Oil City Area School District to Continue Remote Instruction Through December 23

| December 7, 2020

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – Oil City Area School District announced on Monday that they will be continuing remote instruction through December 23.

According to a letter from Superintendent Lynda Weller, the need to continue remote instruction is due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Venango County.

Weller states that the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (PDE) have instructed school districts to monitor the weekly data on the PDE’s Level of Community Transmission Table and remain in remote learning mode until the district’s county has returned to the “moderate” level for two consecutive weeks.

Venango County is currently in its sixth consecutive week of incidence rates at the “substantial” level.

Weller reported another consideration for the district is having enough staff to return to in-person instruction.

“Due to the substitute teacher shortage, if too many faculty members are away from work due to COVID-19 related issues, we do not have the internal staff to cover all of our classes,” Weller said in the letter.

She reported the district will consider moving back to the hybrid instruction model when the number of cases in the area begins to decline.

The letter also notes that the district’s health and safety plan, which was developed at the beginning of the school year, called for only online meetings an individual home workouts for athletes and coaches while the school is in the “red” or now “substantial” category.

“Therefore, at this time we are not having in-person extra-curricular activities,” Weller said.

Weller went on to note that the district’s insurance coverage was another consideration when it came to the decision about sports and extracurriculars.

“In order to protect the district, we must follow the recommendations set forth by the PA DOH and PDE. If we fail to do so, OCASD may be subject to liability issues.”

While the school has asked the PIAA for flexibility regarding their rules and regulations for winter sports, seeking approval for virtual practices, the district has been unsuccessful in obtaining approval for such practices, Weller noted.

She closed by noting that the district will continue to communicate any other changes moving forward while continuing to work to keep the local community safe.

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Category: Community, Local News, News, Oil City, Schools