The State College Area School District is scheduled to return to school next week, and that’s also when Penn State classes start, raising concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19.
As questions are raised about how much cases will go up and how quickly test results are coming back, the State College Area school board will vote Monday night on whether to change its plans for in-school classes, moving entirely to remote learning after two weeks of in-person classes, at least while data about the rate of COVID-19 in the community is collected.
Right now, families can choose between in-person, remote and fully online learning.
“We know the numbers are going to go up in a couple weeks, and to give the students and the teachers a chance to build community and get to know one another, and then once those numbers go up, to be safe, to keep people safe and go remote," said school board member Gretchen Brandt during a board work session last week.
Under the proposal, the district would have its in-person learning for two weeks, then move fully remote while the district gathers information.
"This break from in-person school would allow for an increased understanding of the COVID impact on the district community following the return of Penn State University students to campus," the information with the proposal notes.
One of the reasons the school board is considering the change is that some test results may be taking longer to come back and might not be providing timely information to help decide whether to remain in-person.
The proposal notes that the district administration planned to connect with Geisinger, Mount Nittany Medical Center and Penn State to get more information on data collection and availability before Monday's vote.
The board is scheduled to meet online at 7 p.m. Monday.