What's Happening

Superintendent's Message:

November 23, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian:

The purpose of this message is to notify you of the current level of COVID-19 community transmission for Carbon County and the impact it will have on the Jim Thorpe Area School District instructional model. The Jim Thorpe Area School District has been operating under the Health and Safety Plan that was approved by the school board and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This plan, developed using the recommendations of the PA Department of Health, CDC and the latest research, has allowed us to safely educate your child over the past few months, and deal with any COVID-related issues as they arose. As per our plan, should Carbon County return to a critical level of community spread, the district would transition from its current hybrid learning model to a fully remote learning environment.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) has categorized Carbon County as being in SUBSTANTIAL spread for three consecutive weeks. According to the PDE’s guidance for Determining Instructional Models During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a “substantial spread” rating triggers a recommendation that Carbon County schools offer a “full remote learning” model only. In looking at the data of incidence rates and positivity rates in the county, it is clear that the escalation of COVID-19 case numbers related to close contacts, quarantine and positive cases are rising at an exponential rate. This is causing staffing issues in our schools. After reviewing all of the available data, and in consultation with PDE, Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit, and the other school districts in Carbon County, the JTASD administrative team in conjunction with the district board of education have decided to follow the state recommendations and our Health and Safety Plan. As such, the district will transition to fully remote learning following the Thanksgiving holiday break on December 1st. The district is targeting a return date of January 19, pending review by the school board of COVID-19 transmission numbers at that time.

It is important to note that this is not a school closure, but a transition to our remote learning platforms.

  • ●  There will be live synchronous instruction following your child’s current school’s schedule.

  • ●  Attendance will be taken.

  • ●  Grades will be issued as normal

  • ●  Education of your child is continuing.

While we recognize that there is no substitute for in-person learning, we have the utmost confidence in our highly trained teachers and paraprofessionals that they can continue to provide high-quality education to your students through the use of the one-to-one devices and online learning platforms. Students should bring all books, materials and one-to-one devices home with them when leaving for Thanksgiving break.

Without question, the district understands the impact of this decision on the families of our students. We will continue to be transparent about our actions and decisions concerning COVID-19, and will continue to monitor local data in regards to the COVID-19 metrics of incidence rates, positivity rates and community spread, with the anticipation of returning to our current hybrid learning model, and eventual full in-person learning as conditions warrant.

To this end, we are asking the Olympian community to assist us in getting our students back to in-person learning as soon as possible. This can be done by following the appropriate precautions as outlined by the PA DOH and CDC in terms of mitigating the risks of COVID-19. These steps are listed below:

Social Distancing

  • ●  Maintain a 6ft distance whenever possible with people not in your immediate household

  • ●  Minimize large indoor gatherings

  • Masks

    • ●  Masks must be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.

    • ●  When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not

      in your household for the entire time you are outdoors.

    • ●  When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from people not in your household. This means

      that even if you are able to be six feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household.

      Travel

    • ●  Minimize travel over the holiday season.

    • ●  Review the most recent state orders in regards to travel:

    Hygiene

    • ○  Anyone who visits from another state must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arriving in Pennsylvania. If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days after they arrive.

    • ○  Pennsylvania residents who visit other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before their return home or to quarantine for 14 days upon return.

    • ●  Wash your hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, especially if you have been out in public.

    • ●  Avoid touching your face or eyes while out in public.

    • ●  Use hand sanitizer as necessary

      If the Olympian community takes these simple precautionary steps together, we can flatten the curve of community spread in Carbon County, keep each other safe, and get our children back in school that much sooner. The administration, staff, and school board have complete faith that our Olympian community will rise to this challenge. We will continue to provide regular updates as necessary. Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Mr. Rushefski

  



Jim Thorpe Area School District Reopening Plan

Schedules: Based on current conditions, the district is opened under the yellow phase of the plan, which calls for students to attend school as follows:

Grades K-5: All students will attend school Monday - Thursday. Friday will be a remote learning from home day where students will connect remotely to their teachers with their iPads. 
Grades 6-12: Students will attend school at a 50% capacity. Students will attend school in person on their designated days based on their physical address on record in PowerSchool (not PO boxes or mailing address). If there is a question concerning your address, please contact the school office. Students will be split as follows:
Students with even-numbered house numbers for their physical address will report to school on Monday & Tuesday, and learn from home Wednesday - Friday.
Students with odd-numbered house numbers for their physical address will report to school on Wednesday & Thursday, and learn from home Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Please note that there can be no exceptions made as to ensure an equitable and safe socially distanced learning environment.
Special education students and other designated at-risk students will attend Monday - Thursday, with a remote learning from day Friday.
Students who have opted in for the Olympian Learning Connection (OLC) will learn from home Monday - Friday.  Information has already been sent out to those students and their families as far as details. Should any parents still want to opt in to the OLC option, please complete the online survey found on the main page of the JTASD website.
School Day Schedule

Students will attend school on a shortened time schedule as follows:

Jim Thorpe Area High School: 7:50AM-1:45PM L. B. Morris School: 8:35 AM-2:30 PM
Penn-Kidder Campus: 8:35 AM-2:30 PM


Transportation: Bus routes and schedules have been  developed, reviewed and modified to best meet the social distancing guidelines outlined in the Health and Safety plan, with a bus capacity of 48 students.  Please note that students must wear a mask while riding on the school bus. Parents are encouraged to drive their student to school if they feel more comfortable doing so. For parent pick up of students from school at the K-8 schools, the district will be using a new program called PickUp Patrol to ensure a safe and efficient process.

School Cafeteria: SchoolCafe, the new school lunch payment system is replacing MySchoolBucks. Parents are asked to sign up for an account, complete the free and reduced lunch eligibility application, and make deposits for their child’s lunch payments at the following website: https://www.schoolcafe.com/jtasd.  You can also download the SchoolCafe app for iOS or Android to complete these tasks. Also, please note that transactions for school lunches will be cashless, but checks, cash and money orders will be accepted in a sealed envelope clearly labeled with your child’s name, and should be handed to a Food Service team member at the breakfast station, or school office. Please see the district website for meal distribution for OLC, hybrid and Friday meal programs.  

Technology Distribution: In consideration of the economic impact of the pandemic, insurance premiums are being waived for the use of the technology. Should there be an issue resulting in damage to the iPad or computer, the insurance deductible requirements will still apply.

Should you have any questions regarding your child’s schedule, safety of the classroom or school, or how the district will mitigate the risks of COVID-19 exposure, please feel free to contact the school office. We are looking forward to getting back to the business of education and teaching your child, whether it be in-person or remotely.  Please stay safe and healthy.


2020-21 Re-opening School Resources


The Jim Thorpe Area School District has presented a  plan to reopen schools safely for the 2020-21 school year.  The presentation to the July 13, 2020 Curriculum Meeting is below as well as the  plan, which was approved by the school board on July 29, 2020, and submitted to PDE. 

JTASD Reopening Plan 2020-21 presentation 
Phased School Reopening Health and Safety Plan Template.pdf
Update: Attestation Letter for Full Remote Learning: November 24, 2020

 



The district's intent is to open in the yellow phase of the plan, contingent on current conditions, providing the following options for parents and their students:

Option #1: In-Person Learning 
The Jim Thorpe Area School District will offer a hybrid in-person learning environment with a remote learning day for students PreK - 12.  PreK - 5 will attend school in-person Monday - Thursday with Friday being a remote learning day from home. Grades 6 - 12 will attend school at 50% capacity, with half of the students attending school Monday and Tuesday and the other half of the students attending Wednesday and Thursday with Friday being a remote learning day for all students.  When not physically in school, students will connect with their teacher remotely via Google Meet on their school day schedule. The school day will be shortened to allow for remote learning delivery.



Option #2: Olympian Learning Connection (Remote Learning from Home)

The Jim Thorpe Area School District will offer a remote learning from home option called the Olympian Learning Connection (OLC).  Students will be taught the Jim Thorpe Area curriculum, be instructed by Jim Thorpe Area School District teachers, and be expected to follow the school day schedule set by the teacher.  They will utilize their district provided iPad or MacBook Air laptop.  Lessons will be synchronously (live instruction) delivered with some asynchronous (offline assignments) components as deemed necessary by the teacher as well as their specials classes.  Attendance will be taken, assignments will be completed and submitted and state mandated tests (PSSA’s/Keystones) will need to be administered under normal circumstances at the child’s school building at a determined day(s) once test schedules are established. Students in grades K-5 will have a designated teacher. Grades 6-12 will follow their normal school day schedule.
Parents need to complete a change in placement form by November 6 if they want to move from school to OLC or from OLC to in-person learning at school. The form can be found here:


OLC-Home Placement Change Form Q2 2020
If you are remaining in OLC or in-school, you do not have to complete the form.


  Olympian Learning Connection Fact Sheet (PDF)
OLC Parent & Student Agreement


Please see the videos below for a sample lesson conducted under this model:
Grades K-5: Sample Lesson
Grades 6-12: Sample Lesson


Option #3: eBridge Academy, Cyberschool/Charter School/HomeSchool
Parents still have the right to choose the district’s supported eBridge Academy program, homeschool, or enroll in a cyber/charter school program.
To help explain the options, please see the following resources:
Videos Grades K-5 Reopening Plan Video
Grades 6-12 Reopening Plan Video

Parent Informational Meeting 8-12-20

Resources

JTASD Reopening Plan Fact Sheet (PDF)
JTASD Parent Letter 8-24-20
Frequently Asked Questions
Modified Dress Code for 2020-21


Videos of the Reopening Plan presentation, parent informational meetings, and reopening videos are posted to the JTASD Olympian Way YouTube Channel.



JTASD COVID-19 Response Resource Page







 


    REMOTE LEARNING LINKS



    Technology Support

    If you are experiencing an issue with your student iPad or MacBook Air laptop, please complete the tech support request below for your school. All efforts will be made to reply within one school day. 

    Jim Thorpe Area High School
    Support formhttps://forms.gle/9LQCRy4PvTKauqvG9
    Computer technician: Stacey Tomko

    L. B. Morris School:
     
      Support form: https://forms.gle/D7VNRC6SAqUfdZNx8
    Computer technician: Wes Hurley

    Penn-Kidder Campus: 
    Support form: https://forms.gle/fypaPDRrFF9zJJRV9
    Computer technician: Orell Gaynor

    If you are unable to complete the form, please contact Jerome Brown, Director of Technology & Information Services at jbrownjr@jtasd.org or at 570-325-5139.

    Olympian Way

    Check out our new YouTube channel highlighting  Jim Thorpe Area School District pride and keeping everyone's spirit up.  There are teacher messages to students, story-reading, and much more to come.