Lehighton Area School District expresses confidence over reopening plans

Back to School with Eyewitness News

LEHIGHTON, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — In the Lehighton Area School District, there’s ‘tribe pride’ and an air of confidence… Something that’s a little hard to find when you’re talking about reopening schools amid a global pandemic.

“No one has ever been through this before,” said Aaron Sebelin, primary principal at the Lehighton Area Elementary Center. “We’re all in the same boat, together, and we have to work together to do what’s best for our kids and community.”

The Lehighton Area Campus is almost ready to go for the coming school year.

The plan in place: high school in a hybrid, every other day setting. K-8 are cleared for five-day, in-person instruction. Still, there are some concerns.

“There’s a little angst and a little anxiety for staff members coming back,” noted District Superintendent Jonathan Cleaver. “But based upon our plan they feel confident that we’re keeping them at a low risk of exposure.”

Staff and administrators worked closely with Lehigh Valley Health Network to ensure the safest return possible.

“They feel comfortable with our plan,” said Suzanne Howland, Lehighton Area High School principal. “We’ve met with them via zoom. We’ve talked with their pandemic coordinators, our nurses and our staff have talked with them. I think everyone feels that we’ve put together the best plan we possibly could for our community at this point.”

The primary and intermediate schools getting feedback that parents felt safe sending their children back.

“I truly believe that elementary and young kids learn best in school and working directly with an instructor,” said Sebelin.

As Lehighton area embarks on as much in-person instruction as possible, there’s still the online academy and a virtual attendance of classroom instruction.

“It’s also about the silver lining of COVID-19,” noted Howland. “We’re looking at the educational process and looking at how we need to change to be able to better instruct our students as well as better serve them.”

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