Palmyra Area School District has reported its first positive COVID-19 diagnosis at the high school.

District superintendent Bernie Kepler informed students and parents of the case in a message on Monday.

“I write this morning to let you know that members of our administration spent a full day yesterday working through our school district’s first positive case of COVID-19,” he wrote in the Monday email.

“Upon receiving confirmation of a positive test, our team worked with the Department of Health to identify any staff or students who were close contacts (6′ for 15 minutes or more). This morning our HS administration contacted any students and staff who need to quarantine as a result of being identified as a close contact. Appropriate cleaning of our facility has taken place and school will be open tomorrow, Tuesday, September 8, 2020.”

Contacted by LebTown on Tuesday, Kepler confirmed that it was a student, not a staff member, who received the positive diagnosis. The high school student has “no siblings in other school buildings” in the district, Kepler said.

The student was last at school on Tuesday, Sept. 1, he noted. He did not say how many people have been asked to quarantine because of possible exposure to the student.

As of publication time, there was no announcement or discussion of the matter on the district’s Facebook page. Although the information was sent to parents and guardians of high school students, there did not appear to be any mention of the diagnosis on the district website at

As of noon, Kepler said he had received only one communication on the subject from a parent, and he said “it was a general statement; not a concern.”

According to an interview with Kepler in August, Palmyra reopened its high school this year with students on an alternating schedule. That means approximately half of the students are in school on any given day, while the other half participates in class remotely from home.

Read More: PASD puts reopening plans in place, “much stronger” at-home program ready

High school students also were given the option of staying home every day, participating in a synchronous class schedule or attending the Cougar Academy, which allows students to work at their own pace.

Kepler said in August that there was an increase in the number of secondary students enrolled in the cyber program, he noted, although the increase is “not as significant” as it was among elementary-age students. Elementary schools reopened this year with students in the classroom every day, rather than a rotating schedule, although they also were given options for synchronous or asynchronous learning at home.

Classes resumed in the district on Aug. 31. Kepler said the models for reopening were decided upon after parents completed two surveys on their preferences for the school year.

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

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Tom has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades. In his spare time, he plays fiddle with the Irish band Fire in the Glen, and he reviews music, books and movies for Rambles.NET. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and has four children: Vinnie, Molly, Annabelle and Wolf.


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