HOLLIDAYSBURG, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Hollidaysburg Area School District sent out a parent’s choice survey in June with three options for their child: traditional face to face, the school district’s cyber academy, or homeschooling. 95 percent of parents said they want their kids back in the classroom.
However, COVID-19 cases started to rise in Blair County just a month later, and the district decided to resend the survey if parents have growing concerns.
James Barroner’s son, Rob, will be a ninth-grader at Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School. The plan for him is to return to in-person classes in a few weeks and ride the school bus.
“What’s the risk of going back versus the risk of him not having that social factor of being in school,” he said.
Barroner joins 95% of HASD parents who say they want their kids back in the classroom after the district resent out their parent’s choice survey in July.
“It was a little of a struggle being home and doing schooling virtually…the school district is taking the appropriate steps. We’re comfortable with the plan they’ve put in place as of now,” he said.
And with less than three weeks away from the first day, Superintendent Dr. Bob Gildea said masking will be a responsibility that everyone must take seriously.
“A lot of factors come into play like masking in the classroom and social distancing in the classroom. In most of our buildings, we cannot establish the six feet of social distance. It’s just not possible,” Gildea said.
If students aren’t following the school’s protocol, High School Principal Dr. Maureen Letcher said they’ll focus on educating them on how these guidelines are in place to protect them.
“That’s what we’re all about. We’re out the students, and we want to be with them, and we want to see them, and we want them to be together and have all those wonderful experiences that we were all lucky to have,” she said.
As of now, the school district is planning on a full reopening on Aug. 26 but said the plan is evolving as more information becomes available.
The school district’s website has resources for parents and staff members if they have unanswered questions about the start of the school year and certain safety protocol.