Are We Going Back to March 13,2020?


On September 28,2020, the students of Greater Latrobe School District returned back to the building five days a week after their four week long hybrid schedule. With the school being back to full capacity, precautions had to be followed closely to ensure the safety of all students and staff. Social distancing of six feet within classrooms, the wearing of masks, and even screen dividers implemented in between desks help to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The third week hit, then things started to change. The week of October 12, 2020, other schools around the area started to shut down or go hybrid due to an increased number of cases within the schools. Gateway, Penn-Trafford, Norwin, Hempfield, Greensburg Salem and Derry were included. Latrobe was not intending to shut their doors. 

Superintendent Dr. Georgia Teppert, stated that the number of cases compared to the number of students in the building does not call for a shut down according to a WTAE story. The CDC states that five percent of the student body has to test positive for Covid in order for the school to close. By October 23, GLSD had 15 positive covid cases within the high school. Teppert has been looking closely at each case individually and the school is doing their part by conducting in depth contact tracing as well as having a list of protocols and a letter in regards to our plan of action  on the website. Letters were sent out to families regarding new cases within the district,but now the GLSD website has a daily case tracker for each of the buildings that is updated each day at 4 pm. 

 The third week of October, Covid was on the rise. Westmoreland County surpassed Allegheny County in the case counts. Westmoreland exceeded 100 cases in one day since the start of this school year. Westmoreland County is now at an 8% positivity rate which moves the county from moderate to the substantial range. If this would continue, the county could potentially shut down all of the schools in the surrounding area, taking students back to virtual learning.

The first big case talked about happened when multiple players on the boys soccer team tested positive. This resulted in an immediate quarantine and a pause to their season, even though the team made the playoffs. Fortunately, they have been cleared to play. Mark Mears  has ever changing feelings toward the sports season with Covid in mind. “These two are not a good mix,” he said. With team members spending so much time together, Mears was not surprised when a team contracted the virus. He responded, “I knew it was bound to happen at some point as we have around 400 athletes participating in fall sports. With the rise in cases, if we close, I feel that playoffs will continue unless told otherwise by the county or state. These next few weeks are crucial. If we are not in school, it will be hard to start up the winter sports season.”  

By the spring, Mears is hoping there is a vaccine. Concerning his job, Mears stated, “I never had to worry about the health and safety of our athletes, that was the trainers’ job. We are definitely more busy with having to manage these concerns.” 

As far as school is concerned, Mears was glad that GLSD stayed open thus far. He said, “I feel that we don’t have enough cases to close. I would like to see this through for as long as possible.”

 As a whole, the school is doing a great job at keeping everyone as safe as possible. On October 26, the county is getting together again to decide what the next step is for students and staff.

Overall, case numbers and the status are changing by the minute. The school district just has to go day by day making decisions as new information is thrown at us. Both students and staff have to adapt and overcome these changes in order to successfully learn and get through this school year.

Breaking News: On Monday, October 26, 2020, the district sent out a letter stating the following, “When evaluating the recommendation from the state departments, speaking with our Medical Expert Panel and Greater Latrobe School District’s Board of Education, it has been decided that GLSD will begin a full remote instructional model utilizing “GLSD Online” beginning Monday, November 2, 2020.”