The Week At A Glance
District News

Calendar - Week of Oct. 25

D6-A Playoffs - Varsity Football Home vs Juniata Valley
7p.m. For tickets go to http://www.piaad6.org . Enter the passcode:  PORTAGEAREAFOOTBALL!

Video of Annual ES Halloween Parade

 

                         School is in Session

K-8 - In Person
9-12 Green Team/White Team - Hybrid

10/27/2020 Update

A revised version of the district's Health and Safety Plan has been posted to this web site.  Changes in the plan are in brown text.

10/25/20 Update

Dear Parent/Guardian: 
 
I have recently learned that a member of our elementary school has tested positive for COVID-19. While I cannot share any identifying information of this individual for patient privacy reasons, I feel it is critical to communicate accurate information with our families in a timely manner when a positive case of COVID-19 has been identified and impacts our schools. We, as a district, are sending our best wishes to this member of our school community. 

 

The school district along with the Pennsylvania Department of Health has conducted contact tracing to identify individuals who have may have been in close contact with the individual. Close contact is defined by the medical experts as being within six feet for fifteen minutes or more of the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. The school district has reached out to individuals identified as close contacts. 

 

As per our board-approved Health and Safety Plan, as a result of the positive test, the District has taken the following actions: 

  • Contacted the PA Department of Health. 

  • Worked with the PA DOH to identify individuals who qualified as having had close contact with the infected individual. 

  • Contacted the close contacts to quarantine.  

  • Closed off all areas visited by the individual who tested positive for COVID-19. 

  • Cleaning and disinfecting locations visited by the individual who tested positive with COVID-19. 

 

As a reminder, please keep your child home from school if he/she is feeling ill for any reason. As it relates to COVID-19, the most common symptoms are cough, fever, loss of taste, and shortness of breath. Muscle aches, sore throat, and fatigue are also common. If your child exhibits any of the above-listed symptoms, please consult with your family medical provider immediately. 

 

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increase within the community, if a family member undergoes COVID-19 testing, please keep children home until negative test results are reported.  Students are expected to participate in remote learning if possible.  Please contact the building principal for more information should remote learning becomes necessary 
 
Our highest priority is the health and safety of our students, staff, and community members. Rest assured, we will remain vigilant in following the health protocols we have in place to keep our schools open for in-person instruction. 
 
We face this challenging situation together, and I am grateful for your continued support of our District. 

 

Thank you, 

 

Eric Zelanko, Superintendent 

Portage Area School District 

 

10/22/20 UPDATE:

Dear Student and/or Parent/Guardian:

Opinions vary on how to move forward with school on November 2nd.  COVID-19 is creating plenty of havoc among schools across the area, state and nation. While some are moving forward with a regular school day, others are transitioning to fully remote learning. In our area, the trend is for a return to full face-to-face learning, especially for elementary aged students. In that regard, we have been ahead of the curve.

 At the same time, schools are being forced to transition to remote learning when an incident of the virus appears. While the PA Department of Health was slated to perform contact tracing, that duty is falling on school districts.  It is now our job to inform DOH of those students who have been within six feet of an infected individual for more than 15 minutes. DOH will then officially place those individuals in quarantine. We have also been asked to inform those individuals to self-quarantine as DOH is overwhelmed with making contacts.
 
While our area has been spared the brunt of the virus, we are beginning to see an uptick in the number of cases in our zip code. While not excessive, it indicates the virus is here. As more people are being tested and people are forced inside because of the cooler temperatures, we can expect to see positive cases increase.  According to Dr. Levine at DOH, we have entered the second wave of the pandemic.

Unfortunately, we have to decide about how to proceed.  Regardless of the learning model we select, arrangements must be made very quickly. From the physical spaces to meal preparations, we have less than a week to be ready. Even then, whatever we determine can change in the blink of an eye. 

At last week’s board meeting, I explained some of the options that are available. I hesitated offering a recommendation with so many unknowns. While I want nothing more than to have our students back in their seats at school, there is a risk. One of the greatest impediments is that the physical space within our classrooms makes it impossible to maintain six feet social distancing. However, face coverings, desktop shields, and constant cleaning/disinfecting reduce some of the risk.  While our temperature scans of students using school or personal transportation before entering our facilities was a good preventive measure, the technology doesn’t exist to continue. Instead, we are doing those scans as the students enter the building. By doing so, we increased our risk of students being exposed to the virus from a fellow classmate.

Like so many things in life, the best way to avoid bad things happening is to not participate. If you are afraid of losing money in the stock market, don’t invest. If you don’t want a sunburn, don’t go outside in the sunshine. If you don’t want a speeding ticket, don’t drive over the posted limits. If you want to reduce your chances of getting lung cancer, don’t smoke. If you don’t want exposed to COVID-19, don’t leave your house.  If there was ever a risk/reward situation, this is it. It is up to the individual to determine how much risk they are willing to accept. However, in this situation, students, parents, and staff must live with the decision of the school district.

Taking all of this information into consideration, I made the following recommendations to the board knowing the school district is unable to ensure six feet social distancing of students throughout the building. With no clear answer, the board has agreed to move forward with my plan. Obviously, the ultimate decision rests with the students and parents.

Moving forward on Nov 2nd for the second nine weeks, the plan is:

 

 

K-8 Students
Face to Face Learning


The school district will continue using the protocols established at the start of the school year.  Start times and schedules will be maintained. The exception will be that Wednesdays will be a full day of instruction.

Grades 9-12 Students
Gradual Return to Face to Face instruction

 


Nov 2nd

School will be open five days per week for students in Grades 9-12 who are enrolled in an Admiral Peary vocational program.


IEP students will continue to have the option of attending school five days per week.


Students in Grades 9-12 who have elected a fully remote learning model may continue with that learning model.


All other Grade 9-12 students will remain in hybrid learning although the district will abandon the half-day Wednesdays in favor of a full day. As has been done, Wednesdays will rotate between Green and White teams for those who continue with the hybrid learning model.

Nov 9th

School will be open five days per week for students in Grades 9-12 who are enrolled in an Admiral Peary vocational program.


School will be open five days per week for students in Grades 9 and 10.


Students in Grades 9-12 who have elected a fully remote learning model may continue with that learning model.

 
Those Grade 9 and 10 students who wish to remain in a hybrid learning model will attend school based on the Green/White calendar.


Students in Grades 11 and 12 who are not vocational students will continue with the hybrid learning model as per Green/White calendar.

Nov 16th

School will be open five days per week for all students in Grades 9 thru 12.


Students in Grades 9-12 who have elected a fully remote learning model may continue with that learning model. 


Students in Grades 9 thru 12 who wish to remain in a hybrid learning model will attend school based on the Green/White calendar.

Nov 26th and beyond

School will be open five days per week for all students in Grades 9 thru 12.


Students in Grades 9-12 who have elected a fully remote learning model may continue with that learning model.

 
Students in Grades 9 thru 12 who wish to remain in a hybrid learning model will attend school based on the Green/White calendar.

 

***In the event the district becomes aware of a positive COVID-19 case within the school community, it may be possible classes transition to a fully remote learning model while contact tracing is conducted. Students identified as close contacts will be required to participate in remote learning during their quarantine period.

 

Thank you for your cooperation and support during these difficult times.  -z-

 

Thank you,

Eric Zelanko, Superintendent

Portage Area School District

 

Version 6 Information

Health and Safety Plan v6.0

Updated School Calendar

Click here to submit your questions about the reopening of schools. 

 

 

 

Secret Santa Program

 

The Portage Area School District is once again sponsoring the annual Secret Santa Program, although it may look a little different this year. If you are a family in dire need of assistance to provide a holiday for your children, please call the high school guidance office (736-9636, ext. 1310) by November 16. 

 

 

 

 

Employment Opportunity

 

Are you looking for a work schedule that allows you to be home when your children are home?  Ignite Education Solutions is hiring aides now to work in schools in Portage Area School District.  

Apply today by calling Jona at 814-262-0732 ext. 224 or visit us at

 

Ignite Learning and click on "Apply Now".

 

 

School Phone Number:  814-736-9636
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