Northern York County, South Eastern school districts agree to extra safety regulations

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
Northern York County School District's Wellsville Elementary School

The Northern York County School District and the South Eastern School District agreed to comply with state safety regulations in order to keep their schools from closing. 

The Northern York County school board voted unanimously Tuesday to sign an attestation form agreeing to the state's regulations, according to Superintendent Steven Kirkpatrick. The move means the district can continue holding in-person classes. 

South Eastern School District Superintendent Nathan Van Deusen said he signed the form soon after it was available, after speaking with school board members. He said it was important to him to keep schools open. 

School districts in counties with substantial COVID-19 spread must sign the attestation form by 5 p.m. Monday or agree to transition to fully remote learning, in accordance with an order Monday from Gov. Tom Wolf. Failure to sign the form means the district must go fully remote. 

More:Schools to decide between remote learning or complying with state regulations

The safety regulations  in the form include complying with a mask requirement for all students, staff and visitors, as well as complying with recommendations to temporarily close schools for cleaning based on the number of positive COVID-19 cases identified over a 14-day period. 

York County is among  59 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties with substantial COVID-19 transmissions.

Northern York County School District recorded 12 cases so far in November, compared with four through September and October, Kirkpatrick said. Six cases were recorded this week, he said.

South Eastern School District has recorded 11 cases since the start of the school year, Van Deusen said. 

Steven Kirkpatrick will be new superintendent at Northern York County School District effective July 1, 2020.

Northern York County School District's four elementary schools have students in the classroom every day, while its middle school and high school operate under a hybrid model, Kirkpatrick said. 

All six of South Eastern's schools offer in-person instruction every day, but Van Deusen said students can choose to use a hybrid or remote model. About 30% of the district's 2,500 students learn under a hybrid or fully virtual model, he said. 

More:South Western School District to hold emergency meeting to consider going fully remote

Kirkpatrick recommended the district sign the attestation form to keep schools open. He said he doesn't believe any board members were contemplating going fully remote, as the board agrees it is important for students to be in the classroom.

"We believe in the system we have in place," Kirkpatrick said.