August 31, 2021
As you are now likely aware, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has issued an order mandating masks in public, private, and charter schools starting on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. As a school district, we recognize that there are many arguments related to the wearing or not wearing of masks in schools. However, this order is not optional. Effective September 7, 2021, all students attending in person instruction at all schools in Armstrong School District will be required to wear a mask as will all building faculty and staff. Additional information related to the mask order can be found here.
The safety of students and staff continues to be our first priority. Armstrong School District will adhere to the course of action established over last year regarding the continuation of in person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year based on recommendations from our Health Advisory Committee which includes doctors, other health professionals, board members, and parents. We continue to evaluate two factors that could force us to temporarily close a building(s):
COVID-19 cases in our community have steadily increased over the last few weeks. This increase is being reflected in our schools as well. On day five of school in Armstrong School District, there is evidence of in-school spread of Covid in two school buildings with ten (6 at West Shamokin HS and 4 at West Hills Intermediate School) total cases. These numbers are significant, and approaching the threshold at which school buildings must be temporarily closed in the interest of safety. Many students found to be in close contact with these positive cases have been quarantined as required by the PA Department of Health for students who are not vaccinated.
We are not closing any buildings at this time. However, the sharp increases in positive Covid cases among our students is concerning and may result in temporary closure of 1 or more buildings as early as this week. We will continue to regularly evaluate data for each school building individually relative to any closures.
We respectfully ask that the community join us in this effort by adhering health and safety protocols.
Chris M. DeVivo
Superintendent of Schools
Armstrong School District