In June 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced the requirement that every school entity in the Commonwealth create and submit a Board-approved Health and Safety Plan, and post the plan publicly, prior to providing services to students. Tailored to the unique needs of each entity and created in consultation with local health agencies, the Health and Safety Plan will serve as the local guidelines for the reentry into classrooms / schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Led by Pandemic Coordinator Dr. Brenda Robertson, ECSS Program Administrator for Logistics, along with the designated pandemic team, the Berks County Intermediate Unit has developed a Health and Safety Plan that outlines the process for a phased reentry into the workplace and classroom. The plan prioritizes the health and safety of staff, students, families, and the community with a focus on awareness, training, and ongoing communication to ensure everyone is informed and prepared for reentry into the workplace and classroom. Given the dynamic nature of the pandemic, the plan incorporates flexibility to adapt to changing conditions.
Based on the needs of the community and the individuals served, the BCIU is planning for a scaffolded reentry. This approach will allow the BCIU to meet the unique needs of each individual program which will include in-person instruction and services with the option for remote learning to be available to meet students’ needs.
The Health and Safety Plan details the strategies, policies, and procedures the BCIU will use in its scaffolded reentry, focusing on 11 key areas:
- Cleaning and Sanitizing
- Hygiene Practices
- Physical Distancing
- Self-Screening and Monitoring
- Illness and Quarantine
- Face Coverings
- Physical Activity
The Health and Safety Plan is a true collaborative effort,” said Dr. Jill Hackman. “This plan incorporates the latest guidance from federal and state agencies as well as the County of Berks Department of Emergency Services. With this plan in place, the BCIU is prepared to deliver services and continue operations in the safest manner possible.”
The BCIU will continue to collaborate with superintendents, government and health officials, and stakeholders to prioritize the health and safety of its staff, students, families, and the community.