Communication / Updates
January 27, 2021Due to the number of positive COVID cases at the High School, the district is adhering to the guidelines issued by PDE regarding recommendation for temporary closure of a building due to significant and/or widespread outbreak. As a result, the High School only will move to full remote learning for the remainder of this week. This will allow time for cleaning areas where cases may have spent time and for public health staff to conduct contact tracing.The High School will return to the Hybrid instructional model on Monday, February 1, 2021.Thank you for your continued flexibility as we navigate these difficult times.
District Moves to Remote Learning Starting Dec. 1, 2020
Dear Highlands Families,
The Highlands Task Force for Reopening Schools met on Monday, November 23, 2020 to review recent data related to the influx of COVID cases in Allegheny County. We also discussed the recent recommendation from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) that school districts in Allegheny County should move to Full Remote Learning due to the County designation of “substantial” transmission for COVID cases.
After reviewing Pennsylvania and Allegheny County’s COVID data, and the current number of positive COVID cases in Highlands School District, the Task Force has made the difficult decision to transition to full remote learning for all students beginning Tuesday, December 1, 2020 through Friday, January 15, 2021. (Please note start date is Dec. 1, not Dec. 2 as the phone call stated.)
Students who are currently participating in our HVA program will continue as normal. Students transitioning from the hybrid model to full remote, will participate the same way they did during their remote learning days by logging into their google classrooms. Teachers will be providing both synchronous and asynchronous learning during this time. The Task Force Committee will meet shortly after the holiday season to review COVID data. The goal is to return to a hybrid model or more in-person instruction for the start of the second semester. All extracurricular activities and sports are suspended during this time.
During the holiday season, we ask that you remain diligent with following Allegheny County’s most recent advisory so that our students and staff can return to in-person teaching and learning as quickly as possible after the holiday break. This includes avoiding any social gatherings and outings with extended family and friends and wearing face coverings at all times. If possible, avoid traveling over the holiday season, and if you do, consider quarantining for 14 days upon your return if you’ve traveled to one of the identified hot spots.
Students will be directed to take all school supplies home with them on Tuesday, November 24 and Wednesday, November 25 so that they have the necessary resources to be successful during the full remote learning period. The district will remain in close communication throughout this time and keep you updated on any changes.
As always, we appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we continue to navigate through this COVID challenge. We will get through this difficult time as long as we continue to work together as a school and community.
I wish you all a healthy and safe holiday season!
Dr. Monique Mawhinney, Superintendent
November 25, 2020 - UPDATED Travel Order from PA Department of Health
November 23, 2020 - Recommendations for Pre-K to 12 Schools Following Identification of COVID-19 Case(s) (updated 11/23/20)
November 23, 2020 - Universal Face Coverings Order Update
November 18, 2020 - Covid-19 Stay-At-Home to Stop Social Gatherings Advisory
Update: August 21, 2020
The following document features frequently asked questions about COVID-19 exposure at school or child care centers: FAQ COVID-19 Exposure
Update: August 17, 2020
As you know, the health and safety of Pennsylvania’s school communities is top priority, and the guidance we release to support and maintain the health and safety of school communities is rooted in science, data, and research. As more data and research becomes available, the information that becomes guidance must evolve – something we’ve shared with you since we began releasing reopening guidance.
Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released an update to their guidance strongly recommending children age two and older should wear face coverings at all times to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Prior guidance we released in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) stated students in schools could remove their face coverings as long as six feet of social distancing could be maintained. Given this recent change from the AAP, and consistent with the Secretary of Health’s Face Covering Order issued on July 1, 2020, DOH is requiring students wear face coverings at all times while in school, even when six feet of social distancing can be achieved. There are limited exceptions.
Matthew Stem |Deputy Secretary
Department of Education | Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
333 Market Street | Harrisburg PA 17126
www.education.pa.gov Facebook: www.facebook.com/PADepartmentofEducation Twitter: @PADeptofEd
Update: August 10, 2020: Student Schedules, Assignments Now Available
Update: July 30, 2020: Important Information for Parents
Update: July 13, 2020: Task Force Letter to Parents Regarding Reopening Plans This letter was also mailed to all families the week of July 13, 2020.
Update: July 8, 2020
I hope this message finds everyone staying safe and healthy. I know many parents are anxious about your children and their return to school in the Fall. More importantly, you want to know what the district’s plan is for returning our students to school. Please know that the Highlands Task Force for Reopening Schools has been working hard behind the scenes to develop a Health and Safety Plan that adheres to the requirements set forth by PDE and the CDC guidelines. As you are aware, just recently, the Governor put more restrictions in place that orders all of Pennsylvanians above the age of 2 years old to wear masks both indoors and outdoors while maintaining 6 feet distance. This new order applies to all school districts in PA as well.
As you can see, these ever-changing orders and requirements will require school districts to constantly revise their Health and Safety Plans in order to be in compliance with these changes. The Task Force is working hard to draft a plan that can be shared with parents and students soon, so that families can begin to plan and prepare for their children to return to school in the fall. Our number one goal is to get students back to school while maintaining the health and safety of all students and staff. On behalf of the Task Force, I thank you all for your patience and cooperation as we continue to work towards this goal. Please continue to visit our website frequently within the next several weeks as this is where all information will be posted related to our Reopening Plans.
Dr. Monique Mawhinney, Superintendent