Waiting at the bus stop at 6:45 AM was sophomore Kayla Turcsanyi, who is in the Avonworth Virtual Academy this fall but attends live classes in Sports Medicine at Beattie. “I got an email…saying that Beattie students should not report to Beattie, but I was already at the bus stop for 5-10 minutes before that.” Kayla and all L through Z students who attend in-person classes at AHS were now expected to attend virtual classes after an unexpected change to the hybrid model in use since late August.
At 6:36 PM Monday evening, the administration sent a first message about the COVID positive tests.
“This evening, the Avonworth School District Administration was notified of a new positive case of COVID-19. This case is an individual from the secondary campus.
This case has been reported to the Allegheny County Department of Health which will conduct its investigation and contact tracing”.
At 11:26 PM, another e-mail followed.
“Due to the late hour, we are in need of closing the secondary campus tomorrow, Tuesday, October 27, 2020, and will provide instruction synchronously for our students in grades 7-12, in the same manner it was provided last Thursday and Friday. Students will need to log in to begin instruction at 9:45 AM. This will provide time for completing the contact tracing and contacting individuals that are identified as potential close contacts.”
The communication also addressed further questions about instruction the rest of the week:
“A notification will be sent tomorrow to indicate if the secondary campus is able to reopen on Thursday, October 29, 2020.”
Student reaction was a mix of concern, anxiety, frustration, and sometimes quick acceptance.
“I was really upset that the school was closed, especially so late into the night.” said sophomore Payton Sciere, a hybrid Group B student normally attending in-person on Thursdays and Fridays. “Just as there was a sense of normality again, it was ruined by people who didn’t wear their masks and got covid. They are ruining the learning for everyone else. Many people, like me, struggle to work at home. By being irresponsible, they are impacting the education of mine and many others.”
“Stressful. The workload was too much, and teachers assigned many things every day.” said sophomore Makenna Kohl.
“I wasn’t surprised, they shouldn’t have opened this week anyway.” said junior Halle Archey. “My family doesn’t go to sleep early luckily but I know other people had to find out at 9 am when they’re ready for school already. It was unhelpful and kinda unreliable.”
“It was easy, “said sophomore Hannah Lichauer, “it just felt like another virtual day of the week. Swag.”
Students returned back to the high school on Thursday after Dr. Hadley sent a clarifying update on Wednesday.
Thank you for your patience today as our Administration worked with the Allegheny County Department of Health to ensure we properly investigated the cases and potential close contacts that the District was made aware of late last evening. After completing this investigation today, close contacts have been identified and those individuals are being contacted and quarantined.
On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, students will engage in asynchronous instruction as per usual. The secondary campus will reopen on Thursday, October 29, 2020, and the current hybrid model instruction will resume. Students in the Avonworth Virtual Academy will continue with their instruction as usual.
Reporting completed by members of Journalism 1: Brayden Simmons, Eliza Rapp, Anna Boothby, and Zoe Trexel