Together we can
School District of Lancaster Back to School Plan

Our phased return to in-person instruction

Health and safety are foremost in your minds—and in ours, too. That is why our school board decided to begin this school year with at-home full remote learning. Now, the school board has authorized us to begin welcoming our students and staff back into their classrooms for teaching and learning. Students will be grouped in phases, which will be announced soon.

We recognize how important it is for us to bring students back safely. Our plan is based on specific guidance from the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics. We also collaborated with local health providers at Lancaster General Health and practicing physicians in our community, including three who served on our Health and Welfare priority team.

Message from the superintendent

For the School District of Lancaster, the health and safety of our students and staff has long been our top priority. In an abundance of caution, our school board chose to begin the 2020-2021 academic year virtually, with all students participating in at-home learning. However, it remains our goal to return students to their classrooms as soon as it is safely possible to do so.

We are closely monitoring COVID-19 data from Lancaster County, including the positivity rate of COVID tests and the incidence of diagnoses per 100,000 residents. We have established targets for these based on guidance from health authorities.

View Health Data

At the same time, we need to balance this health data with academic considerations to ensure we are meeting the needs of our students. These considerations include our ability to deliver instruction and services remotely, the efficacy of our online instruction and the level of student engagement with online learning. Answers to these questions vary by student group.

That is why we established a multi-phased plan to return to limited in-person instruction. The plan prioritizes students for whom a virtual setting is most challenging to our instructional ability. We have not established a timeline for return; however, we will give our community at least a two-week notice before students are expected to return to the classroom.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us in unique ways, but we are committed to making this a safe and successful school year.

We are all in this together. And Together We Can!

Warm regards,

Dr. Damaris Rau
Superintendent of Schools

Teaching & Learning will look different. And families have options.

When we return to school, our board has approved a “blended” approach, which will combine some in-person instruction and some at home learning for all students each week. To help families, our community partners are stepping up to provide childcare to families in need. Not sure about in-person instruction? Consider our Cyber Pathways Academy.

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We are committed to the health and welfare of our students and staff.

Working together, by monitoring ourselves and our children for illness and responding quickly to isolate potential COVID-19 cases, we can keep each other safe and minimize disruptions to learning.

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We're enhancing our disinfecting and cleaning protocols everywhere.

Providing peace of mind is vital as we return to our buildings. That’s why cleaning our schools is a top priority. We’ve increased our custodial staff and brought in new cleaning technology to remove dirt, dust and germs from surfaces in our schools. Plus, we’re limiting visitors and monitoring contacts every day.

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We are ready to adjust our plan, when needed.

We remain hopeful there will soon be a time when we can bring all students back, all day. Our teachers are ready to implement a hybrid, or “blended” model of instruction. And they will continue to refine and improve online learning. We are committed to maintaining a high level of instruction.