The Reading School District will switch to live virtual learning for all students during the week following winter break due to COVID-19 concerns, the district announced.
The transition to virtual learning will take place from Jan. 4 -7 for students pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, except for those enrolled in the Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center.
Full in-person instruction is planned to resume on Monday, Jan. 10.
The decision came after the district saw COVID cases surge in December and heard state officials say the spike in cases is not expected to peak until January, according to a post on the district website.
“The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority,” district officials said.
“With the stark rise in the number of positive COVID cases, we anticipate many staff and students will need to quarantine following break,” the statement continued. “December 2021 is the fourth highest count of COVID cases in Berks County since the pandemic began. On Dec. 23, Berks County reported a record number of hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 surge.”
District officials said they announced the decision in advance to give families time to make arrangements for child care.
“We understand the additional stress this places on families, but the situation is beyond our control,” the statement said.
District leaders emphasized that there are no plans to return to full remote instruction after next week. The goal is to create a buffer between the anticipated spike in COVID cases and quarantine orders following the holiday break.
School buildings will be open Monday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for families who need to pick up instructional supplies, including Chromebook and chargers.
All students will be expected to log in and participate in live classroom learning activities.
CTC students are expected to attend in-person, and regular transportation and lunch services will be provided.
Reading High School students in grades 10 and 11 who are scheduled to take the Algebra Keystone exams on Wednesday and Thursday also will report in-person. Transportation and lunch services will be provided.
There are no changes to extra-curricular activities. The middle schools and high school will be open for after-school practices and competitions.
All staff will report to work in person.
There will be no meal service except for CTC students and students taking the Algebra Keystone exams.
Families are asked to continue to report COVID illnesses to school nurses during the virtual learning period.
“We had all hoped the pandemic would be behind us as we enter 2022,” the district’s message said. “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.”
Source: Berkshire mont