September 12th, 2021
Greetings Lackawanna Trail Students and Parents,
I hope everyone is having a great school year so far. Despite navigating anticipated obstacles, we continue to safely educate our students during the pandemic. As we begin the new week I would like to draw your attention to a few areas of significance:
Each day our COVID-19 Dashboard displays the number of positive cases of COVID-19 identified in the district per seven day period, the current masking status, and current open status. The Dashboard can be accessed in the bottom center of our main webpage. I hope you find this new feature helpful.
For students who selected a synchronous virtual option this year I hope you are benefiting from the improvements we made since last year. Our goal, in continuing to offer this virtual option during the pandemic, is to give students an educational experience that mirrors in-person learning. It is a safe option and also allows students to join and actively participate in classes with their classmates and teachers in real time thanks to our one-to-one chromebook initiative. The principals and teachers have worked collaboratively to improve upon the quality of your remote learning experience.
As you know, employees, students and visitors must wear a mask indoors while at school as per Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam’s Order, which went into effect on September 7th. This Order supersedes our board approved Health and Safety Plan. Lackawanna Trail is in compliance with Secretary Beam’s Order. There are exceptions to the masking Order, but they are reserved for the few who qualify because of a medical condition. Prior to determining if a student meets the criteria for a medical exception a number of alternatives, including the use of a face shield, must be exhausted. Trail does not accept notes from parents stating their son/daughter needs an exception because of a medical condition, and we don’t use a generic form for a physician and parent to fill out and submit. Our process parallels a request for an accommodation through a Section 504 Plan. Although this topic quickly became controversial and perhaps misunderstood, the concept is clear. In fact , in an email last week to superintendents, Dr. Sherri Smith, the Acting Deputy Secretary of Education clarified what school districts must do to be in compliance with the Order. Lackawanna Trail is in compliance. Part of her email is as follows:
This Order is not a mask optional policy. Any school entity simply permitting a parent’s sign-off without evidence that the student has a medical or mental health condition or disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering is not in compliance with the Order. Under the Order, and as set forth in PDE’s Answers to FAQs, school entities must require all individuals, two years of age and older, to wear face coverings unless the individual has a medical or mental health condition or disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering. In accordance with Section 3 of the Order, before an individual is excepted from the Order, all alternatives to a face covering, including a face shield, are to be exhausted. It is recommended that any exception be in accordance with eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA for such medical or mental health condition or disability. School entities should follow their established processes for determining student eligibility under those laws, including any medical documentation that they would normally require. There are exceptions to the Order; however, a parent’s opposition to the Order is not one of them.
Let’s have a great week of school,
The mission of Lackawanna Trail School District, in partnership with our community, is to provide a safe and challenging learning environment where all students will develop to their fullest potential. The educational programs provided will enable students to become productive, responsible, technologically literate, contributing members of a global society who respond effectively to an ever changing world.
DISTRICT RIGHT-TO-KNOW INFORMATION
For more information go to the “Open Records Info” tab in the District Administration drop down menu.
Agency Open Rights Officer:
570-945-5184 ext. 3002
Office of Open Records for Appeals: