Back-to-School Task Force
Back-to-School Task Force est. 2020 around Titan Head logo

The Shaler Area School District created its Back-to-School 2020 Task Force to discuss and develop options for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. While it is unclear when and how school buildings will be fully open, the district is committed to exploring innovative and effective solutions to help provide a full and well-rounded curriculum in environments that are safe and compliant with current health guidelines.  Our mission is to fully prepare for a safe return of our school community.

The District has been and will rely on the guidance and lead of experts including our local and state public health officials, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Governor.

The Task Force is divided into seven subcommittees which identified existing challenges and needs in each of the committee focus areas and developed multiple plans and scenarios for the reopening of schools.

  • Health & Wellness
  • Curriculum, Instruction & Assesessment
  • Special Education & Mental Health Services
  • School Operations
  • Technology
  • Transportation
  • Community Relations

Each subcommittee is made up of district administrators, teachers, parents, school board representatives, community members, and health and safety professionals. These groups worked over the summer to develop a complete Back-to-School Plan.

The Task Force focused on planning for three main scenarios for the reopening of school.
  • Traditional Model — This scenario will enable students to attend school Monday-Friday. Our schools will follow traditional hours unless directed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or a localized emergency occurs that would prevent the normal operation of school.
  • Hybrid Model — This scenario will enable students to take classes both in person at school as well as online. We recognize that some families may have certain health-related issues that present some obvious concerns. As such, we will do everything in our power to provide an option that will maximize safety protocols with a balance of personal support for all children, including those with elevated health risks.
  • Virtual Model — This scenario will enable students to learn online via our Virtual Learning model either 100 percent or during sporadic school closures as necessary. Students will not be expected to attend school in person. All of their classes will take place remotely with constant access and support from district staff.

Task Force Report and Health & Safety Plan
On August 6, 2020, the Shaler Area School Board of Directors approved the district’s Back-to-School Task Force Report and Health & Safety Plan for the 2020-2021 school year. As part of the district’s reopening plan, the board approved the following for the start of next school year:
  • All Shaler Area students will begin the first four weeks of school (through Friday, October 9, 2020) in a 100% virtual model (all at-home learning).
  • Additionally, the start of the school year will be delayed until Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The school board will approve a revised school calendar during its August 19 voting meeting. The last day of school will be Friday, June 11, 2021.
The 100% virtual instruction model provides the best option for staff to safely educate all 4,200 students, better assess remediation needs with all students on the same platform, and build and design a high-quality online program that can meet the needs of our students for the long-term. Delaying the start of the school year will provide our staff with additional time for professional development focusing on the virtual and hybrid learning models, 1:1 technology distribution and training for our students and families, and back-to-school orientation events for students.

A copy of the Back-to-School Task Force Report and Health & Safety Plan is available in the link to the right.

The district will remain in the 100% virtual model through October 9. With the case counts remaining consistent in Allegheny County, we will transition to the hybrid environment according to our announced timeline in our Back-to-School Task Force plan. The first day of hybrid learning is Monday, October 12.

In the hybrid model we will have a total of three cohorts of students.
  • Students in Cohort A will report for in-person instruction on Monday and Tuesday and engage in virtual instruction on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The first day of in-person instruction for Cohort A is October 12.
  • Students in Cohort B will report for in-person instruction on Thursday and Friday and engage in virtual instruction on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The first day of in-person instruction for Cohort B is October 15.
  • Students in Cohort C will not report for in-person instruction. Students in Cohort C will engage in virtual instruction Monday through Friday. Cohort C was previously referred to as “Titan Cyber Academy.”

Transition to 4-day In-Person Instruction

Shaler Area is currently operating in a hybrid instructional model but is planning for a transition to increase in-person instruction. 

Shaler Area’s 4-day in-person instruction model will follow a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday schedule. Wednesdays will remain virtual for all students. This will allow us to maintain our current mitigation strategies of additional cleaning on Wednesdays and provide our teaching staff with dedicated time during the week to support students in Cohort C. 

Below you will find the proposed transition timeline for increasing in-person instruction. Please note that these dates are subject to change based on the positivity rates and case counts in Allegheny County and the school district.



Transition Milestone

March 8, 2021

4-day Instruction begins for students in Grades K-3

March 15, 2021

4-day Instruction begins for students in Grade 4-6

April 5, 2021 

4-day Instruction begins for students in Grades 7-12

Dates are subject to change based upon positive rates/case counts in 

Allegheny County and the Shaler Area School District.


When to Contact your School Nurse

It is important to communicate with your school nurse in order for the school district to provide the safest learning environment possible for our students and staff and to comply with state requirements. Please contact your school nurse via phone or email immediately if any of the following apply:
  • Your student or any member of your household tests positive for COVID-19. 
  • Your student has  been in close contact with a confirmed or presumed positive COVID-19 case.
  • Your student is currently quarantined or isolated due to a recent exposure outside of school.


School Breakfast and Lunch while in Hybrid

The Shaler Area School District is pleased to announce that free meals for breakfast and lunch are available for all of the district’s school-aged children whether they are participating in in-school instruction or remote instruction.
If my child is in remote learning how do I obtain meals?
Grab-N-Go Breakfast and Lunch will be provided for any day your child is not attending in-school instruction. Simply complete the google form https://forms.gle/Y2xWyj2SvQDHGuhm9 by 9 a.m. on Friday for the following week’s meals.

Meals can be picked up at the following locations:
  • Shaler Area High School from 11 a.m. to noon 
  • Emmanuel Lutheran Church, in Etna, from 11 a.m. to noon 

Meals will be provided Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted. Saturday and Sunday’s meals will be provided on Friday. For any questions, please contact Sue Cook, Food Service Director, at [email protected] or 412-492-1200 ext. 1582.
No pre-order is needed for the free in-school instruction meal service available in the building cafeteria.

Inclement Weather

The safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance to us, so we take the decision to delay or cancel classes very seriously. During a winter weather event, we take into account the current road and weather conditions, temperature and wind chill as well as the day’s forecast. We also consult with the safety coordinators of our contracted bus companies who travel the roads in the district to assess their safety. Please be aware, school delays or cancellations also can occur for other unexpected reasons, such as an area water main break, power outage, or other significant event. Be sure that you have appropriate plans in place in the event the district should need to delay, cancel, or dismiss students early.


For this school year, we will use the following process:

  • In the event of inclement weather, a two-hour delay schedule may be used on in-person instruction days. If it is necessary to cancel in-person classes, all students will participate in virtual instruction on that day.

  • The decision to delay or cancel school will be made whenever possible before 6 a.m. and if possible, the night before. However, there are occasions that changing road and weather conditions will necessitate a later decision.

  • Families should check the district’s website, www.sasd.k12.pa.us, for important information such as delays and closings. Additionally, the district’s phone message (412-492-1200) will be updated to reflect any changes in the district’s schedule as well as the district’s social media accounts. 

  • Families also can choose to receive texts and/or emails through the district website by signing up for the “Email Newsletter” on the main webpage, adding a cell phone number and/or email address and choosing “school closings.”

  • In addition to the main phone number and website, Shaler Area notifies three local news stations: KDKA, WPXI, WTAE. Please note that the school district does not control how quickly the information is updated on-air. You may consider signing up for the e-mail alerts through the respective television stations.

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1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard     Glenshaw, PA. 15116     P 412-492-1200     F 412-492-1236
1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard Glenshaw, PA. 15116 P 412-492-1200 F 412-492-1236
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