Pennsbury Schools Returning To Remote-Only Learning Temporarily

"Reopen Pennsbury" protestors gather in front of the Pennsbury Administration Building. Photo by Rick Rickman.

Right after students just got back into the classroom, the Pennsbury Schools will be returning to remote-only learning after Thanksgiving.

The Pennsbury School Board approved the measure at its Thursday night meeting. It involves the few students attending in-person learning to spend a week back in the virtual classroom.

These students in Pre-K through second grade will continue hybrid in-person learning through the Thanksgiving break. Then they will learn online from Monday, November 30 through Friday, December 4.

Superintendent Dr. William Gretzula noted transmission rates are rapidly increasing in Bucks County. He said guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education recommends a county with these transmission rates to return to full remote instruction.

“These numbers are alarming, obviously, and they are leading to two significant challenges of keeping schools open,” said Gretzula. The first factor contact tracers being overwhelmed while the second is maintaining staffing levels.

Gretzula also said since November 2, 22 students and 20 staff have tested positive for coronavirus. He added more staff and students are quarantining and awaiting test results.

However, more than half of these cases were confirmed before the school reopened for hybrid learning on November 12. Additionally, students in grades three through eight do not return until December 7, and older students not until next February.

“To date, we have no definitive evidence that these positives cases were contracted or transmitted through schools,” said Gretzula. “There’s speculation, there’s challenges in contact tracing, but we don’t have any evidence.”

Gretzula also indicated they do not plan for this temporary return to virtual learning to become permanent. The hope, he said, is to give a buffer period after Thanksgiving in case large gatherings do occur, then return to the hybrid plan with older students on Dec. 7.