Bellefonte Area School District has been working diligently, with public health guidance from the state, to create back-to-school options for students in each phase of reopening during the 2020-21 school year. That includes in-person learning, cyber education and a blended hybrid experience. A fourth option for fulltime remote learning through Google Classroom was added for the second semester. All plans must be approved by the Bellefonte Area school board and sent to the state. Per state requirements, public school districts must create a three-tier reopening plan:
Below, you may find a timeline of events in return-to-school efforts, along with additional links to learn more about health guidance, learning options, the taskforce heading the initiative and more.
*Please note information may change as the state continuously alters its guidance. We will keep the community updated as necessary.
School reopening timeline
In August 2020, the state changed COVID-19 levels per county to "low," "moderate" and "substantial" risk of community transmission, which replaces phases green, yellow and red. Sept. 8-Dec. 14, 2020: Centre County has been placed in the "substantial rate of transmission" by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Dec. 14, 2020: Bellefonte Area School District is offering students and their families four learning models to choose from for the second semester of school. More information will be released after the new year. See options in this video: Learning models
Nov. 17, 2020: Gov. Tom Wolf and state Health Secretary Rachel Levine issued new COVID-19-related mandates across the commonwealth as novel coronavirus cases increase. It includes traveler testing and enhanced masking orders. See the full press release, here: New mitigation efforts
Aug. 25, 2020: First day of school for students. Students are enrolled at Bellefonte Area School District in three options in green phase for the 2020-21 school year -- full in-person learning, hybrid option and/or Bellefonte eLearning Academy. Heading into the first day, Interim Superintendent Tammie Burnaford has provided important information for families. You may find the update, here: Back-to-school information
Aug. 17, 2020: First day back to school for employees. This week includes professional learning, additional training, class and curriculum preparation, and more. The first day of school for students is Aug. 25.
Aug. 11, 2020: Deadline ends for Bellefonte Area School District families wanting to enroll their child in Bellefonte eLearning Academy or the hybrid option for learning in the 2020-21 school year.
July 30, 2020: The Bellefonte Area school board approved the final return-to-school health and safety plan for the fall. The first day of school is Aug. 25. Please note that information is subject to change as the state continuously alters guidelines. If anything changes, it must be board approved and the district will be in contact with the community.
July 23, 2020: After listening to community feedback and aiming to follow guidance from the state, district administrators created a third hybrid learning option for students in the 2020-21 school year. Some students will learn remotely on certain days, while others will be physically in school. More information will be released next week, along with a virtual video Q&A families can participate in. This third option will help limit the number of students in district buildings, allowing for the district to comply with guidance regarding distancing recommendations.
June 30, 2020: The board unanimously approved the district's summer school reopening health and safety and athletic return-to-play plans. Pandemic Coordinator Karen Krisch also unveiled tentative educational options for students in the 2020-21 school year and what that could mean in each phase of the pandemic.
June 17, 2020: Surveys were sent to district employees and families of children at Bellefonte Area schools in regard to the reopening. At the time of the survey, no decision was made about potential options for student education for the 2020-21 school year. The goal was to gain feedback to help create options for the reopening of school. See results, here: Parent survey
June 16, 2020: The school board approved Marion-Walker Elementary School Principal Karen Krisch as the district's pandemic coordinator to help oversee the taskforce and plans being created. The position was created as a requirement from the state.
June 3, 2020: The state provided preliminary guidance for phased reopening of schools across the commonwealth. The first step is to create a health and safety plan. By the end of June, the state plans to provide the district with guidance regarding instructional options. All district plans must be approved by the Bellefonte Area school board and sent to the state.
May 2020: Bellefonte Area School District created a school reopening taskforce with administrators, professional staff and support staff to help plan for the reopening of the 2020-21 school year, during the COVID-19 pandemic. They meet several times weekly.
Learn more about plans to reopen school
- Fall return-to-school plan (health and safety)
- Return-to-play plan (athletics)
- Summer school reopening plan (health and safety)
Cleaning and sanitation
General return-to-school information
- District Q&A
- Pandemic coordinator
- Student learning options (first semester)
- Student learning options (second semester)
- Technology resources
Guidance for reopening
- Learning options for second semester (Dec. 14, 2020)
- COVID-19 update and status of schools (Dec. 13, 2020)
- Friday update (Dec. 11, 2020)
- Weekly update (Dec. 7, 2020)
- Weekly update (Dec. 1, 2020)
- Followup information (Nov. 29, 2020)
- Thanksgiving school update (Nov. 25, 2020)
- Weekly update (Nov. 23, 2020)
- Status of school (Nov. 20, 2020)
- Weekly update (Nov. 16, 2020)
- Combating coronavirus (Nov. 9, 2020)
- DOH recognition and free student meals (Nov. 2, 2020)
- Weekly update (Oct. 26. 2020)
- Weekly update, Part 2 (Oct. 19, 2020)
- Weekly update (Oct. 19, 2020)
- Coronavirus update (Oct. 12, 2020)
- Additional coronavirus update (Oct. 11, 2020)
- Coronavirus update (Oct. 9, 2020)
- Reported coronavirus cases (Oct. 8, 2020)
- Athletic updates and free meals (Oct. 5, 2020)
- Weekly update (Sept. 28, 2020)
- Weekly update (Sept. 21, 2020)
- Weekly update (Sept. 14, 2020)
- Instructional model update (Sept. 8, 2020)
- Continuation of school information (Sept. 5, 2020)
- First-day-of-school update (Aug. 24, 2020)
- FLUency program for elementary families (Aug. 18, 2020)
- Learning options and registration (July 30, 2020)
- Back-to-school update (July 23, 2020)
- School reopening update (July 2, 2020)