On March 23, the Pennsylvania Department of Education extended coronavirus-motivated school closures in PA until April 6 at the earliest. The closure could be extended again if deemed necessary.

If closures are not further extended, schools will “be given two days to prepare classrooms, set up cafeterias, schedule transportation, and arrange other business operations,” according to the press release. Students would return to school April 9.

“Protecting the health and safety of students, families, teachers and all employees who work in our schools is paramount during this national health crisis and we must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera in the press release. “The number of positive cases increases daily and we’re seeing it spread to more counties. We must adhere to the social distancing guidelines. Extending the closure will help every community in its efforts to mitigate the spread.”

This closure will apply to Lebanon County school districts Annville-Cleona, Cornwall-Lebanon, Eastern Lebanon County, Lebanon, Northern Lebanon, and Palmyra in addition to other schools across the state.

Here’s an overview of what each of these districts has said about the extended closures, as well as updates on the districts’ free meal pickups.

Annville-Cleona School District

Annville-Cleona announced on its website that students are expected to return to school April 14 if closures are not extended. The district’s spring break is listed within the school calendar as taking place from April 9 to April 13, so school would resume following this break.

Starting March 30, students will be able to receive “optional educational resources” from teachers, which the district says “will continue throughout the school closure to assist with student retention and enrichment of previously learned materials.”

The district also announced that its lunch distribution plan will continue through the shutdown. Lunch distribution occurs Mondays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m outside the secondary school. On Mondays, three days’ worth of meals are provided, while four days’ worth are provided on Thursdays. Children must be under 18 and present for food pickup (more info here).

Cornwall-Lebanon School District

A superintendent’s update on CLSD’s website commented that “due to the timing of this permitted return date near our scheduled break, no decisions have been made yet as to when CLSD would be in session.” The district’s calendar lists the spring break as occurring from April 9 to April 14.

The update also included that “faculty and administrators are collaborating every day this week via virtual professional learning groups to be prepared to implement a Continuity of Learning Plan with students next week.” The district will provide more information later this week, the update says.

CLSD’s Grab N’ Go Meal Distribution Service occurs Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m at Union Canal Elementary School and Church of the Good Shepherd. Children are provided with a breakfast and a lunch, and the same meals are provided at both locations (more info here). The program is currently scheduled to run through April 9.

Eastern Lebanon County School District

ELCO’s Current Superintendent Communication from March 23 relayed that “At this time, I am unsure how these decisions from the State leadership will exactly impact our Spring Break in ELCO.” The district’s spring break is listed on the calendar as being from April 9 to April 14.

The communication notes that more details will be provided to students and parents “in an upcoming Global Connect.”

According to its Facebook page, ELCO is offering breakfast and lunch pickup Tuesday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. for students approved for free and reduced meals. It has not confirmed whether this will be available next week. Its website details Community Food Resources that may be available in the area.

Lebanon School District

Regarding the extended closure, Lebanon commented in a March 23 Facebook post and on its website that “how this announcement impacts our Easter break remains undecided.” The district’s calendar lists the break as occurring from April 9 to April 13.

“We will provide additional updates as they become available,” the communication says.

The district distributed five days’ worth of lunches and snacks for children under 18 March 23 (more info. here). It has not yet announced whether it will do something similar further into the closure.

Northern Lebanon School District

Northern Lebanon school district’s superintendent’s Message to Families commented that the district will “provide updates on further closures as well as how the return date impacts Spring Break as information becomes available.” The district’s calendar lists the break as beginning with an early dismissal April 9 and continuing until April 13.

The communication also mentions that this week, teachers are “preparing to provide online activities to students,” and “we are preparing our staff to continue activities through the end of the year, if needed.” It says that teachers will reach out to students early next week to determine which students have limited access to technology or the internet so that the district can “work on alternate arrangements for students that need it.”

The district is holding a food distribution for Northern Lebanon students March 24: however students needed to register a day in advance. It has not yet announced whether a similar program will be held with extended closures.

Palmyra Area School District

As of Tuesday morning, Palmyra Area School District had not posted any updates regarding the closure extension to its website or Facebook page.

Material on the district’s meal distribution plan posted to Facebook March 23 offers free meals to children under 18 “Tuesdays and Fridays beginning 3/24,” suggesting that meal distribution will continue into the closure. Meals will be available at Northside Elementary School both days from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Read all of LebTown’s COVID-19 coverage here.

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Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.


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