What's Happening

Superintendent's Message: 
September 3, 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians of the Olympian Community, 


On August 31, 2021, Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Acting Secretary of the PA Department of Health issued an order requiring masks to be worn inside all K-12 school buildings (public and private), as well as childcare facilities, in Pennsylvania beginning Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

This order takes effect when students return to school on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

• All individuals upon entering Jim Thorpe Area School District buildings will be required to wear masks while indoors and on school transportation.

• At this time, the order does not apply to school sports or outdoor activities.

• Exceptions to the masking requirement are explicitly outlined in Section 3 of the order requiring masks.

Our teachers will be sure to provide students with socially distanced mask breaks throughout the day, and we will continue practicing other mitigation measures to limit the transmission of COVID-19. The District recognizes that this announcement brings relief to some and challenges for others. We ask that we join together to help keep our school community safe and our kids in school.

For more information about the PA Department of Health’s order, please visit the Department of Education’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

References:

The Administrative Code of 1929

Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955


The Jim Thorpe Area School District plans to reopen school for a second time during this global pandemic with the intentions of going to school at normal start times/end times and for (5) five full school days each week.  It is important to note that as we expect the pandemic to directly affect our students and staff, a plan is in place that adheres to the CDC and the PA Department of Health guidelines for managing students and staff who report that they are COVID-19 positive and/or have been exposed.  As expected, contact tracing will be conducted at the schools. 

In this message, my goal is to share with the Jim Thorpe Area families the plans for the upcoming school year.  Please read this message in its entirety for important information about reopening school on September 2, 2021: 

 

  • Prior to arrival at school:  We are asking for parents/families to monitor students for COVID-19 symptoms and keep students at home if students are sick.
  • Dress code for students:  Student dress is the same as 2020-2021 school year with no uniforms.  Clothing must not be overtly tight, must not have holes or rips, and must not contain any inappropriate subject matter or sayings.  Clothing must be of modest cut and length.
  • Bus transportation: No congregating at bus stops; all students and drivers must wear a mask on the school busBuses are operating at full capacity; Students should be in assigned seats with seating chart determined by the bus driver; Siblings of family members will be seated together when possible.
  • Student arrival:  Schools will utilize separate entrances for grade levels where appropriate; No temperature screening; Hand sanitizers available at entrances, hallways and classrooms; Students are encouraged to wash their hands upon arrival. HS 7:30 a.m. - PK/LB 8:30 a.m.
  • Breakfast:  Grab and go at doors and eaten in the classroom.
  • Mask wearing:  As per the state order of August 31, all staff, students, and visitors must wear a mask indoors on school property.  When masks or shields are worn, they are to be worn correctly, covering the mouth and nose at all times. Mask breaks should be provided to those students wearing masks. Masks and/or face shields will be provided for those staff or students who require them.
  • Classrooms: Physical distancing shall be established to the greatest extent possible; Classroom furniture will be limited to maximize space. Desks should be arranged so students are all facing the same directionDesk shields are expected to be used in the classroomsUV sanitizer lights should be used to disinfect shared equipment and surfaces on a frequent basis; Hand sanitizer will be provided in the classroom as needed; Frequent handwashing and proper hygiene will be taught and encouragedPosters and messaging in regards to proper hygiene and COVID-19 mitigation will be placed around the schools.
  • Schedules: Class sizes will be kept as small as feasible. Students may move to their classes such as physical education, art or musicStudents may be kept in cohorts, as feasible.
  • Hallways and Stairs:  One-way directional traffic will be used where appropriate and feasible to minimize cross traffic and transmission spread. Use of water bottles and touchless water bottle dispensers will be allowed.
  • Cafeteria/Lunch:  Students will use the serving lines and eat in the cafeteria. Lunches will be provided at zero cost, though ala carte items will be available for separate purchase. Shields will be placed to divide the cafe tables and allow students to sit across from each other. Maximize physical distancing to the greatest extent possible. Ala carte purchases will be allowed in a controlled mannerTransactions will be cashless.  IDs will be used to scan and identify students with lunch purchases.
  • Recess & Outside Spaces:  No masks are needed in outdoor spaces as transmission spread risk outside is very minimal.
  • Dismissal: Pickup Patrol will be used to manage student dismissal and pickup traffic; Dismissal times: HS 2:25PM - LB/PK: 3:20PM
  • Custodial:  Ventilation will be increased with outside air circulation to the greatest extent feasible. High traffic areas will be cleaned frequently. Enhanced cleaning measures will be taken when necessary due to contact tracing protocols. Regular cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting will be done in all areas. Hand sanitizer stations will be distributed throughout the schools.
  • Nurses and Trainer Areas:  Masks must be worn upon the nurses’ or trainers’ request. Students needing quarantine will be isolated until they can be picked up.
  • Field trips: My goal is to see field trips return for the 2021-2022 school year; Hopefully, field trips will be allowed with prior approval and full understanding and adherence to the COVID-19 protocols of the destination. Masks must be worn on school buses and vans on all field trips and away games.
  • Concerts and events: Once again, the goal is to see concerts and events return to the schools.  They will planned to be held as normal following COVID-19 mitigation protocols. Capacity limits may be needed as conditions dictate.
  • Special Education: Meetings will be held remotely whenever feasible with use of Google Meet, Power School Special Programs and DocuSign platforms.
  • Technology: iPads and laptops may go home at any grade level whenever appropriateDamage fees will be increased to $50 for iPads and $100 for MacBook Air laptops.  No insurance premium will be charged during the pandemic.
  • Staff & Parent Communication: Parents will be informed regularly as to the transmission spread status of the county and district so that they make informed decisions. Parents will be notified when there has been a COVID-19 case in the school districtParents will notify the school should there be a positive test for COVID-19 or exposure for their student.
  • Contact tracing:  The pandemic coordinator, Dr. Joe Brown, will be informed should there be a suspected COVID-19 exposure or positive case reported; PA DOH quarantine protocols will be followed. 

This list is a good start to prepare students and families for the beginning of the school year.  I expect to be sharing more information with the Jim Thorpe Area community as we go deeper into the school year.  Should you have any questions regarding your child’s schedule, safety of the classroom or school, or how the district will mitigate the risks of COVID-19 exposure, please feel free to contact the school office. We are looking forward to getting back to the business of education and teaching your child. 

Please stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

John Rushefski

Superintendent of Schools


JTASD 2021-22 Health and Safety Plan

This plan has been approved the the JTASD Board of Education and by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. COVID-19 mitigation measures, such as mask wearing, cleaning, ventilation and physical distancing are all addressed within the report.

JTASD Health and Safety Plan

 

Jim Thorpe Area School District Reopening Plan 21-22

Schedules: Based on current conditions, the district is opening at full capacity on a normal operating schedule. The district will be operating under the revised 21-22 Health and Safety plan that has been approved by the JTASD Board of Education.


OLC Remote Learning Option

The district is partnering with eLearn21 to provide a remote learning option for students so that they may remain within the Olympian community. Details concerning this program can be found at the website link here Those interested in this option can submit a contact form on the OLC website's main page or contact the school office. 
  

Transportation: Bus routes and schedules have been  developed, reviewed and modified to best meet the social distancing guidelines outlined in the Health and Safety plan, with a normal operating bus capacity.  Please note that students must wear a mask while riding on the school bus as per CDC guidelines. Parents are encouraged to drive their student to school if they feel more comfortable doing so. For parent pick up of students from school at the K-8 schools, the district will be using a  program called PickUp Patrol to ensure a safe and efficient process.

School Cafeteria: All school lunches will be zero cost this school year. Please see this letter for more details concerning school lunches for the 2021-22 school year. All families are asked to complete the free and reduce eligibility form this year.
SchoolCafe, the new school lunch payment system has replaced MySchoolBucks. Parents are asked to sign up for an account, complete the free and reduced lunch eligibility application, and make deposits for their child’s lunch payments at the following website:
https://www.schoolcafe.com/jtasd.  You can also download the SchoolCafe app for iOS or Android to complete these tasks.
Also, please note that transactions for school lunches will be cashless, but checks, cash and money orders will be accepted in a sealed envelope clearly labeled with your child’s name, and should be handed to a Food Service team member at the breakfast station, or school office

Technology Distribution: In consideration of the economic impact of the pandemic, insurance premiums are being waived for the use of the technology. Should there be an issue resulting in damage to the iPad or computer, the insurance deductible requirements will still apply.

Should you have any questions regarding your child’s schedule, safety of the classroom or school, or how the district will mitigate the risks of COVID-19 exposure, please feel free to contact the school office. We are looking forward to getting back to the business of education and teaching your child, whether it be in-person or remotely.  Please stay safe and healthy.

Livestream Policy
Parents and students are
asked to review the district's livestream policy and adhere to the policy as well as the district's acceptable use policy.

 

JTASD COVID-19 Response Resource Page







 


    REMOTE LEARNING LINKS



    Technology Support

    If you are experiencing an issue with your student iPad or MacBook Air laptop, please complete the tech support request below for your school. All efforts will be made to reply within one school day. 

    Jim Thorpe Area High School
    Support formhttps://forms.gle/9LQCRy4PvTKauqvG9
    Computer technician: Stacey Tomko

    L. B. Morris School:
     
      Support form: https://forms.gle/D7VNRC6SAqUfdZNx8
    Computer technician: Wes Hurley

    Penn-Kidder Campus: 
    Support form: https://forms.gle/fypaPDRrFF9zJJRV9
    Computer technician: Orell Gaynor

    If you are unable to complete the form, please contact Jerome Brown, Director of Technology & Information Services at jbrownjr@jtasd.org or at 570-325-5139.

    Olympian Way

    Check out our new YouTube channel highlighting  Jim Thorpe Area School District pride and keeping everyone's spirit up.  There are teacher messages to students, story-reading, and much more to come.