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Shaler Area to extend virtual instruction for one additional week

December 17, 2020


Dear Shaler Area families,


As we look to the upcoming winter break and holiday season, we want to provide an update on our tentative return to hybrid instruction in January, information about available social and emotional health resources, the grab-n-go meal program’s holiday schedule, and the state’s updated travel requirements.


Extending Virtual Instruction

We had planned to resume in-person instruction the week of January 4, however with the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases within the community and county presumably stemming from the Thanksgiving holiday, we have made the decision to extend virtual instruction for one additional week. This additional week will provide a natural 10-day quarantine for any coronavirus exposures over the holidays. Our desire is to create the safest environment possible for our returning students and staff. 


We will tentatively return to hybrid instruction on Monday, January 11, for Cohort A and Thursday, January 14, 2021 for Cohort B. This transition schedule is subject to change based on recommendations from the county and state officials and the COVID-19 community transmission rate within our county. We will continue to track the data and provide regular communication with any additional information or updates as conditions necessitate. 


Resources for Social and Emotional Health

We recognize how the social and emotional toll that the limitations caused by the pandemic can affect our students and families. In addition to the supports in each building provided by our teachers and Student Services staff, we have an extended list of resources available on our Support Services Google Sites page that you can access by clicking on this link:


Some of the topics on the page are listed below and also can be accessed by clicking on the title:

We ask that if you have any concerns about your student, please reach out to your student’s teachers, school counselor, building social worker, and/or building principal. Our staff is continuing to gather and provide additional resources in order to help with the social and emotional wellness of all our students and families.

Food Service Holiday Schedule

The grab-n-go breakfast and lunch program will provide FREE meals for students during winter break through two bulk distributions. Both orders must be received by 9 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 18, using the food service Google Form. Pick-up dates will be:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 23 (7-day meal package)

  • Wednesday, Dec. 30 (5-day meal package)


Meal packages can be picked up at one of three pick-up locations:

  • Shaler Area High School (main entrance at the front of the building) from 11 a.m. to noon 

  • Emmanuel Lutheran Church, in Etna, from 11 a.m. to noon 

  • Millvale Community Center, 416 Lincoln Ave., in Millvale, (at the dock entrance off of the parking lot) from 11 a.m. to noon


Starting the week of January 4, the grab-n-go meal program will return to its daily schedule. To participate in this program, complete the Google Form by Friday for the following week’s meals. For any questions, please contact Sue Cook, Food Service Director, at [email protected] or 412-492-1200 ext. 1582.


Updated Travel Restrictions and Requirements

As we look to bring students and staff into our buildings in January, please note the updated travel requirements issues by the state Department of Health. Most notable are the following changes:

  • All travelers over age 11 entering Pennsylvania from locations outside the Commonwealth, including Pennsylvanians who are returning home from outside the Commonwealth, must produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in quarantine for 10 days without testing or a 7-day quarantine with a negative test on after day 5 of quarantine.

  • This does NOT apply to individuals who are returning to the Commonwealth after traveling outside the Commonwealth for less than 24 hours, individuals traveling to and from the Commonwealth for medical reasons, or individuals traveling to comply with a court order, such as child custody.


Please contact your school nurse via email or phone if you plan to travel outside of Pennsylvania for any reason or if your student or any member of your household tests positive for COVID-19. It is important to communicate with your student’s school nurse in order for the school district to provide the safest learning environment possible for our returning students and staff and comply with state requirements.




Sean C. Aiken 

Superintendent of Schools 


Bryan E. O’Black, Ed.D. 

Assistant Superintendent