The Pennsbury School District may be going completely virtual through next January as it prepares for the upcoming school year.

Previously, the Pennsbury School Board had voted to offer a virtual option for all students when school begins September 8. An exception to go into school would exist for students with IEPs and 504 Plans.

Then, parents and students would have a choice beginning October 5. They could either continue the online only option or choose a hybrid learning experience. This would include some weekdays in the classroom and other days at home.

But now school officials are advocating for a virtual experience through the end of the second marking period. This would mean no students could step into the school buildings until after January 29.

Instead of going into school, students with IEPs and 504 Plans would learn at home. When needed, staff could visit their homes to help with instruction.

In a letter sent to the community Wednesday morning, Superintendent Dr. William Gretzula and School Board President T.R. Kannan say the recommendation comes “amidst mounting concerns around issues of health and safety.”

As stated in the letter, this is only a recommendation. It must receive the approval of the Pennsbury School Board at its next meeting on August 20. However, with the support of the superintendent and school board president, approval of the new plan seems likely.

The letter also recognizes this upcoming virtual plan must be an improvement over what students experienced this past year. It aims to be “similar to an in-person
model with accountability for both students and staff.”

If approved, Pennsbury would be the latest to choose online learning only through the new year. The Morrisville School District recently approved a similar time table.

Bucks County Department of Health Dr. David Damsker recently advocated for local schools to keep an open mind on reopening.

“Several area school districts are now making critical decisions about virtual schooling that will last many months in some instances, when our cases are headed lower, hospitalizations continue to be at the lowest rates since March, and deaths are infrequent,” Damsker said.

“While it is, of course, an individual school district decision, our local data are showing improvements now that will hopefully be taken into account when finalizing school health and safety plans.”