Latest PUCS COVID-19 Notes
Hello PUCS Parents and Guardians,
Thank you all for enduring with us these recent few additional weeks of remote learning. Thank you for supporting your students. That is hard work but a crucial help to teachers as well as for your students. I hope you can relax together during this upcoming Christmas Break.
PUCS Board decided yesterday to keep PUCS in remote instruction mode at least until January 15. They will meet January 4th to decide next steps. Watch for a PUCS Post coming out today with other updates. I will be available through Christmas Break for your concerns and questions. Don’t hesitate to email or call me.
I have been praying for us all to be able to get a covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible and for us to be able to return to in person instruction as soon as possible. I am also praying for those who will be alone during the holidays. And I am praying for those without jobs. Our national culture is in a time of great uncertainty and times like these give opportunity to consider what we worship instead of the Great King who is coming. The Great King coming is our ultimate certainty. Love for Him enables us to love each other.
On November 14, 2020 PUCS Board decided that we should return to remote teaching and learning on November 23. We will continue this until positivity numbers and other COVID-19 data points indicate it is safe in Allegheny County to shift to in person teaching and learning. At the time of the Board decision, PUCS had no reported cases and there has been just 1 since. We urge the larger PUCS community and all of our Pittsburgh neighbors to think of others’ safety for the general public good.
PUCS Reopening Plan – 10/8/2020
Parents will have a choice for in-person or remote instruction starting October 27, 2020.
Teachers will continue online instruction through Tuesday, October 20th. There will be no school between October 21st –
26th as teachers prepare for in-person instruction. Beginning October 27, 2020, PUCS will move to the PUCS Together
phase, offering the choice between in-person instruction or remote instruction for students in all grades.
PUCS Covid-19 Policy Update – 9/28/2020
I so enjoy our PUCS culture of casualness and loving interaction. This pandemic has limited that. However, as Allegheny County is lessening Covid restrictions, I need to clarify our school policies regarding building restrictions for the sake of all of us but especially for those most at risk.
- Children should not be in either building (809 Center or 813 South) unless they are supervised by school personnel for brief restroom use.
- Parents and guardians needing to pick up or exchange electronics should make an appointment with office personnel to do so. Whenever possible we will try to make the exchange in the space between the doors (809) or on the porch (813).
- If you have any reason to think that you or your child have had close contact (see below) with a person who has tested positive for covid, please do not enter PUCS buildings or participate in “in person” events for 14 days.
- If your family meets with other families for play dates without masks (even outside), please consider that you may be putting classmates and teachers at risk for Covid exposure when your student participates in “in person” class meetings.
- Covid courtesy means direct questions adult to adult about possible contagion. Please refrain from involving children. When we are contacted by the county health department or someone who has tested positive we will get that information out to all potential close contacts very quickly.
From the Allegheny County Health Department:
“A close contact is someone that you have been within six (6) feet of for 15 minutes or more, even if masked, during that time period. You [as someone who has tested positive] will be asked to provide a name and phone number for those individuals, as well as the date you had contact with that person. You will also want to reach out to those contacts now. They will need to quarantine for 14 days beginning immediately and will also be contacted by the Health Department….
If you have been advised that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus, the most important action is to stay home unless you are seeking medical care. You will be required to quarantine for 14 days since the date of contact. If you have not been notified by the person who is positive, the Health Department cannot tell you who the positive case is as this is private health information that may not be disclosed by law. A representative of the Health Department will contact you to discuss your exposure. You will be required to stay home for your full quarantine. It will also be suggested that you get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms. Find a drive-thru testing site so you do not expose others. You can use the Testing Site Locations map to identify the closest locations. Do not take public transportation or utilize any other shared form of transportation (ride share, taxi, etc.). If you need assistance with transportation, please contact the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-856-2774. A negative test does not indicate that you can be released from quarantine but does provide better information to manage your care. While in quarantine, you should remain separated from others and limit movement outside of your home unless you are seeking medical care. If you need any services or assistance while in quarantine, you can call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-856-2774.”
PUCS Reopening Plan – August 2020
Dear PUCS Families,
We thank all of you who responded to our reopening survey with many thoughtful suggestions as we discern how to deal with the unprecedented challenges facing us. At PUCS, we value each other. We value our students, our faculty, our staff, our families, we value our entire community. We desire nothing more than to be together face to face; however, given the current circumstances, that can only be done with great care and significant restrictions.
Over the past three months the PUCS Administration and Board has sought to put together a reopening plan that both balances the learning needs of our children and safeguards the health and safety of our school community. Toward that end, we have developed the following phased approach toward reopening school. Given the conditions in Allegheny County projected to last into the beginning of the school year, we will be starting with PUCS Online. We will operate according to this plan until the end of September, at which point we will re-evaluate the situation, and will continue to do so monthly throughout the academic year.
All policy questions regarding tuition will be answered after the next board meeting on August 12th. Feel free to contact us after this date if you have any questions.
We will be guided by the same metrics as the state of Pennsylvania in making our operating decisions. Specifically, more than 50 cases per 100,000 is considered “High,” 15-50 per 100,000 is considered “Moderate” and below 15 per 100,000 for at least two weeks is considered “Low.” In addition, we will consider the situation specific to the PUCS community, particularly if school has partially or fully reopened; if infections are spreading within our community we may move back to a more remote operating plan even if conditions in the county are not as severe.
Below is an overview of each level of operation. Many more details will be forthcoming on how issues related to health and safety will be handled once we fully reopen.
PUCS Online will include both synchronous and asynchronous online distance teaching and assigned learning activities that are off screen.
- Attendance will be taken during all online class meetings.
- Assessment of student work will be conducted in the same way as in-person instruction, where teachers will still provide regular progress reporting.
- Spanish and Music instruction will be delivered at least once a week in elementary; Spanish will be delivered more frequently in middle school.
- Optional outdoor activities are being planned for early September and will be offered periodically during the remote instruction.
- Technology will be provided to families that need it. Students should not be trying to participate with cell phones. As parents and guardians support their students in remote learning, PUCS administration will be available to help ensure that students are fully enabled for sustained participation. Parents should contact email@example.com with any technology needs.
PUCS Limited: Under this plan, we will phase in instruction of our youngest students in grades PreK, K and 1. These are the students who struggled the most with the move to remote learning in Spring 2020 and who would benefit most from in- person interaction with teachers. Older students will continue with PUCS Online. Within this plan, there will be a number of health and safety precautions adopted:
- Students will work in small, isolated groups of 9-10 students.
- Masks will be worn with breaks and student seating will be 6 feet apart.
- PUCS is preparing for continual sanitizing of frequently used surfaces with EPA -approved solutions.
- Weather permitting, teachers will use outdoor space as much as possible.
- Spanish and Music will continue to be delivered by Zoom to limit the physical mixing of teachers with different groups of kids. As usual, lunch will take place in classrooms.
- Recess will be in classroom groups either at Ferguson Park or the side lawn at our 813 middle school property.
PUCS Together: Under this plan, we will phase in in-person instruction for grades 2-8.
- All of the precautions listed for “PUCS Limited” will remain in place
Many more detailed guidelines will be forthcoming regarding how reopening will be handled as we move to that phase. An appendix of instructions on COVID protocols will be provided in an email on Monday, August 10th, along with answers to FAQs. This information will also be posted on the PUCS website and updated in real time with any additions or changes. In the meantime, let’s continue to pray together for health and peace in our community as we face together the uncertainties surrounding this pandemic.
Thank you for you patience and understanding. In spite of the challenges this pandemic brings, we are looking forward to seeing what new and creative opportunities arise from it.
Don Belt, President of the Board
and the entire PUCS Board of Directors
PUCS Reopening Plan Guidelines – August 2020
Hello PUCS Families,
As our last email promised we are sending this appendix of instructions on COVID protocols along with answers to FAQs. This information will also be posted on the PUCS website, https://pucs.org/, and updated in real time with additions or changes. Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further COVID protocol questions that have not been addressed.
We are all excited to have some decisions finalized. Teachers are creating schedules for online instruction and making plans for voluntary “in person” meetings. Please continue to pray with us for the continuing creative teaching and curious learning that is the heartbeat of PUCS.
Don Belt, President of the Board
and the entire PUCS Board of Directors