Centre County has seen a high number of Coronavirus cases since Penn State Students returned to Campus, but even as those Students return home to finish their Semester virtually, the impacts its left behind still linger in other Schools. From Elementary to College, the local Schools in Centre County are moving remote due to outbreaks either within their walls or the surrounding communities. Local Schools are at their tipping point when it comes to the Virus.
Before the year even began, Penn State Officials elected to end in-person classes following the Fall Break, making Students learn remotely after Thanksgiving Break. The fear was that cases would surge now: and they have. The University reporting 114 new cases this week. In a sendoff email sent out Friday, Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims congratulated them for making it into the 4th week of November during these unprecedented times. The Coalition for a Just University found the letter to be flippant, saying in part: “Penn State has had more COVID-19 cases than almost any other University in the Country and yet Penn State Administrators are declaring this Semester a ‘Success’.”
Grade Schools are also seeing a surge: in just the last two days, Penns Valley, Bald Eagle, and State College Area School District Administrations have decided to move to Remote Education as well. On Thursday, Bald Eagle Superintendent Scott Graham posted on Facebook they had their first case in the High School. Then just 24 hours later they had another confirmed case and more than 100 Students quarantined. Due to the number of positives District-wide, Officials closed Schools until December 1st.
State College Area School District Superintendent Bob O’Donnell also announced a closure on Thursday with a reopening date of December 14th. O’Donnell says the District has struggled with staffing related to COVID-19 and illnesses. He says, the Health and Safety Team are only predicting the situation will get worse over the Holidays.
Penns Valley Officials say they also will stay remote through the rest of November.
Superintendent of Bellefonte Area School District announced Friday that despite the Local School closures, their doors remain open as they have still not had any transmissions of the Virus.