About two weeks ago, the Joint Operating Committee, our version of a school board, approved plans to reopen school this fall for full-time and in-person classes while following robust health and safety measures. We have revised the Health and Safety Plan since being approved to conform with emerging orders from state authorities. Nothing can remain certain from day to day during a pandemic, but we fully intend to open as planned.
We frequently receive advice and recommendations from local and state officials. The LCCTC always follows mandated instructions whenever they are issued. We seriously weigh non-mandated recommendations against the overall good of our students and the community. It is no joke to say that we have lost sleep making these decisions.
The latest directive from DOH and PDE requires that “students wear face coverings at all times while in school, even when six feet of social distancing can be achieved.” This “order applies to all students, staff and visitors age two and older.” According to the information from PDE, there are few exceptions and accommodations. Click here to view the latest updates on the mask requirement order for schools.
Our choice to reopen for in-person classes versus hybrid or online-only classes stems from our core belief that hands-on instruction is the cornerstone of a career and technical education. From Chef to Heavy Equipment Operator to Graphic Designer to Electrician and on, hands-on work is necessary to develop the skills inherent in LCCTC programming. The LCCTC must take every opportunity to maintain in-person, hands-on instruction whenever possible. Because of this, the LCCTC students and staff will be required to adhere to rigorous health and safety protocols. Those protocols are detailed in our Health and Safety Plan for reopening.
That said, we have learned during the last five months that change comes swiftly and often without much warning. We make plans in one direction, based on current evidence and advice from authorities. Then, the pandemic winds shift, advice or instructions change, and our carefully laid plans must shift. We are constantly attempting to make the best of the situation. We will closely monitor any indications of staff or students falling ill and take appropriate measures based on the LCCTC’s Health and Safety Plan.
We understand the frustration that our students and families might be feeling given the fluid nature of the pandemic and the changes that are being imposed upon us. Nothing feels certain. Planning seems futile. The LCCTC is working every day to get ready to deliver a high-quality career and technical education to our students, regardless of how it is delivered. We are working to ensure that our buildings, labs, offices, and classrooms are as clean and safe as they can be. We cannot promise that nothing more will change. We can only promise that we will continue building lesson plans, revising protocols, cleaning classrooms, preparing student files, and getting the LCCTC ready for our students.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Dr. Stuart Savin
Lancaster County Career & Technology Center