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Palisades first semester underway, district begins planning for the next

With its board-approved health and safety plan in hand only as a guideline, the Palisades School District is continuing its commitment to work on extraordinary efforts to protect students, staff, and the community during the pandemic.
The district began the school year on Aug. 31 with basic options of a full-reopen or full-virtual program, with staffing based on current parent preferences.
Parents will have the option to request a change in their present preference, on a case-by-case basis, for the second semester, with approval keyed by maintaining minimum social distancing and appropriate staffing. Switching to all-virtual, or a “hybrid” combination of virtual and in-person, remain as basic options, subject to how things go with the health of all concerned.
That overall status was presented at the Sept. 2 dial-in public school board meeting, along with numerous details, especially during reports from the athletics and facilities committees. Complete details are available on the district website, via the school board tab, the Sept. 2 meeting, and the minutes of the most recent committee meetings.
Among highlights, the high school remains all virtual pending completion of the new science wing, in order to achieve minimum social distancing in all classrooms. Officials hope to obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy to allow for resumption of in-person attendance by Oct. 5.
The football season is to start on Sept. 25, two weeks later than the guideline issued by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, while other sports are to start later, or according to, the latter guidelines. District Superintendent Bridget O’Connell and Athletic Director Brian Gilbert are continuing to work on protective measures for all sports.
Among a list of pandemic-related facilities changes, classrooms will be outfitted with gloves, face shields, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizers, while all buildings and playgrounds will have the use of an antimicrobial mist machine that has a 90-day residual effect.
During his report on the district liaison to the Pennsylvania School Board Association, school board President Bob Musantry noted lobbying toward the state for more funding to cover all the new, pandemic related expenses.
In summary comments ending the Sept. 2 meeting, board members continued high praise of their staff’s response to the crisis. Musantry added gratitude for the “diligence of the community” as a whole, and the need to “keep up the good work, and avoid any fatigue” on maintaining protocols such as wearing masks.