Coronavirus Updates

The School District of Lancaster is committed to providing our families and community with regular and timely updates on COVID-19, or Coronavirus. All district updates are published on a dedicated webpage on this site.

Coronavirus Updates

Video Message from Dr. Rau

April 9, 2020 @ 5 p.m.

Rather than write another lengthy email, Dr. Rau recorded a video message with her thoughts on the school closure and what it means for our students—especially seniors—our staff, and our families.

We also encourage you to view our student artwork! SDoL students participated in a contest to design ads promoting participation in the 2020 census.  Click here to vote on the winners. And remember, everybody benefits when everybody participates in the census!

For those celebrating Passover and Easter, best wishes for a restful and inspiring holiday weekend.

Expectations for remote learning; meal distribution continues Thursday

April 3, 2020 @ 5 p.m.

This is an update on our educational continuity plan and continuation of services during our prolonged closure. I fervently hope all of you are safe, healthy and able to remain at home with your families during these trying times.

Remote learning. Students in grades 6-12 should have received a district-issued iPad or laptop this week (last chance pickup Monday at MS, Wednesday at HS) or have a personal computer or tablet they can use for online learning. Learning activities have been posted on-line for all students. These activities will assist students in understanding how to use technology for remote learning. Teachers will be connecting with students next week and providing more information about the work students are to do. Once students and teachers get oriented to this new learning environment, we expect students to complete lessons and homework that teachers will assign. You can anticipate the first graded assignments to begin on or about April 21.

Students in grades K-5 will receive work packets in the mail next week. Packets will also be available online for download. We have also posted a set of student expectations on our website.

Calendar update. April 9, 13 and 28 will all be regular (remote) work days for our staff, so students should be prepared to engage in online and at-home learning those days as well. April 10 and May 25 remain holidays. Whether or not we are able to return this year, we do not anticipate having school days for students or teachers beyond June 12.

Food distribution. Next week, meals will be available on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon at the same five sites in our district. Note the change in day from this week, which will allow more time for delivery of additional safety materials for our staff. Power Packs will also be available for pickup (registration required: English / Spanish) at this time. Please also join me in offering heartfelt thanks and admiration to the members of our food services team, who continue to faithfully serve our students amid this pandemic.

As always, we appreciate your continued understanding and support.

Schools "closed indefinitely," online learning to begin

March 31, 2020 @ 6 p.m.

As you probably know, on Monday Gov. Wolf announced that all Pennsylvania schools will be “closed indefinitely,” casting doubt on our ability to resume regular operations this academic year. We want to update you on what we know, what we do not know and how we plan to continue teaching and learning during this uncertain time.

This week, we began distributing devices and materials to seniors to resume their learning remotely. Our distribution continues for all students in grades 6-12 this week. See a full schedule. Please note: Students in grade 9 who were issued iPads at the beginning of the year and who need to collect their iPads (only) from their locker should report to the East cafeteria during senior pickup. From there, a team member will assist.

Middle Schools are beginning distribution on Wednesday, April 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. See schedule by grade.

It is our preference that students use an SDoL-issued device to ensure connectivity and access to applications. If you feel more comfortable with your home device, please check with your child’s teacher to ensure it will serve your needs.

At this time, our online instruction will provide enrichment and review, meaning we will not cover new content or assign graded work. However, students are expected to participate. We need to quickly become comfortable with online learning, as we expect to move into direct instruction at some point as our teachers become more familiar with on-line teaching.

We know many of you have additional questions for what online learning will look like, how we will monitor attendance and what this means for the conclusion of this school year. Again, we ask for your patience. We plan to provide more concrete answers on these issues by Friday.

As always, we appreciate your continued understanding and support.

Student device distribution next week

March 27 @ 8 p.m.

This is an update on the School District of Lancaster’s Educational Continuity Plan and meal distribution during this prolonged closure of our schools. You are probably aware that today Gov. Wolf ordered Lancaster County residents to stay in their homes. However, the order allows you to travel “to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning [and/or] for receiving meals.”

Beginning next week, we will provide one week’s worth of breakfast and lunch every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon at JP McCaskey, Hamilton, Hand, Reynolds and Carter & MacRae. This further reduces exposure of our staff and families to pick up meals. Please visit our website for more information.

Also beginning next week, we will begin distributing devices and materials for our secondary students to engage with curriculum online and at home, supported by our teachers. At this time, remote instruction will provide enrichment and review, not new content. No grading will occur during this time. We believe this framework provides the most equitable opportunities for students in SDoL.

Our academic priority is to ensure our high school students are earning necessary credits to graduate. Our school counselors are currently auditing all high school student credit records so we know where everyone stands. We are providing specific communication to seniors and their families on these issues.

Students in grades 6-12 will receive enrichment and review instruction online, using school-issued electronic devices. Devices will be distributed beginning March 30 for seniors and continuing through April 9. For kindergarten through fifth grade, we will provide printed materials for students beginning April 6. Elementary teachers are eager to begin contacting students, if they have not already! Look for more communications from your child’s teacher next week.

Click here for a full schedule and more information.

 We ask for your continued patience as we build this model to meet the needs of everyone in our school district. We wish you all a restful weekend.

Governor orders schools closed an additional two weeks

March 23, 2020 @ 4:15 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced today that all schools in the commonwealth will remain closed for an additional two weeks as a result of the COVID-19 response efforts. The department also said the closure order could be extended if necessary to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.

We have been planning for this eventuality. We are working this week to finalize the logistics of an Educational Continuity Plan for our students and staff, which includes device access for students to engage in online curriculum.

Due to the magnitude of this undertaking, we are prioritizing access for seniors, including students with IEPs or English language needs. The first phase of our plan involves collaborating with teachers on how to support students to continue their learning in this changing educational environment. Expect an update on Friday detailing our next steps.

These teacher-to-student supports will be in addition to the choice of grade-appropriate academic and social-emotional activities we offered” last week. If you have not yet done so, please visit our At-Home Learning page.

Our school board is meeting Tuesday evening to address a vacancy on the board and to vote on a new resolution regarding the COVID-19 emergency. Specifically, the board will vote on extending payment of support staff. The public is permitted to attend the meeting, but encouraged to view the livestream. School directors will attend remotely.

Finally, please remember our next meal distribution will be Thursday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to noon at JP McCaskey, Hand, Hamilton, Reynolds and Carter & MacRae. Students do not need to be present and families or neighbors are invited to pick up meals on behalf of those unable to travel.

Our school board and administration are committed to doing the best we can for our students, staff and community in these challenging circumstances. Please visit our website for more COVID-19 resources and updates. Thank you for your ongoing cooperation and support.

Roundup of information from a trying week

March 20, 2020 @ 5:15 p.m.

It has been a trying week, but we continue to work hard to maintain what services we can for you. We cannot answer all your questions, but we want to provide a roundup of what we know and have been working on.

  • At this time, our schools are still scheduled to reopen on March 30. Today, Gov. Wolf said his administration has not decided on extending school closures, but “that is open for conversation.”
  • While we are not requiring students to complete work at home during this closure, we strongly encourage students and families to participate in academic activities. We published an extensive list of at-home learning resources on our website this week.
  • AP exams will be administered online this year; AP is offering free review sessions, beginning March 25. IB will announce changes to its exams on March 27.
  • Our meal distribution will continue next week on Monday, March 23, and Thursday, March 26. We will provide three meals on Monday and two on Thursday. In the event schools continue to be closed, we are collaborating with local organizations to consolidate the food distribution to include other community needs beyond next week.
  • All employees are being paid for the two weeks we are closed. If the closure is extended, we will update employees on or before Wednesday with continuation of staff compensation.
  • Our hearts go out to our McCaskey seniors, who are asking what will happen to the end of their high school experience. We don’t have answers, but Dr. Rau wrote an open letter in which she pledged to do whatever we can to make these celebrations happen in some way.
  • Relatedly, our College & Career team has created a resource guide for seniors to assist with college and career planning while we can’t be together.

We will continue with regular updates next week, unless there are major developments. Thank you for your continued support. Enjoy a restful weekend, as you are able.

No remote instruction at this time; at-home learning resources offered

March 18, 2020 @ 2:15 p.m.

Today we learned of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Lancaster County. Our focus remains on the health and safety of our students, staff and community during this pandemic. However, we also want to support students by providing an academic and social-emotional resource list while they are not in school. Our At Home Learning page can be found HERE.

During the closure, our teachers will not be assigning or requiring work or homework that will be due when we return. At this time, we are unsure we can effectively offer remote instruction due to variables such as home internet/device access, availability of parent guidance during the work week, and provisions for students with special needs or language barriers. We remain committed to equity and accessibility in the midst of this crisis.

Instead, we will offer students a choice of grade-appropriate academic and social-emotional activities they can participate in at home. The Office of Teaching and Learning will continue to work hard to vet and gather resources for you. The resources list will be updated as more information is available.

View Resources Here

We have not been informed of any changes to the PSSA and Keystone state assessment schedule. If this closure is prolonged, we expect to receive guidance from the Department of Education on what that means for state assessments.

We continue to pull information together for you on our website. To help organize it all, we have created a dedicated section with links to all of our updates, frequently asked questions and the academic resources described here. As before, please continue to direct specific questions to the coronavirus form on our website. Submissions will be routed to the appropriate staff and responded to as quickly as possible.

As a reminder, translation services are available in the drop-down menu to the right of our red logo at the top of every page.

Thank you for your continued understanding, cooperation, and support.

Q&A with Superintendent Rau Tuesday; grab-and-go meals continue this week

March 16, 2020 @ 4 p.m.

This is an update regarding the School District of Lancaster and the COVID-19 pandemic. Our schools are closed through March 27. The governor today ordered the shutdown of all nonessential businesses for two weeks, as well.

Bagged meals will continue tomorrow (Tuesday) at every SDoL school, as today. On Wednesday and Thursday, distribution will take place at McCaskey, Hand, Reynolds, Carter & MacRae, and Hamilton only from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. We will notify you in the coming days about meal service next week.

Families who need their children’s medications but did not claim them from school today should contact Lauren Reagan, coordinator of health services, at 717-799-0700.

Our school board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, is still being held as of this writing. Please be advised that we provide live streaming of our board meetings, so you can view the proceedings. In the final agenda item, I will summarize our response to date and the board and administrators will take questions from families and community members. You can type your questions directly into the livestream feed, so I encourage you to stay home and participate virtually, if you are able.

Our team is committed to providing timely updates. Please continue to direct specific questions to the coronavirus form on our website. Submissions will be routed to the appropriate staff and responded to as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your continued understanding, cooperation, and support.

School-based health clinics open; all activities on two-week hiatus

March 15, 2020 @ 7:05 p.m.

This is an update regarding the School District of Lancaster and the COVID-19 pandemic. Our schools are closed through March 27 by order of the governor. At this time, our schools are scheduled to reopen to students on March 30.

During the next two weeks, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health clinics will be open by appointment only at four schools. Clinics at Carter & MacRae, Fulton, and Washington will only see children who attend those individual schools. All other students in the district can be seen at the JP McCaskey Clinic, provided they have appointments. CLICK HERE for hours and more information.

Remember, we are providing bagged meals containing breakfast and lunch for students to “grab and go” between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday. We request that families go to their home school to pick up meals. We intend to continue providing meals during the school closures, as long as we are able to get deliveries. Look for those logistics in an update on Monday mid-day.

All school-related activities are on a two-week hiatus, including PIAA athletics. At this time, school-related events, such as McCaskey’s spring musical, are postponed until further notice.

Some of you are asking what you can do to support your children academically during this closure. The Office of Teaching and Learning is working hard to vet resources and make recommendations. This is uncharted territory, and we need to ensure we offer resources that are accessible and equitable. Stay tuned.

Finally, our school board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, is still being held as of this writing. Please be advised that we provide live streaming of our board meetings, so they can be viewed by the public from the safety of your home.

Our team is committed to providing timely updates. Thank you for directing specific questions to the coronavirus form on our website. Submissions will be directed to the appropriate staff and responded to as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your continued understanding, cooperation, and support.

Grab-and-go lunches; Lincoln/Wickersham Update

March 14, 2020 @ 2:30 p.m.

This is an update regarding logistics during the time the School District of Lancaster is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, we are scheduled to reopen to students on March 30.

On Monday, all buildings will offer a bagged meal containing breakfast and lunch for students to “grab and go” between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. If possible, we request that families go to their home school to pick up meals. This helps ensure adequate supply at all buildings. Families with children in multiple buildings may go to any one school a child attends. We will continue to provide meals during the school closures, as long as we are able to get deliveries. Look for directions in a future update.

Regarding the possible exposure that led to our closing on Friday, we learned the individual with possible coronavirus (not an employee) tested negative for the disease. Also, to reiterate, the state Department of Health confirmed there was never a risk present in our buildings. We erred on the side of caution in deciding to close.

Finally, we are aware of an overwhelming outpouring of support from parents and community members asking how they can assist us in providing for families during the closure. With deepest appreciation, at this time we believe the best thing for our community is to heed the governor’s call to avoid large gatherings (social distancing) that facilitate the spread of illness. If we determine we can benefit from volunteer service—while providing for the health and safety of volunteers—we will share those opportunities in the coming days.

As always, our team is committed to providing timely updates. Specific questions can be sent through a form on our website. We will try to reply as promptly as we can.

Coronavirus Questions

Thank you for your continued understanding, cooperation and support.

Update on closure logistics for March 16-27

March 13, 2020 @ 5 p.m.

This is an update regarding logistics during the time the School District of Lancaster is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Immediately following our notice, Gov. Wolf announced all PA schools will be closed for two weeks. School is scheduled to resume on Monday, March 30.

As a reminder, school buildings will be accessible for students, families and staff on Monday, March 16 during regular school hours. We encourage parents to pick up any necessary items, especially student medications, during this time. Principals, office staff, nurses, and student and family resource specialists will be on site to provide support. Transportation will not be provided.

On Monday, all buildings will offer a bagged meal containing breakfast and lunch for students to “grab and go” between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. We are working on details for how to support families the rest of the time we are closed.

Our normal before and after school child care offered in our buildings will not be available on Monday. We will provide additional updates regarding child care as they are available.

Families needing to activate their ParentVUE accounts in order to receive email notifications and update their contact information may do so on Monday by showing identification to the building secretary.

We know that many of you are wondering if or how these two weeks will be made up. As this is an unprecedented circumstance, we are waiting for guidance from the PA Department of Education on our requirements. We will update you when we have clarity from the state.

Our team is committed to providing timely updates. If you have specific questions, please complete the form on our website. Submissions will be directed to the appropriate staff.

Thank you for your continued understanding, cooperation and support.

SDoL CLOSED through March 27

March 13, 2020 @ 2:45 p.m.

UPDATE: Immediately following our notice, Gov. Wolf announced all PA schools would be closed for two weeks. The information below is still accurate. School is scheduled to resume on Monday, March 30 at this time.

School buildings will be accessible for students, families and staff on Monday, March 16 during regular school hours to pick up any necessary items, including student medications. Principals, office staff, nurses, and student and family resource specialists will be on site to provide support.

Families needing to activate their ParentVUE accounts may do so at this time by showing identification to the building secretary.

We are continuing to work through additional logistics of this week, such as meal distribution, possible make-up days and staff expectations. We will provide those updates when the information is confirmed.

We made this decision in collaboration with our neighboring school districts to allow students and families to observe recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wolf Administration to avoid large gatherings (social distancing) that facilitate the spread of illness.

Since the beginning of this situation, our team is committed to providing timely updates. If you have specific questions, we have created a form on our website. Submissions will be directed to the appropriate staff.

PA Department of Health: No risk at this time

March 13, 9 a.m.

This is an update regarding our closing on Friday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we learned last night, the exposure possibly occurred at Wickersham Elementary and Lincoln Middle School. As a precaution, we closed all schools as we wait for test results, disinfect buildings and plan next steps. We apologize for the late notice, but word reached our administrative team late last evening.

For clarification, the individual with possible exposure is the spouse of a staff member. This individual is showing no symptoms and the employee has had no exposure. With limited information, we made the decision to close, choosing to err on the side of caution. Late last night, the PA Department of Health advised us that there is no risk at this time.

In the meantime, we will provide deep cleaning and sanitation to those two buildings.

As I shared yesterday, we will participate in a statewide conference call this morning at 9 a.m. with the PA Secretaries of Education and Health. We hope to receive additional guidance on our preparations, precautions and response. Please know that everyone in SDoL wants what is best for our students and community.

Our team is committed to providing families and staff with regular updates for the duration of this situation. Please ensure that all student families have a valid email address in ParentVUE.

School District of Lancaster Closed March 13

March 12, 2020 @ 9:30 p.m.

The School District of Lancaster will be closed on Friday, March 13, due to possible exposure to COVID-19, or novel coronavirus. All schools and offices are closed. Personnel needing to report to work will be notified separately. All other employees are off.

At this time, we believe the exposure occurred at Wickersham Elementary and Lincoln Middle School. However, in an abundance of caution, we felt it best to close all schools as we wait for test results, isolate the incident, disinfect buildings and plan next steps.

Updates will be provided via email to all district families and staff as information becomes available.

District remains open; conference call with Department of Education Friday

March 12, 2020 @ 4:10 p.m.

This is an update regarding our response in the School District of Lancaster to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have received several calls from concerned families questioning if or when our school district may close as a precaution. This update is as of Thursday afternoon, March 12.

We are in daily communication with state health authorities. They continue to recommend enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols for students and staff in school. They have not yet advised us that closures are necessary, and they continue to monitor the situation around the clock.

We take seriously our obligation to provide essential services, like food, medical care, child care and emotional support, to our students and families. We are committed to provide those services as long as it is reasonably safe to do so. Of course, if we receive new guidance, we will respond swiftly.

We are participating in a statewide conference call Friday morning at 9 a.m. with the PA Secretaries of Education and Health. It is our hope that we receive additional guidance on our preparations, precautions and response. Everyone in SDoL wants what is best for our students and community.

Our team is committed to providing families and staff with regular updates for the duration of this situation. Please ensure that all student families have a valid email address in ParentVUE.

Additional cleaning staff and enhanced protocols

March 12, 2020, 10:20 a.m.

Here is an update for today from the School District of Lancaster regarding precautions and preparations for COVID-19, novel coronavirus.

We continue to work closely with ABM Industries, our commercial janitorial partner, to enhance cleaning protocols in schools. To ensure adequate personnel, we have authorized ABM to increase its staff temporarily by 20 full-time employees to supplement the work of our existing colleagues.

The purpose for additional staff is to ensure we are:

Disinfecting surface areas with cleaning disinfectant approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as effective against coronavirus.

  1. High touch areas will be disinfected immediately after morning arrival. (High touch areas include door handles, railings, light switches and sinks.)
  2. High touch areas will be disinfected again throughout the school day periodically and once more at the conclusion of second shift each night.
  3. Multiple bathroom checks will be done throughout the day to ensure soap is available and sinks are disinfected.

Increasing the frequency of deep cleanings in classrooms, hallways, restrooms and locker rooms to two times per week in addition to daily cleanings of floors, sinks and toilets. This includes disinfecting all student desks. Importantly, we will provide additional monitoring and cleaning of classrooms that serve students with health needs.

Ensuring adequate hygiene and cleaning materials are present at all 22 schools so that bathrooms are continuously stocked with soap and paper towels.

Strongly encouraging regular hand washing throughout the day, particularly before meals, by staff and students. Teachers are instructing students on careful hygiene and preventative measures and providing time to wash hands. They are also responding to student concerns.

We are aware that some local colleges have suspended classes or closed for the semester. Our K-12 programs are different, however, and we consider school closures to be a last resort. We feel it is our responsibility to provide a safe, healthy learning environment for our students.

Our team is committed to providing families and staff with regular updates for the duration of this situation. Please ensure that all student families have a valid email address in ParentVUE.

Moratorium on district travel outside of Lancaster County

March 11, 2020, 10:10 a.m.

The School District of Lancaster is additional taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, into our schools. In an abundance of caution, the district has placed a moratorium on all district sponsored travel outside of Lancaster County through the end of March. The moratorium applies to scheduled student field trips and staff professional development. The moratorium does not apply to personal travel such as scheduled employee vacations or family trips.

The business office will contact schools and departments separately to coordinate cancellations and refunds.

As I updated the school board last evening, our district action team has been working on additional prevention strategies and response scenarios, including this travel moratorium. We will continue to monitor events and lift or extend the moratorium, as appropriate.

Our team is committed to providing families and staff with regular updates for the duration of this situation. Please ensure that all student families have a valid email address in ParentVUE.

We appreciate your understanding as we deal with this unique circumstance.

Daily communication with health authorities

March 6, 2020, 2:50 p.m.

We are aware of the news that Central Bucks School District closed five schools due to COVID-19, or coronavirus, exposure in their community. As expected, cases of the virus are appearing closer to Lancaster.

We remain in daily communication with authorities, including the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. We have also formed a local action team, including our personnel from health services, communications and facilities. School nurses are gathering and reporting data on students and staff with fevers and illness so we can track trends.

In the event of local exposure, we will take direction from the authorities in the proper response. Our options include closures of one or more schools or our entire district. However, it is important that our response be proportional to the threat. Our goal remains to have all our students safely learning in school.

Earlier this week, we shared a resources page on our website that includes important precautionary measures we can all take to prevent the spread of infectious disease. I encourage you to remind your children about these common-sense actions.

As always, the safety of students and staff is our top priority. Thank you for your understanding, cooperation and support as we navigate this unique situation.

Monitoring the situation, recommending common precautions

March 2, 2020, 4:14 p.m.

Due to the extensive media coverage of the Coronavirus, we want to reassure our students, families and staff that the School District of Lancaster is diligently monitoring the situation and remains in daily contact with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Please know that there are NO reported cases of Coronavirus in our school district or in Pennsylvania.  However, recently the CDC and the World Health Organization asked schools to prepare for the spread of the virus.

In preparation, we remind all students and staff to follow the CDC recommendations to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus by doing the following:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when sick. If your child has a fever (temperature greater than 100 F, they should be kept home until they are fever free for 24 hours without medication.
  • Cough or sneeze into an elbow or use a tissue and place immediately in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

In addition, our school nurses are carefully monitoring students for symptoms and providing education and information on these safety measures.

The SDoL Facilities Department employs vigorous, regular cleaning techniques, which promote health and safety as part of our ongoing custodial services. During time of increased illness, such as flu season, our facilities department has a plan in place to address areas in which increased risk of illness may be present.

Concerns about health situations such as this can cause anxiety and fear for children and family members. As parents and educators, we want to protect our children. It may be helpful to understand, currently, the threat of becoming sick with the Coronavirus is very low. Those most at risk have traveled to China or have cared for someone with the virus.

We will keep you updated via our regular communications channels if and when new information becomes available. Resources are available on a dedicated page on our website.

Thank you for working together with the SDOL to keep our children, families, staff and community safe and healthy.