After a process that involved input from the community members, the District plans to reopen via e-learning through the remainder of 2020.
CHESTER, Pa (July 29, 2020) – At a special meeting of the Receiver, Dr. Juan Baughn approved a Health and Safety Plan to reopen the Chester Upland School District virtually through, at least, the remainder of 2020.
The plan was created through the leadership of Dr. Carol D. Birks, superintendent, and a Pandemic School Reopening Task Force who worked with experts, faculty, families and the community to determine the best course of action for the fall.
“Dr. Birks and the Pandemic School Reopening Task Force worked tirelessly to make a recommendation that is safe for faculty, staff and students and will not disrupt the continuity of learning or classes,” said Dr. Baughn.
The Pandemic School Reopening Task Force, led by Dr. Birks, consists of faculty, board members, community and staff, and convenes weekly to discuss all aspects of school operations relevant to the school community during the pandemic. The Task Force is also divided into five workgroups – family and community engagement, learning and teaching, organizational efficiencies and safety, talent management and development and technology – that are examining organizational efficiencies and effectiveness. Recently the Task Force conducted community forums and town meetings to garner input prior to finalizing recommendations.
“When trying to determine how to reopen schools in a time with so much uncertainty, it is essential to have a team of key players from all facets of the Chester Upland Learning Community to help design a plan that incorporates scientifically researched based best practices, protocols and guidelines that prioritize health, safety, academics and the social emotional well-being of our students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Birks. “We understand that it is about more than just what the District thinks is the best reopening option, which is why we conducted surveys, held Town Hall Meetings and Community Forums for faculty, staff, families and community to better understand multiple stakeholder perspectives.”
Though the plan to reopen virtually has been approved by the Receiver along with support from the elected school board, comprehensive details of the educational program will be released in mid-August. The District will hold another set of open-discussion forums on August 11, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. and August 12, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. for faculty and staff; and August 11, 2020 and August 12, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. for families and community. Further information with links will be available on the District website closer to the dates of the forums. The District is set to distribute laptops and Chromebooks to students the week of August 24, 2020; details are forthcoming.
Chester Upland’s school year will begin on September 1, 2020 and continue virtually until at least January 2021. In October 2020, the Pandemic School Reopening Task Force will reconvene to assess the current pandemic crisis, restrictions and recommendations to determine the best course of action for the remainder of the school year. Those conversations will also include input from students, families, community, faculty and staff.
“We are looking forward to welcoming our students and families back virtually,” said Dr. Birks. “Of course, we look forward to the day when we can welcome everyone back for total reopening of in person learning, but our first priority is to ensure safety, while still offering a meaningful, challenging and equitable learning experience. I am so honored to serve the students, families, faculty and staff of Chester Upland School District.”
About Chester Upland School District
Chester Upland School District is a K-12 school district in Delaware County which serves students in the city of Chester, the borough of Upland, and Chester Township. The district consists of three elementary schools, a middle school, and two high schools. The district is focused on improving fiscal and academic challenges. For more information, visit http://www.chesteruplandsd.org