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GJSD back to school message may not happen

JOHNSTOWN — Greater Johnstown School District Interim Superintendent Karen Geelan on Thursday morning sent a message to district residents cautioning that the classroom shutdown in the city may be lifted by Wednesday.

But she told The Leader-Herald that afternoon that she’s still not sure what will happen.

“I didn’t want [the district] to think we weren’t looking ahead,” Geelan said.

She said no matter what decision is made on the BOCES or state level, the Johnstown school system won’t continue as it has been the last couple weeks when it was shut down like other districts because of the coronavirus.

“We’re going to shift into true instruction,” Geelan said.

The superintendent said the district has been contacting school families to determine who has the internet and other devices to be taught on to complete the 2019-20 school year.

“We have plans to deliver Chromebooks,” Geelan said. “Teachers are putting together lesson plans.”

Geelan’s message to district residents Thursday stated: “Since the beginning of this health crisis, you have heard me and others refer to Phase I planning. We considered Phase I the time period between March 13, 2020 [to] March 31, 2020, which was characterized by alerting everyone of the impending health crisis and mobilizing to shut down classes. We developed plans for student meals, distributing learning resources, and child care for families of all essential workers. As of this writing we are working under the assumption we will be returning to normal operations on April 1, 2020, however it is important to plan for the chance we will not. This is what we call Phase II, a prolonged cancellation of classes. Our faculty and staff have been busy planning for a shift from learning resources and skill practice to the possibility of providing instruction remotely. Should this become a reality for us, you will receive directions and information from us. We have been holding regular Health Briefings with the nursing team, the administrators meet daily, and throughout the day various teams of teachers and staff are holding meetings. All are through Google Hangout/ Google Meets. It’s the next best thing to being together. We know it is difficult to be separated from each other, and we miss your students very much! Check in with us on our web site for many helpful links for you and your family, and visit our Facebook page to read a story along with one of us. We are doing what we can to stay connected. For now, please maintain your social distancing and hand washing practices. Stay safe and healthy!”

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