March 30, 2020
Dear Shippensburg Families and Staff,
Throughout the last couple of weeks, there has been much uncertainty about how we will conduct daily activities during the Coronavirus outbreak. Not least of all, how will our students continue receiving instruction? Today the Governor added that Cumberland County is now under a stay-at-home order. In addition, the Governor indicated that schools will now remain closed indefinitely.
Indefinitely should be taken as a signal that schools will remain closed for an extended period of time beyond what was originally hoped. Under the guidance of the Governor, schools will remain closed until it is safe for students and staff to return without jeopardizing anyone by potentially getting or spreading the Coronavirus. While I cannot predict how long this will be, we must all continue to work together to do our best given the circumstances and recognize that the closure could extend to the end of the year.
The Shippensburg Area School District administration and teachers have been working hard to implement plans for continuing education for our students. Last week, we surveyed parents to ensure that students have access to Chromebook devices. These devices were handed out to families last Thursday, Friday and today using safe distancing protocols and a drive-thru style distribution. Today, teachers are beginning to provide voluntary enrichment activities to students across the District. We have set April 7th as the official end of the 3rd Marking Period. Teachers will have 3rd Marking Period grades completed by April 17th.
The 4th quarter will begin on April 14th. We will continue to finalize our plans with the intent of transitioning to digital planned instruction after the Easter Holiday. Planned instruction will most likely include higher expectations, with students completing work that will be evaluated and graded. For students in grades 9 through 12, this may include coursework for credit needed for graduation. We know that alternative plans and actions will be needed for many of our students. In addition, we will be providing further direction for students who may not have access to the Internet.
There are still many unknowns. Modifications to our graduation requirements may be likely, in addition to changes in requirements for underclassmen. Changes to curriculum to account for grade level deficiencies or course deficiencies will also need to be considered K-12. Will there be a prom, a commencement celebration or many of the other activities that we have all enjoyed and want for our students? It is only through time that we will be able to adequately know the answers to these questions and so many more.
What we do know is that we are all in this together. We do know that we have and will continue to work as hard as we can to ensure that we can provide as much normalcy as possible. We are committed to ensuring that your children (our students) will continue to grow, and that together, we will overcome the many obstacles that lie in front of us all. Please stay positive, continue to work collaboratively with us and each other, stay healthy and stay home!
Dr. Chris Suppo
Dear SASD Families and Staff,
As the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) grows, the Shippensburg Area School District remains committed to providing all families, students and staff with timely and accurate information, resources and updates about COVID-19 and how it affects our community and school operations.
Today, Governor Wolf announced that the closure of PA schools will be extended to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Extending this closure will help every community in its efforts to lessen the spread of the Coronavirus.
The school closure order will go through at least April 6th as a result of the COVID-19 response efforts with only staff reporting on April 7th and 8th. The student return date will be determined over the next few days as we review the school calendar and spring break. Please understand that the closure order could extend beyond these dates, if deemed necessary by Governor Wolf.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we continue to find our way through this unparalleled event. We expect to receive additional guidance and recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and we will continue to share that information as it is received.
Take care and stay safe!
Dr. Chris Suppo
Dear SASD Families and Staff,
It was one short week ago that we announced that our schools would be closing. Since that time, the Governor has closed all PA schools and now all non-life sustaining businesses. The closure of the Shippensburg Area School District campus includes District offices, all buildings, and all grounds. Please know that while schools are closed, the school district has continued to operate in some capacity under the guidance of the Governor and the PA Department of Education (PDE). Administration continues to communicate and meet regularly utilizing technologies available to us. Additionally, I communicate regularly with the Board of Directors.
There are so many amazing things happening right now in our District. Teachers are working remotely to develop digital content and resources for students to be used in the future, if needed. This involves teachers collaborating and providing professional development to each other and teachers finding resources online to help them create digital lessons. Administrators are working to maintain continuity of operations, assisting families as requested, and discussing long-term plans should the school closings need to be extended.
Administration has also worked with the Food Service Department to obtain waivers from State and Federal officials to provide food and nutrition to any child 18 years old and younger. The Food Service Department and volunteers have created a drive-thru bagged breakfast and lunch program at the High School and James Burd Elementary. The program started on Tuesday and to date has provided 1,739 free breakfasts and lunches. Next week, the pickup hours will change to serve these meals between 8:00 AM and 11:00 to better meet peak demand times.
There are so many unknowns right now. Will school closings be extended? How will students receive their education? How and when will seniors graduate? I understand the frustration that you may have not knowing the answers to these questions and many others. I can tell you that yesterday, PDE announced the cancellation of all state testing (like PSSAs and Keystone exams) this year which was a welcomed message. I can also tell you that we all continue to work very hard to navigate these uncharted waters during this unprecedented time.
I am hopeful that we will receive additional guidance and recommendations from PDE in the coming days. In the meantime, we must all continue to exhibit patience, and work as a community. Our strength lies in our collective resilience as a community, knowing that we are all in this together and that we will all get through this difficult time together. I look forward to updating you as we receive additional information. We will also continue to post information on our district website.
Thank you all, and stay safe!
Dr. Chris Suppo
March 13, 2020
Dear Shippensburg Area School District Families and Staff,
In the past 24 hours, state and federal agencies, as well as private organizations, have taken dramatic steps to limit the growing number of presumptive and confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Pennsylvania has not mandated the closure of schools, with exception of Montgomery County. While we had hoped a statewide decision on this issue would have been made, state leaders are leaving the decision of closing schools at the local level.
Out of an abundance of caution for our students and staff, and with a sincere desire to keep our community safe, the Shippensburg Area School District will close all schools from March 16th through March 27th. Schools are scheduled to reopen on March 30th. The decision process for closing our schools has been made with consideration of state social distancing recommendations along with consultation of other local school districts.
Again, this action is taken with the consideration of statewide guidance provided by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. The guidance strongly encourages social distancing, which includes the suspension of large gatherings and events for a two-week period. In addition, the guidance discourages individuals from traveling to recreational activities like gyms, movie theaters and shopping malls.
Although there are no confirmed or presumptive cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region, we believe it is our responsibility to implement social distancing measures to protect our students and staff, and to mitigate the potential for Coronavirus to spread in our community. In addition to schools closing, the following actions will be taken:
- There will be no educational programming for students during this time
- All extracurricular, athletic events/practices, and after school events will be cancelled
- All organizations will no longer be permitted to use or rent district owned facilities
As this situation is rapidly evolving, the district will continue to provide regular updates to parents, staff, and the community via our website at www.shipk12.org and through our school messaging system.
I want to thank you for your patience – we are very aware of the hardship this places on our families and staff.
Dr. Chris Suppo