South Western School District closes down in the wake of COVID cases

Sam Woloson, Editor-in-Chief of The Prowler

South Western High School is one of two schools in the district that has a positive case.
Photo from Dawn J. Sagert of the York Dispatch.

Just days into reopening for brick and mortar schooling, South Western School District is shutting things back down. 

This comes after confirmed cases of COVID-19 emerged at South Western High School and Baresville Elementary School, both of which being buildings within the district. These reports come without detail about the number of positive tests nor the symptoms and characteristics of those that tested positive. 

This closure was announced on the evening of Aug. 30 in a letter written and delivered to families within the district by Superintendent Jay Burkhardt. This comes less than a week after the district began schooling again, as they started on Aug. 24.

“As a result of the recommended guidance from PDE [Pennsylvania Department of Education] and DOH [Department of Health], the South Western School District will be closing all buildings from August 31, 2020 through Sept. 4, 2020. Remote instruction will resume for all students on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020,” the letter said. The plan is for the district to reopen its buildings on Sept. 8. 

Prior to this, the plan for South Western was to have an integrated system, which would have students learning through brick and mortar for 2-3 days a week and studying remotely for the other days. 

There has been some pushback, particularly on South Western’s Facebook page, from community members. The general consensus is that South Western has handled the situation poorly and perhaps shouldn’t have even sent students back to school, knowing full well that they would likely have to send students to full-remote learning. 

This is a potential ill omen for the Central York community, who have enabled students to either return to brick and mortar for five days a week or to do remote learning through Zoom conference. 

The South Western case shows how volatile the virus can be, as just a few cases were enough to completely disturb the entire district’s plan. While it remains to be seen whether or not Central’s brick and mortar plan can go the distance, many have not felt confident about the chance of students being able to stay in school in and around the area.