Wissahickon superintendent invokes “contingency strand” of reopening plan to switch grades sixth to 12 to 100% virtual

Citing a lack of certified staff, Superintendent Dr. James A. Crisfield of the Wissahickon School District announced today that he would invoke a “contingency strand” the pandemic reopening plan to switch grades sixth to 12 to 100% virtual. Under the approved plan, parents were allowed to select a hybrid plan (mix of in-school and virtual instruction) or 100% virtual.

After carefully examining the latest staffing data yesterday, I had to invoke a contingency strand of the approved plan due to the unique nature of staffing at the secondary level. Secondary teachers must be certificated in specific subject areas in order to be legally allowed to teach classes, and with more surrounding districts moving to 100% virtual, we are unable at this time to staff the secondary schools to open as planned. Hiring and onboarding specialty certification areas takes much more time than we have.

Therefore, I have informed the Board that we have to start the year 100% virtual in Grades 6-12. Here are some other key pieces of information you need to know:

– This will be for Marking Period 1 (MP1). We will reassess come MP2.
– We will do some staffing things in the next couple months (targeted hiring in those certification areas where we’re coming up short) that will hopefully enable us to implement the approved, in-person hybrid model starting in MP2 (provided our county’s “risk” status, as defined by the state, still allows for it).
– All students will be taught by WSD teachers. And, this will continue for the rest of the year. We will do some scheduling things in the next couple months to allow for this, even if/when we are able to implement the hybrid model.
– Students who have indicated they are choosing the 100% virtual option will automatically be reverted to being scheduled with WSD teachers, in WSD courses, just like a normal school year. If any family wants to stay with the Wissahickon Virtual Academy (WVA) option, they need to please contact the school ASAP and so indicate (Mrs. Joanne DeLuca at WHS or Mrs. Marlene Singer at WMS).

Parents of children in kindergarten through fifth grade will continue to have an option between five-day-a-week in-school instruction and 100% virtual.

You can find the entire notice here.