Dear East Penn Families,
Thank you for your continued patience as we navigate through the reopening of our East Penn schools this fall. We appreciate and understand your frustrations over our most recent announcement regarding our secondary schools opening in the remote model of learning due to staffing issues. We would like to take this opportunity to answer questions and clarify misconceptions regarding this announcement.
- What are the staffing needs that lead to the decision to shift to remote learning (instead of hybrid) at the secondary schools? Our current staffing needs are professional and support staff positions, including professional staff with specialized certifications and support staff who work in our special education programs.
- Why has the District been unable to fill these positions throughout the summer? The District does not control the timing of staff resignations and temporary leave of absences. Untimely resignations impact the critical functions that support the needs of all students. The District has been working diligently throughout the summer to fill all open positions using both internal and external resources. We have filled many of our open professional staff positions and are waiting for staff to be released from current employers and have requested that they be released prior to 60 days. (The PA School Code specifically references that an employee may be held by their current employer for up to 60 days after resigning from a position.)
- What steps has the District taken to fill the positions? We have been working with local staffing agencies, pursuing emergency professional certification through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and are reaching out to retired employees as a short term solution. As a reminder, East Penn is competing with other school systems in the area for many of the same personnel resources.
As soon as the District can fill the required positions, assuming we are still within the state guidelines for in-person learning, we plan to bring the secondary students back to the hybrid model on October 26th. We ask for your patience, kindness, and support as we work towards securing the essential resources needed to safely reopen all of our East Penn schools.
Superintendent of Schools