Seeing the COVID-19 surge this December and hearing state officials say it is not expected to peak until January, Reading School District officials have made the decision to transition to live virtual learning for all students PreK-12, except CTC students, the first week of school following winter break, January 4 – 7.
A statement by the district released Tuesday afternoon says full, in-person instruction will resume Monday, January 10, 2022.
“The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. With the stark rise in the number of positive COVID cases, we anticipate many staff and students will need to quarantine following break” says the statement on the district’s website.
December, 2021 is the 4th highest count of COVID cases in Berks County since the pandemic began. On December 23, Berks County reported a record number of hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 surge.
“We are making this decision now so that families can plan for next week. We know that families will need to find childcare and make plans to supervise children during the virtual learning period. We understand the additional stress this places on families, but the situation is beyond our control.”
The district says all students should have their Chromebooks and access to learning materials at home. School buildings will be open on Monday, January 3, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. for families who need to pick up instructional supplies including Chromebook and chargers.
CTC students are expected to attend in-person; regular transportation and lunch services will be provided.
In addition, RHS Students in grades 10 and 11 who are scheduled to take the Algebra Keystone exams on January 5 and 6 will also report in-person. Transportation and lunch services will be provided. Additional details about Keystone exams will be provided to those students in a separate message from RHS.
Also, the district says there are no changes to extra-curricular activities. The middle schools and Reading High School will be open for after school practices and competitions, and that all staff will report to work in-person.
Families are asked to continue to report COVID illnesses to school nurses during the virtual learning period.
“Please know the district has no plans to return to full remote instruction after next week. Our only intention is to create a buffer between the anticipated spike in COVID+ cases and quarantine orders following the holiday break.”
The district statement ended with, “we had all hoped the pandemic would be behind us as we enter 2022, but the new variants continue to challenge all our systems. We all need to be careful and take precautions, including universal masking, social distancing handwashing, and increased cleaning protocols. Most importantly, get vaccinated and get a booster if you qualify. You can find information about vaccines at https://www.berkschc.net/coronavirus-updates/“