Information Sharing (February 19, 2021)
Dear Great Valley Families,
In our continued efforts to keep you informed, I’d like to share some important updates with you.
Calendar: The current year’s calendar was amended at Tuesday night’s School Board meeting to make Thursday, June 10, the last student day.
Contract Extension: The Board of School Directors approved a one-year contract extension with the Great Valley Education Association (GVEA) on Tuesday night. The agreement extends the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was due to expire this June to June 30, 2022. Both the School Board and I are grateful for GVEA and its leadership for the collaboration that happened to reach this agreement. The delay of formal negotiations allows us all to remain focused on students and their education program as we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
Feasibility Study: The District began working with the architectural firm SCHRADERGROUP during the 2019-2020 school year to address future building needs district-wide. After a comprehensive analysis of the current district facilities and a study of student enrollment projections (which anticipate welcoming 900 additional students in the next five years), it was clear that the District’s six schools cannot accommodate the expected growth. As part of a community-based process, and an extensive review of construction planning options, the building of a new 5/6 Center became the most viable option for moving forward. This would shift all the 6th grade students from Great Valley Middle School and all the 5th grade students from each of the current elementary schools to a new facility. At the Board meeting on Tuesday night, architect David Schrader presented two conceptual site plans: 1) a three-story school that would allow the District Administration Building to also stay on-site; and 2) a two-story school that would prompt the relocation of the District offices. The Board directed SCHRADERGROUP to continue discussions with East Whiteland Township to implement the construction of a two-story school on the K.D Markley site. While a new building is still years away (opening in 2024), we are excited that this work is happening and we look forward to building a robust 5/6 program for our students. Please look for future opportunities to be involved in this process. We will look at what other districts have done, not only in our area, but across the country, and plan to engage our community in conversations and planning. We will certainly share more information later in the process.
Summer Learning Opportunities: We are currently working to make summer learning opportunities available for our students. Much more information will be provided in the coming weeks, but we expect registration to open in early March.
Antigen “Assurance Testing”: We have begun to roll out antigen “assurance testing” for staff in our schools. Certain special education students and students/staff who become symptomatic during the school day may also participate in this assurance testing. This testing is designed to further limit the spread of COVID-19 cases by identifying positive cases among those who remain asymptomatic. Tests provide results within 15 minutes and may warrant referral for a PCR test. Please note that these tests do no replace testing for those who feel ill; please don’t plan on sending sick students to school just to receive a test.
Reminder about Travel/Quarantine: While the decision to travel is a personal one for families, the responsibility to protect the health and well-being of our school community belongs to everyone. Open and honest communication with your school is a critical part of that partnership. To that end, families are asked to communicate travel plans to their school principal in advance via our online form. Additional guidelines are posted on our website, including information about quarantine in the event that a child has not been tested and/or a negative result was not produced after traveling.
I continue to be grateful for your flexibility and patience as we educate and serve children throughout the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. The strength of our school community is certainly found in the partnership we see among families, staff, and our schools.
Daniel F. Goffredo, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools