Throughout the school year, COVID-19 policies and guidelines for schools have changed very frequently. The newest change made it possible for schools in Orange County, Paoli Community Schools more specifically, to attend in-school learning even when the county is at a Red Advisory level.
In order for virtual schooling to be required, the number of students quarantined has to be critically high, making it difficult to continue in-person learning.
“There is no magic ‘number’ or ‘color’ that dictates when we are in school or not in school. Lots of factors go into it. When we went virtual prior to Thanksgiving, we did so because we had over 110 students out due to contact tracing and after discussing with Dr. Lopez, that was his recommendation. When we went virtual prior to Christmas, we did so because we had around 20 staff members out that we could not operate without. Again, this situation was discussed with Dr. Lopez. We are not at either of those levels now. I spoke with him prior to coming back on January 4 and have spoken to him weekly since then. His recommendation is for schools to be open and for students to be in school,” said Superintendent Greg Walker.
Walker proposed using January 14-15, 2021, as hybrid days in order to troubleshoot any unforeseen issues in case we need to transfer to the hybrid model in the future. After reviewing all the information available for the following week, he decided that Tuesday, January 19 and Wednesday, January 20, Paoli schools would be 100% virtual and follow the same procedures that were used prior to Christmas break. Thursday, January 21 and Friday, January 22, Paoli schools transitioned to the Hybrid model with Thursday being a Purple day and Friday being a Gold day.
“Even though our county is in the Red Category, I want students to be in school,” said Orange County Health Official Jose Lopez.
Story by Gracie Walls