money be refunded?

    Principals are in the process of working with the activity advisors to determine the list of students receiving refunds.  In some cases students will receive refunds from more than one activity and coordinating those lists has taken time.  Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy of information, and your patience is appreciated.

    Q: How and when can I retrieve my child’s personal belongings from the school building?


    We have received several inquiries about getting personal items out of classrooms and schools. The building principals have developed a plan for retrieving items from each school; the first group of students to pick up belongings were those in the high school.  You should hear from your child’s principal in the near future about the specific details to pick up your child’s/ren’s personal belongings.  Thank you for your patience.

    Q:  Are there any summer camp opportunities available?

    Camp Invention, grades K-5:

    Summer 2020 was going to be ELCO’s first year with Camp Invention – Elevate for students in grades K-5. Although the face-to-face camp will not be held, there is an opportunity for students to participate in a virtual camp. To bring the all-new Elevate curriculum to life, each camper will receive a set of four activity kits packed with awesome, hands-on materials, including robots! In fact, campers will end up with even more materials than they would typically bring home from camp. 

    This program emphasizes opportunities to get outside and be active. This will not be a week of sitting at a screen — it will be a week of action, invention and fun! Camp Invention Connect requires very little involvement from parents, and it can either be screen-free and self-led OR involve minimal screen time for virtual instruction and collaboration sessions.  To learn more about this program and all of the materials and activities you can expect, visit invent.org/connect.

    Families that had previously signed up for the summer camp will be receiving communication about the changes and directions on how to proceed.

    Harrisburg University, grades 6-12

    Additionally, Harrisburg University is offering online summer camps for students in grades 6-12.  These camps include coding, robotics, video games, and agriculture.  Each course has specific recommendations for the grade levels of the students who can enroll.  Please look for more information from Ms. Haas and Mr. Marks in upcoming newsletters.

    Other Summer Opportunities:

    At this point other summer activities and camps such as youth camps and band camp which are held on our ELCO Campus are on hold.  We are awaiting guidance for summer activities.  Decisions about summer activities will be made as more information is provided to us; that information will be provided to you.

    Q: My student is making a transition from elementary to middle school next year. What is being done to facilitate this transition?
     

    We know transitions are important -- elementary to middle school and middle school to high school -- and we try to do as much as we can to ease them for students. In normal times, we provide support in the form of building visits, open houses, and other in-person programs such as the MS 6th grade WEB program and the 9th grade Freshmen Forward. This year, many of those traditional options are not available. Therefore, we are figuring out how we can create alternatives. The most important thing for you to know at this point is that you and your child have not missed anything related to one of these important transitions. We will follow up with more information during the next few weeks.

    Q:  What will the fall look like for students to return to school?

    The question of how reopening school will be handled for the safe return of students and staff is a question on the minds of many.  The possibilities of what school may look like in the fall varies based on the numerous factors that must be considered.  Sanitization methods, instructional delivery, and adherence to social distancing guidelines, to name a few, are being discussed in the media, by state officials, and by us locally.  At best, what is currently offered by officials are lists of considerations to be reviewed when the reopening occurs, but no definitive date or guidance has yet been established for the reopening.  

    When that guidance is provided, I assure you that the ELCO Administrative team and teachers will come together to plan for the instructional delivery and social-emotional support for our students while also following guidelines to keep us safe and well … just as we did in March when the schools were ordered closed. We will work together to determine what is best for our students, staff and our local school community going into the 2020-2021 school year. 

    When we know more and as those plans are developed, additional information will be shared with you in the coming weeks and over the summer months.   Planning for the fall will be very different this year; however, I believe we are doing everything we can in ELCO to be prepared as possible for whatever changes comes our way.

    Thank you for your continued support! 

    Take care and stay healthy! #ELCOtogether

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent

     


     

    April 17, 2020

    Good Evening Parents/Guardians,

    Our last day of in-person school was a little over five weeks ago on Friday, March 13.  On one hand these five weeks have felt like an eternity, and on the other hand, it has felt like a blink of an eye!  Five weeks is a very long time for our students to be away from school, their friends, teachers and those they see each day at school.  However, five weeks has been a very short time to completely redesign the operation of our school district to provide services and supports to all of our students which is what we have been actively designing.

    This past week, our teachers began providing planned instruction online and offered paper packets of materials for students without internet access.  Your child’s/ren’s principals have been in touch with you to outline how we will proceed instructionally, and our teachers have been carrying out that plan.  Our teachers have done an amazing job preparing for this week, and I know they will continue to provide engaging instruction in the days ahead.  We are so very blessed to have such dedicated teachers in the ELCO School District!  They have truly gone above and beyond to remain connected to their students and have added many creative twists through their staff videos and messages of encouragement! 

    This transition is not easy, and clearly, it is not ideal.  Thank you, our ELCO families and our community, for your support through these days.  I suspect educating students from home is possibly one of the greatest challenges you may undertake as a parent or family member.  The mandated school closings have shifted our roles and responsibilities in ways we could not imagine a mere two months ago.  Our goal continues to be to support in every way we can as we continue to adjust to our current reality.  Timely and accurate information is key, and we want to make sure lines of communication are open. 

    If you have questions about instruction or day-to-day events, please reach out to your child’s/ren’s teacher/s, school counselor, or principal; if your child is experiencing technical difficulties, please submit a Student Technology Support ticket at https://forms.gle/oYbmjRhmsLBWkjiH7  and a member of the Technology Department will be able to assist you; and if you have general questions, please contact us at elcocovidinfo@elcosd.org.  Together we will get through this time.

    In the remainder of tonight’s Black Board Connect message, please find additional updates:

    Commencement and End-of-Year Events

    Our leadership team continues to meet and discuss the end of year traditions and events that represent those milestones we look forward to each school year.  Our priority remains our students, honoring their accomplishments, and maintaining the traditions as much as possible, while respecting the social distancing guidelines and other restrictions imposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  As plans are finalized for various events, including Commencement, details will be shared with our families. We appreciate your patience and understanding as thoughtful, intentional planning occurs to prepare celebrations that may look and feel different than our treasured traditions but will provide positive memories for our students and families.

    Kindergarten Registration

    The ELCO School District is looking forward to welcoming our youngest students to kindergarten and into the Class of 2033. This is an exciting milestone for students and families, and we will continue to enroll students in kindergarten throughout the spring. Families from Jackson Elementary had the opportunity to attend Kindergarten Orientation but unfortunately, schools were closed before our Fort Zeller Orientation took place. It is essential that we continue to enroll students so we can ensure that we have the resources needed for the start of the school year including bus routes, technology, and classroom resources.

    A student is eligible to begin kindergarten if he or she will be 5 years old on or before September 1 of the school year he/she will attend. Due to the school closures, we have made a few changes to our kindergarten registration procedures. The ELCO School District website has been updated with the latest information about Kindergarten Registration (www.elcosd.org). Registration packets can be printed from the website or families can visit the ELCO Intermediate School vestibule to receive a paper packet during the hours of 8:00am and 1:00pm on Wednesdays and between 11:00am and 9:00pm on alternating Thursdays (April 30, May 7, 21 and June 4).  Completed packets and documentation can also be dropped off at this location during those hours.

    Appointments are available for families needing assistance to complete the registration materials or to have copies made of the required documents.  Please call Tina Kunder at 717-866-7117 ext. 10803 or email her at tkunder@elcosd.org to request an appointment.  Up-to-date information regarding registration is available on the ELCO School District website.

    Refunds for Clubs, Field Trips, Activities

    Due to the school closure for the remainder of the academic school year, unfortunately, many field trips and activities will not be held.  We are currently working on a plan to refund money to families.  More information will be forthcoming.

    Students’ Belongings Still in Schools

    When students left for the day on March 13, we did not realize that we would not return to our buildings for the remainder of the academic school year.  Many if not most students have personal belongings in their classrooms and/or lockers.  Our principals are working on plans to facilitate students retrieving personal belongings from their buildings.  Please look for more information from your child’s/ren’s principal/s once the plans are finalized.

    Additional iPad Pick Up

    Another opportunity to pick up your child’s iPad will be held on Wednesday, April 22 between 2:00pm and 3:00pm and again on Thursday, April 23 between 5:00pm and 6:00pm at the Intermediate School.  Pick up will occur at the middle entrance at the Intermediate School, door number 14.  Please use the bus loop and drive past the main entrance to reach the middle entrance.  When you arrive, please have your child’s/ren’s school-issued ID card.  If you do not have the ID card, please be prepared to show your identification card (i.e. Driver’s License) at the time of iPad pick up.

     

    While we are required to maintain a physical distance from one another, please know that you are not alone.  We will get through this together, #ELCOtogether!

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent

     


     

    April 13, 2020

    Dear Parents/Guardians:

    The ELCO School District is committed to making a good faith effort to provide the continuation of education during this unprecedented time of school closure due to COVID-19. Although the physical buildings will remain closed for the remainder of the academic school year, instruction and appropriate related services will continue through remote learning for all students using virtual/online platforms.  Our administration and teachers have worked together to prepare a continuity of education plan which will guide the delivery of instruction in the coming weeks.

    In this unprecedented time, while we navigate uncharted waters, we remain sensitive to the ways that our students and families are being impacted by this situation and how it has changed the way we interact, work, and care for our children and extended families. We understand that it has become a shift for families to adjust to having students learning from home, and we want to assure you that we are thinking about the role the family plays in remote learning and want to work alongside you to support your children.

    We do not expect parents to become teachers. Instruction will be provided for students in a virtual format or, for older students, through a synchronous meeting. We have taken great care to develop a schedule for these synchronous meetings so every student can participate in each of their classes. The schedules developed for middle and high school are not meant to require students to be online all day, nor do they represent the amount of time students will spend in synchronous meetings or on the completion of assignments. For families that do not have the ability to connect to the internet, low cost options are available, or copies of paper resources will be provided.  Please reach out to your child’s/ren’s principal/s with any questions related to receiving paper (hard-copy) resources. 

    Along with several other school districts in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties, we will use Zoom as the video conferencing tool for synchronous learning with older students. In recent weeks, you may have heard reports about “Zoom bombings” where hackers have infiltrated Zoom meetings. We want to assure you that we have implemented procedures and have provided training for all of our teachers on these procedures that require the activation of high level security available through the Zoom tool. The following steps are taken within Zoom to create the most secure environment possible:

    1. The Zoom meeting is scheduled requiring a password and not just a random 9-digit meeting ID which is what was used in the reported hacking;
    2. The link to the Zoom meeting will be provided only to the students in the class through Schoology;
    3. A waiting room will be enabled in Zoom which requires teachers to approve each student asking to enter the room; 
    4. If a student is not being cooperative in the meeting, the teacher has the ability to remove the student and place the student back into the waiting room; and
    5. Recording of the meeting is not permitted.

    The ELCO School District expects that all families will review and implement the following guidelines and expectations to ensure the confidentiality rights of all students are protected while using the online tools that are used for remote learning including Zoom, Schoology, Seesaw, and others: 

    1. Students and families shall not make or maintain recordings of the course content, activities, or other communication that is provided or conveyed during remote learning, including video conferencing;
    2. Families shall make every effort to ensure that no one other than the student is able to participate in, hear, or see the video conference; and
    3. If a parent or other third-party is necessary to enable a student to participate in the video conference or other virtual platform, the individual assisting the student shall not disclose any personally identifiable information about any student involved in the virtual instruction.

    We understand that remote learning is different from face-to-face, in person instruction and that some instructional time has already been lost this year.  However, rest assured, our teachers are committed and ready to provide well-designed, standards-based instructional lessons for the remainder of the academic school year.  Realizing that we needed to readjust our learning expectations, teachers worked throughout last week to prioritize the standards that will be the focus of the learning for the fourth quarter. These essential standards will be the main focus of the instruction and assessment. Students in grades 3-12 will be graded based on these standards and will receive a grade of either pass or fail for the fourth quarter. Students in grades K-2 will continue to be graded using our standards-based report cards, but they will only be graded on the essential standards identified by the teachers. 

    Please know that we will work through the weeks ahead together, and we realize that we will need to continuously evaluate and re-evaluate our processes and procedures to ensure we are doing the very best we can to meet the needs of our students and families.  While these continue to be extraordinary circumstances, ELCO School District has the very best teachers who are working together to make your children, our students, the top priority as we continue to keep students engaged and learning in the coming days.

    Thank you for your continued support.

    #ELCOtogether

    Julia R. Vicente

    ELCO Superintendent

     


     

    April 7, 2020

    Good Evening Parents/Guardians,

    This week marks the fourth week of a different kind of reality for all of us.  Six months ago, I don’t think any of us could fathom how our lives would look now or with what we would be dealing.  We are all trying to understand what has taken place over the past couple months, what it means to each of us personally, and how best to adapt to this new way of living.  Our daily routines have all been impacted as a result of implementing healthy practices to keep us safe and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    Without warning, on March 13 when schools were closed by the Governor, you were suddenly tasked with balancing your work/personal schedules, parenting your children and supervising their learning!  It was a significant change that came very quickly!  I want to express my deep appreciation for all you are doing for your children and family during this unprecedented time.

    Below are some items to keep you informed:

    Tech Tips for Parents:  K-5 Parent Webinar

    If you picked up your child’s/ren’s iPad last week during the K-5 iPad distribution and are having difficulty getting the iPad to connect to your home network and getting internet access, we have a 15 minute webinar just for you!  You are invited to join one of the two webinars, led by Technology Director, Bob Boltz, on Thursday, April 9. 

    Each webinar will cover the same content and should only last 10-15 minutes.  We will show you how to connect to a home network and to make sure your child’s iPad is logged into Securly, the school’s web filter, in order to obtain Internet access.  If you miss these webinars, they will be recorded and posted to the website to watch at a later time.  If you plan to attend, click on the link to register.  There is a 100 participant limit for each webinar.

    Thursday, April 9, 2020 @ 1:00PM

    https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fpq-29WSTI-c2wpWn4tvvA

    Thursday, April 9, 2020 @ 7:00PM

    https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Kp_mKvUVTdmwu79J4U9I1g

    Spring Break

    ELCO’s Spring Break is scheduled for later this week.  Due to the mild winter this year, we did not use any ‘built-in’ snow days that were incorporated into our calendar.  Had we been in school, students would not have had school from Thursday, April 9 through and including Tuesday, April 14.  However, due to the mandated school closure our Spring Break is as follows:

    • Thursday, April 9, Teachers In Session, Act 80/Staff Development Day
    • Friday, April 10, No School for Staff or Students
    • Monday, April 13, No School for Staff or Students
    • Tuesday, April 14, Teachers and Students In Session … learning continues

    Request for Student Packets

    We want to ensure that all of our students have access to learning opportunities during the school closure.  While many students will access instruction through iPads, laptops, and the like, some may not have internet access readily available. Parents/Guardians are able to request Student Packets of work for their child/ren if iPads are not being used to access instruction during the school closure.  If you do not have access to the internet and need to request a Student Packet of work, please complete the following form: https://tinyurl.com/tyrkft5   Additional information regarding pickup and drop-off procedures will be forthcoming.

    This form is also available under the Announcements and Information column on the District COVID-19 Resource Page.

    Census Reminder – It’s not too late to complete the Census!

    What is it?

    Every ten years the 2020 Census is taken and counts every person living in the United States and five U.S. territories.

    Why is the Census taken?

    The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.  The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

    How to respond to the Census?

    The 2020 Census will ask a few simple questions about you and everyone who is or will be living with you on April 1, 2020.

    For the first time, you can choose to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail. Find out more about each of these methods below:

    Please note that if you are responding online, you must complete the census in one sitting, as you don't have the ability to save your progress. See the questions the census asks here.  

    If you do not receive an invitation to respond from the Census Bureau, you may respond online or visit our Contact Us page to call our phone line.

    Taken from  www.2020census.gov

    Kindergarten Registration

    Jackson Elementary held Kindergarten Registration on Thursday, March 12, the night before the Governor’s mandated school closure due to COVID-19.  Fort Zeller Elementary was scheduled to hold their Kindergarten Orientation on Thursday, March 19 but by that date, schools were already closed, and we were unable to hold that Orientation meeting.  Information regarding Kindergarten Orientation will post to the District website later this month; it is not too late to register your child for Kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year.

    End-of-Year Events

    Each school year holds many memory-making events for our students, and it’s during many of these time-honored traditions that some of the sweetest school memories are made!  Unfortunately, due to the closure, some events have not occurred.  While we understand that school is closed indefinitely, we are trying our best to maintain end-of-year activities as long as we can, without penalty, until we have a definite answer regarding the end of the school closure.  The Administration team is in the process of reviewing all planned end-of-year events and how the mandated closure may impact each event.  More information will be forthcoming.

    Learning Opportunities

    We are so fortunate to have such professional educators working in ELCO SD, who have been developing meaningful learning opportunities for all of our students in just a short span of time.  They have been working diligently to ensure that the learning opportunities created not only address academic needs but also the social and emotional learning needs of our students as well.  Look for more information about the learning opportunities from your child’s/ren’s principal and teacher/s.

    Thank you for your support!  We will get through this together, #ELCOtogether!

    Julia R. Vicente ELCO Superintendent

     

     

    March 25, 2020

    Good Afternoon,

    Since the mandated school closure, the past week and a half has been a tremendous upheaval to our daily routines.  From childcare to meals to work schedules and more, there have been many changes.  For our students, the routine of attending school has been completely interrupted.  I am contacting you today with an update to let you know that all of the teachers in the ELCO School District are preparing opportunities for virtual learning and engagement with your children, our students, to begin on Monday, March 30, and they are looking forward to reconnecting!

    As the Governor announced, we are currently in an extended school closure through at least April 6.  The guidance issued by the State has been for students to return on April 9.  For the ELCO School District, April 9 is a part of the already scheduled and Board approved Spring Break.  As of today, March 25, a decision has not been made yet how the current extended closure will impact our Spring Break. I will communicate that information to you when a decision is made.

    The virtual learning opportunities that the teachers are creating cover a time period of approximately two weeks based on the directive from the State.  This plan is also subject to change should additional directives come from the State.  During this time the extensions and connections offered to students are voluntary.  Student work will not be graded, and assignments will not have due dates.  This is a time for teachers to virtually engage students through extended learning opportunities and for teachers to connect with students.  We hope you will encourage your child/ren to participate!

    We know not all of our students have their school-issued iPad. Please be assured if you have a smart phone, an iPad, a Chromebook or a personal computer, your child will be able to access learning opportunities over the next two weeks.  On Thursday, directions will be posted to the District Website on the COVID-19 Resource Page how to connect your child to the learning extensions and connections.   As a reminder, there are links on the COVID-19 Resource Page to various internet carriers, many of which are offering solutions for free access or unlimited data plans to help keep people connected.

    If the school closure is once again extended by the Governor, we will communicate any revisions to our plan, and if the extension is significantly longer, we will provide information on accessing school issued iPads. 

    On Thursday, tomorrow, your child’s/children’s principal will contact parents/guardians with more information, and by Friday, your child/ren should begin to hear from their teachers.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.  We are #ELCOtogether!

    Sincerely,

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent

     


     

    March 23, 2020

    Good Evening,

    I trust this finds you healthy as we continue to press forward through these days of uncertainty.  I am reaching out this evening in another update with the latest information. We know there remains many unanswered questions, and as a district, we will continue to provide you with answers as soon as possible.  Tonight’s update provides information as of Monday, March 23, 2020.

    Earlier today, you may have heard the Governor’s Press Conference. In his message, he issued a stay-at-home order for seven counties in Pennsylvania which include:  Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.  In addition, the Department of Education (PDE) announced today, Monday, March 23, that all schools in the Commonwealth will remain closed through at least April 6 as a result of the COVID-19 response efforts. The closure order could be extended beyond April 6 if necessary to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.

    This afternoon PDE sent an email to Superintendents which contained an explanation of what the week of April 6 could entail.  Under the new timeline from PDE school buildings would reopen on April 7 for two days to allow school administrators, teachers and other staff time to prepare classrooms, set up cafeterias, schedule transportation and arrange other business operations. Students would return to school on April 9, unless extending the closure is needed in response to the situation with the virus at that time. 

    At this time, I am unsure how these decisions from the State leadership will exactly impact our Spring Break in ELCO.  I will provide that information for you as soon as I can in an upcoming Global Connect.

    New Resources Posted to the Website

    Under the Announcements and Information column on the COVID-19 Resource page, three new resources were added today:

    • Parent Resources

    Links are provided with suggestions and strategies for how to manage stress and anxiety, how to talk with your child about COVID-19, how to set up a good study environment and how to keep kids learning while at home.

    • Community Food Resources

    There are a number of resources in and around our community that may be of assistance if you are currently experiencing hardships related to providing food for your family.  When possible a link has been provided to access the most recent information available from the provider.  Should you wish to utilize the services of any of the providers, we strongly recommend that you call these providers before arriving as there may be changes to the schedule or process based on the growing need across our community.

    • Internet Carrier Responses to COVID-19

    Links are provided to different Internet carriers along with their response to COVID-19 for current and potential customers.  Many are offering solutions for free access or unlimited data plans to help keep people connected.

    Additionally, Comcast/Xfinity has opened WiFi Public Hotspots to everyone on the "xfinitywifi" SSID; a map is available to see the locations of hotspots.

    Survey by Telephone

    Later in week, you will receive an additional phone call from the District consisting of a brief survey regarding home Internet access.  The survey should take less than a minute to complete and will assist the District in future preparations.

    Food Distribution

    This will be our second week of food distribution to families.  Some have asked whether meals are being provided to all of the families in ELCO. During the mandated closure, the ELCO School District is making available to those families who qualify for free or reduced meal plans, 5 breakfast meals and 5 lunch meals in a meal box.  Those families who meet the criteria receive an email and phone call indicating the pickup times for meals.

    Districts that have a poverty rate of over 50% can be designated as universal feeding sites and receive additional funding.  The poverty rate in our District is well under 50% and therefore, we are not able to provide meals to every family in the district.  However, we filed a waiver with PDE to receive additional funding to offer additional meals.  More information will be provided if the waiver is accepted by PDE.

    Lebanon County Christian Ministries has been very helpful in donating food to the district to help us stretch the food we are providing to students, and we are very appreciative for their assistance.

    Special Education and Gifted Education

    Parents/Guardians whose child/ren has/have an individualized education plan or a gifted individualized education plan, please anticipate being contacted by District personnel in the coming week to provide more information.

    Extensions and Connections

    Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24,  teachers will participate in virtual professional learning opportunities. For three days this week, teachers will work collaboratively to design resources that will be provided for students. These resources are extensions of the curriculum and will be designed to enhance topics that were taught throughout the year. Although we encourage you to take an active role in providing support to your children, the extension activities should not require parents to teach new concepts to students. The activities are voluntary, but we hope that you will encourage your children to complete the activities to strengthen their knowledge of the content and skills taught this year.  

    We also want to re-establish connections between students and teachers. Later this week, you will receive communication from the principal of the building of which your child(ren) attend. You will also start to hear from classroom teachers as they begin to reach out through Schoology in Grades 4-12 and Seesaw in Grades K-3. More information about these tools will be provided to you later this week.

    On Monday, March 27, students will begin to see the resources provided for them along with a personal message or invitation to join a synchronous call with their teachers. We encourage students to reply to their teachers through Schoology and Seesaw. We appreciate your support as we try this new mode of communication. If you have questions as we begin this adventure, please reach out to the teachers and principals. They will be happy to help to provide additional help and support as we transition to this new form of online communication.

    As always, thank you for your support during these challenging times. The health of our students, staff, and community members is our primary concern. Together, we will continue to support one another as we move through these days as an ELCO family. 

    Sincerely,

    Julia R. Vicente, Superintendent, ELCO School District


    March 19, 2020

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    I continue to hope this finds you well and managing our ever-changing situation as best as possible.  It continues to be a challenge for all of us to keep updated with the latest news as information changes so rapidly.  The update tonight contains the latest ELCO School District information as of 7:30pm, March 19, 2020.

    In light of the very recent announcement by the Governor late today ordering all non-life sustaining businesses to close, I am seeking interpretation from our solicitor regarding the potential impact of the order on the ELCO School District.  More to come …

    PDE Webinar, Wednesday, March 18, 2020

    Unfortunately, the webinar scheduled for yesterday, Wednesday, March 18 with the PA Secretary of Education was postponed.  A new date has not been announced yet; however, PDE has been updating their website with new information as it becomes available.  The PDE website has become a main source for accurate and up-to-date information for school districts. 

    State Assessments:  Cancelled for Spring 2020

    This afternoon the following announcement posted to the PDE website:

    Later today, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will be announcing a cancellation of statewide assessments for the 2019-2020 school year. (the link takes you to the PA Pressroom) This cancellation includes the PSSA, PASA, and Keystone Exams.

    We understand that during these unprecedented circumstances, school communities across the state are managing more pressing issues on the education landscape, like providing access to food and nutrition, and putting appropriate systems in place to continue student learning.  Assessments should not be the focus of school leaders right now.

    The Department is monitoring emerging federal guidance, working with other states to advocate for flexibility, and will pursue appropriate waivers to the fullest extent allowable as soon as the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) guidance is clarified.

    Plan for Week Two of School Closure

    The Administrative team has been working diligently on a plan to engage our students in extended learning opportunities which will be offered beginning on Monday, March 30, 2020, should we not return to school.  Next week we will schedule virtual professional learning sessions with all of the teachers to provide refresher training, so they are ready to virtually engage with students beginning on Monday, March 30.  More detailed information will be provided early next week so you know what to expect. Additionally, teachers may begin to communicate with students next week in preparation for March 30.

     

    Please expect another Global Connect message on Monday which will outline how extended learning opportunities will be provided for your child/ren and how to access them.  We will continue to use our Global Connect system to communicate important information with you.  Additionally, please refer to our website and Facebook page for further information.

    Thank you for your continued support as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.  Together, we will get through this.

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent

     


     

    March 16, 2020

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    No doubt this is a time of uncertainty for all of us as we have become part of a global health situation that seemingly changes by the hour and attempting to stay current with the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) information is a challenge.  I realize you may have many questions surrounding Governor Wolf’s directive to close all schools in the Commonwealth for two weeks and the impact on your child/ren in the ELCO School District.  As we enter the first week of the mandated school closure, I am contacting you with the first comprehensive update of  pertinent information as we navigate this unprecedented situation together. 

    Communication Announcement

    To assist with sharing information that is readily available, the District has expanded our methods of sharing information:

    • *NEW* The District has created an official ELCO School District Facebook page, and I encourage you to visit the page for information and updates during the school closure;
    • *NEW* The District has also created a dedicated email address, (elcocovidinfo@elcosd.org) for parents/guardians to submit questions related to the closure.  This email inbox is regularly monitored by the core response team and responses to inquires will be sent;
    • Updates will continue to be sent using our Global Connect system and information will be on the District website on the COVID-19 page; and
    • The Safe2Say State wide program will remain operational, and District administration will continue to receive tips throughout the school closure.

    Student Medication

    Parents/Guardians of students who have medications in the nurses’ office should contact their respective building principal by Friday, March 20 to schedule a time to pick up student medication.  Contact information for each building principal can be found below:

    Instruction

    We are currently facing an unprecedented situation that is going to require flexibility, understanding and patience of us all.  We currently know that schools are closed for two weeks with an anticipated return to school on Monday, March 30.  Should the Governor change the return date to school, new considerations and changes to the outlined instructional plan will be necessary.  Therefore, please recognize the information regarding how we plan to support the academic and social-emotional needs of our students focuses on an anticipated two-week closure and not more than two weeks.  We will re-evaluate plans if we are closed for an extended period of time beyond March 30.

    Given Governor Wolf’s announcement to close schools for 10-days coupled with guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), during the 10-day closure, the ELCO School District will not actively engage our students in new learning nor will we proceed with the curriculum, even in an online format.  No new assignments, readings, or assessments will be given to students in grades K-12 and in our Virtual Academy.  However, a list of suggested instructional resources are posted on the District’s website for parents/guardians and students. These activities are optional and are not meant to replace instruction. 

    During this time, students will not be penalized for missing deadlines associated with any assignments. Due dates for previously assigned work will be modified once we return,and our teachers will work with students to establish timeliness for assignments going forward.  In addition, the District will extend the third marking period to a date to be determined.  That new date will be established upon our return to school.

    PDE recognizes that the rapidly evolving pandemic significantly impacts the District’s ability to implement continuity of education plans and instruction.  We will continue to evaluate the situation and will make any future decisions based upon additional guidance provided on the State and Federal levels.

    Standardized Testing / Assessments

    We are awaiting direction from the Pennsylvania Department of Education regarding the upcoming PSSA assessment and Keystone exams.  Additionally, we are also anticipating updates from the College Board regarding end-of-year Advanced Placement exams.  When we have more information, we will share that with you.

    Special Education Students

    Previously scheduled IEP meetings will be rescheduled upon the return to school.  Questions regarding IEPs and Special Education should be directed to Jeremy Sweigart at jsweigart@elcosd.org

    Building Cleaning

    Our custodial and maintenance team is awesome!  Each building is being disinfected and thoroughly cleaned this week by our team.  Special attention is being given to handrails, doorknobs, and frequently touched surfaces, and when they are finished, every room and office will have been thoroughly cleaned.  Additionally, iPads and computers remaining in buildings will also be cleaned.  

    Additional items

    • Fort Zeller Kindergarten Orientation scheduled for Thursday, March 19 has been postponed and will be rescheduled
    • To end with a glimmer of good news, we are very pleased to announce that the Prom has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 23 at the Eden Resort in Lancaster.

    I will continue to provide information to you as it is shared. On Wednesday, I anticipate receiving more information from the Pennsylvania Department of Education when I join a state wide webinar with the Secretary of Education.  Please look for my next scheduled community update on Thursday, March 19.

    If ever the importance of working together was needed, it is now.  Thank you for your continued support of our District.  We will get through this together, #ELCOtogether.

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent


    March 13, 2020

    Good Afternoon,

    This is a message from the ELCO School District.  Today is Friday, March 13, 2020.

    This afternoon Governor Wolf announced the closure of all Pennsylvania schools for two weeks; therefore, beginning tonight, Friday, March 13, 2020 at 11:59pm, the ELCO School District will be closed and will remain closed until Monday, March 30, 2020 or until otherwise announced.

    We are negotiating uncharted territory and are appreciative for your understanding.  We truly regret any hardships this may cause for our families.

    Global Connect messages will continue to be sent during this time to provide important information and updates.  Additionally, the ELCO School District website will be regularly updated.

    Thank you,

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent


     March 12, 2020

    Dear Parents/Guardians:

    With the recently elevated discussions regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the news, we are aware that information surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly changing. As the situation remains fluid and complex, I am sharing the latest actions the ELCO School District has implemented to keep you informed.

    We continue to monitor information provided by state and national agencies.  This afternoon, Thursday, March 12, Governor Wolf held a press conference and strongly recommended that all Pennsylvanians practice social distancing and refrain from attending events which include a large number of people.

    To that end, we are exercising the utmost caution; the ELCO School District has cancelled the following events within the District:

    • Food Show, scheduled for Friday, March 13 at the Middle School is cancelled;
    • ELCO Foundation Family Science Night, scheduled for Friday March 13 at the Middle School is cancelled; and
    • The Mother-Son Event, scheduled for Saturday, March 14 at the Intermediate School is cancelled.

    On Friday, March 13, I will participate in a webinar led by the Secretary of Education from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and will provide another Global Connect email with additional information regarding our ELCO specific efforts to continue precautionary measures.

    Thank you for your understanding and support as we balance the health and safety of our students and community.

    Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent


     March 10, 2020

    Dear Parent or Guardian:

    As the global outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve quickly, many questions about the impact that the virus may eventually have on school communities are being posed.  Please know that the safety and security of our students and staff are always our top priorities and we are closely monitoring the occurrences of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania and the local area.

    Please note:

    There have been no cases of COVID-19 reported in our school district.

    As outlined in our communication last week on March 2, we have taken steps within the District to maintain a healthy learning and work environment for our students and staff.  Students have received reminders and reviews about preventative measures such as hand washing. Custodians are taking extra care in disinfecting buildings, paying special attention to frequently touched surfaces such as desktops and door handles.  Soap and hand sanitizer dispensers are being kept filled and the District has purchased tissues for use in the classrooms.  Students and staff who appear to be symptomatic are being evaluated by our nurses and sent home as appropriate.

    While we do not currently anticipate school closures, please know that we are working to develop plans and strategies to continue learning should a closing be necessary.  A decision regarding a school closing would not be made lightly and would be done so only after collaboration with the PA Department of Health, the Lebanon County Department of Emergency Services, and the PA Department of Education.  The primary goal of any decisions made will be to preserve the health and safety of students and staff.

    All students and staff are advised to follow the same precautions they normally would in cold and flu season. Below are some important preventative measures which you can review with your child(ren):
     

    • Wash your hands:  Often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners that are at least 60% alcohol are also effective;
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes:  The main way that flu spreads is from person to person in the droplets produced by coughs and sneezes, so it is important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cough/sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands;
    • Do not share personal items such as drinks, food, or utensils;
    • Do not attend school if you are sick:  Any student or staff who is determined to be sick while at school will be sent home;
    • Keep sick individuals at home for at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever or signs or a fever without the use of fever reducing medicine like ibuprofen or acetaminophen; and
    • Monitor travel alerts:  To slow the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is working with state and local public health partners to implement after-travel health precautions. Depending on a person’s travel history, they will be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time they left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread.

    The Administration is considering cancelling/postponing upcoming field trips and scheduled events involving gatherings of large groups of individuals.  Please be advised that cancellation decisions may be made on short notice depending on the destination of the field trip and the specifics of each event. Know that each decision will be made with great care after gathering relevant information.  Your flexibility and understanding will be appreciated.

    You can find up to date information regarding COVID-19 on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the PA Department of Health, and the PA Department of Education websites. These links and other information have been added to our District website HERE.  We are following closely all information and recommendations being provided by these agencies.

    We will continue to provide you with timely updates as this situation evolves over the next several weeks. Thank you for your assistance as we all strive to keep our students, staff, and visitors free of illness in a proactive, responsible manner.

     Julia R. Vicente, ELCO Superintendent


     March 3, 2020

    Dear Parent or Guardian:

    As you are likely aware through media reports, the US is in the midst of flu season and national news outlets are also reporting cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. and other countries. While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in our local communities, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the seasonal flu activity in Pennsylvania continues to be high. We would like to provide you with information regarding how to remain healthy and describe the steps that the ELCO School District is taking to minimize the threat of transmission of illness at school.

    Influenza (flu) is a virus that can spread easily through contact with infected individuals. Flu symptoms can include fever, sore throat, body aches, headache, lack of appetite, chills, fatigue and coughing.  COVID-19 is spread in the same manner as the flu and symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

    We need your help to prevent the spread of illness in our schools. Below are some important preventative measures which you can review with your child(ren):

    • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues;
    • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20seconds (younger children can sing the ABC song), especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after they blow their nose;
    • When soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol;
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
    • Avoid close contact with anyone who displays flu-like symptoms; and
    • If your child exhibits symptoms of illness, please do not send him/her to school, limit contact with others to reduce the chance of infecting them and contact your health care provider.

    Within the District, principals and school nurses in all buildings are aware of the symptoms associated with the onset of the flu as well as COVID-19.  We have instructed staff that students or adults who appear to be symptomatic should be sent to the health room for evaluation.  Additionally, we are requesting that students or staff who develop symptoms stay home and contact their family physician. It is important that children with flu or flu-like symptoms are not sent to school.

    Our custodial staff is ensuring that soap dispensers are filled and taking extra precautions when cleaning and utilizing hospital grade disinfectants.  Brightbill Transportation, our transportation provider, follows established protocols in daily cleaning and disinfecting of vehicles. Over the next few days individual classroom teachers at the elementary level will be reviewing information with students regarding preventative measures such as hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes. At the secondary level, these preventative measures will be reviewed during morning announcements.

    The District will follow recommendations and work closely with federal, state, and local organizations and resources in the event that there would be an outbreak of COVID-19 locally. The District has placed information for families regarding the flu and COVID-19 on our websitewhich outline information about both viruses.  For more information, families can go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

    We will continue to focus on prevention in our schools to maintain a healthy learning environment for all students and staff. Thank you for your assistance as we all strive to keep our students, staff, and visitors free of illness in a proactive, responsible manner.

    Sincerely,

    Julia R. Vicente, Superintendent, ELCO School District