State College Area School District to return to in-person learning


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — State College Area School District will be returning to in-person learning next week after having a period of remote instruction.

In a letter to parents and guardians, Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said the shift is unanimously supported by the district’s health and safety team, which includes physicians, epidemiologists and the district’s nurses.

According to O’Donnell, the team analyzed ongoing data for local COVID-19 cases and determined there are low incidence rates in the community beyond the college-age population.

The letter included the following statistics for cases in the area:

  • Geisinger Health System data shows a 3.0% positivity rate from its 434 tests of people in the district’s zip codes since Sept. 1. Out of 13 total positive cases, two were under the age of 18 and eight were between 18-24 years of age.
  • Data from Mount Nittany Health shows a 1.1% positivity rate from its 2,598 tests of people in the district zip codes Since Aug. 26. Out of 29 total positive cases, four were under the age of 16 and 18 were between 16-25 years of age.
  • Since Penn State started randomly testing employees, there has been one case reported out of 700 total tests.
  • The trend of seven-day case average in Centre County has been decreasing
  • One positive case has occurred out of 2,100 students and employees of preschools, daycare centers, and private charter schools who have continued to attend school since the end of August.

O’Donnell said that starting Sept. 28, students and employees will be randomly screened for temperature checks. Random COVID-19 testing will also begin for employees.

“While I am pleased students will return to buildings, this was still a difficult decision,” O’Donnell said. “Keep in mind, for this plan to work, our entire community must stay vigilant and abide by the safety measures in place to contain the spread of the virus.”

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