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Conditions for Resuming In-Person Instruction

In May 2020, the CDC released two documents to assist states and local education agencies (LEA) in planning for a gradual scale up and eventual reopening of schools: the Schools Decision Tree and the Interim Guidance for Schools and Day Camps. These documents along with guidelines from DOH and the aforementioned Process to Reopen Pennsylvania provide the foundation for this guidance from PDE.

​Red Phase
  • Schools remain closed for in-person instruction and all instruction must be provided via remote learning, whether using digital or non-digital platforms.
  • Provisions for student services such as school meal programs will continue.

​Yellow Phase
  • Schools may provide in-person instruction after developing a written Health and Safety Plan, securing approval by each school entity's governing body (i.e., board of directors) and posting this plan on the school or district's publicly available website. The plan must include the following:
    • Identification of a "pandemic coordinator" and/or "pandemic team" with defined roles and responsibilities for health and safety preparedness and response planning;
    • Steps to protect children and staff at higher risk for severe illness;
    • Processes for monitoring students and staff for symptoms and history of exposure;
    • Steps to take in relation to isolation or quarantine when a staff member, child, or visitor becomes sick or demonstrates a history of exposure;
    • Guidelines for when an isolated or quarantined staff member, child, or visitor may return to school;
    • Guidelines for hygiene practices for students and staff which include the manner and frequency of hand-washing and other best practices;
    • Guidelines on the use of face coverings (masks or face shields) by all staff;
    • Guidelines on the use of face coverings (masks or face shields) for older students, as appropriate;
    • Expectations for the posting of signs in highly visible locations, that promote everyday protective measures, and how to stop the spread of germs;
    • Procedures for cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and ventilating learning spaces, surfaces, and any other areas used by students (i.e., restrooms, drinking fountains, hallways, and transportation);
    • Protocols for classroom/learning space occupancy that allow for 6 feet of separation among students and staff throughout the day to the maximum extent feasible;
    • Procedures for restricting the use of cafeterias and other congregate settings, and serving meals in alternate settings such as classrooms;
    • Protocols for sporting activities consistent with the CDC Considerations for Youth Sports for recess, and physical education classes (guidance for organized school sports will be published separately);
    • Schedules for training all faculty and staff on the implementation of the Health and Safety Plans before providing services to students; and
    • System for ensuring ongoing communication with families around the elements of the local Health and Safety Plan including ways that families can practice safe hygiene in the home.

  • Each Health and Safety Plan should also include the following to the extent possible:
    • Methods of limiting the number of individuals in classrooms and other learning spaces, and interactions between groups of students;
    • Methods of staggering the use of communal spaces and hallways and ensuring regular cleaning;
    • Procedures to limit the sharing of materials among students;
    • Processes for identifying and restricting non-essential visitors and volunteers;
    • Protocols for adjusting transportation schedules and practices to create social distance between students; and
    • Processes to communicate and coordinate with local child care regarding on site care, transportation protocol changes, and when possible, revised hours of operation or modified school-year calendars.

Additional steps required to adhere to the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public;

​Green Phase
  • Schools may provide in-person instruction after developing a written Health and Safety Plan, securing approval by each school entity's governing body (i.e., board of directors) and posting the plan on the school or district's publicly available website. The plan must include the following:
    • Identification of a "pandemic coordinator" and/or "pandemic team" with defined roles and responsibilities for health and safety preparedness and response planning;
    • Steps to protect children and staff at higher risk for severe illness;
    • Steps to take in relation to isolation or quarantine when a staff member, child or visitor becomes sick or demonstrates a history of exposure;
    • Expectations for the posting of signs in highly visible locations, that promote everyday protective measures and how to stop the spread of germs;
    • Procedures for cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and ventilating learning spaces;
    • Procedures for the safe use of cafeterias and other congregate settings;
    • Protocols for sporting activities consistent with the CDC Considerations for Youth Sports for recess and physical education classes (guidance for organized school sports will be published separately);
    • Schedules for training all faculty and staff on the implementation of the Health and Safety Plan.
    • System for ensuring ongoing communication with families around the elements of the local Health and Safety Plan including ways that families can practice safe hygiene in the home.

  • Each Health and Safety Plan may also include the following to the extent possible:
    • Guidelines for hygiene practices for students and staff;
    • Guidelines on the use of face coverings (masks or face shields) by staff and students;
    • Protocols for classroom/learning space occupancy that allow for 6 feet of separation among students and staff throughout the day when appropriate;
    • Methods of limiting the number of individuals in classrooms and other learning spaces, and interactions between groups of students;
    • Methods of staggering the use of communal spaces and hallways and ensuring regular cleaning;
    • Procedures to limit the sharing of materials among students;
    • Processes for identifying and restricting non-essential visitors and volunteers;
    • Protocols for adjusting transportation schedules and practices to create social distance between students; and
    • Processes to communicate and coordinate with local child care regarding on site care, transportation protocol changes, and when possible, revised hours of operation or modified school-year calendars.
    • Additional steps required to adhere to the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public