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July 28, 2021 Meeting Minutes - Mask Mandates, Adapted P.E., & S.D.I.s

PALS Meeting Minutes

July 28, 2021 9:30 a.m.

Virtual Meeting using Zoom


Open Forum

Open Forum is an opportunity for participants to come together and discuss a variety of topics, offer resources, and ask questions related to special education.


Mask Mandates

School district's across the country are setting their Health and Safety Plans for the 2021 - 2022 school year. At the same time the CDC has just released their latest recommendations based on the rising spread of the Delta variant among the unvaccinated.


At the time of this positing:

- On July 16, 2021 Hampton School District announced the board will vote on a new plan August 2, 2021 which will allow for "voluntary participation in the CDC's mask-wearing guidelines." while staying firm on the CDC's requirements "regarding face coverings on public transportation."


- On July 26, 2021 Fox Chapel Area School District notified families that the board will discuss their plan on August 2, 2021 with a vote coming on August 9, 2021. Some aspects of the plan include, "masks being strongly recommended (for staff and students), however, their use will be voluntary, unless there is a change in local, state, and/or national guidelines.", "universal masking will be required while on district transportation to and from school, sports, and activities. This includes all students and staff, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated. Students will be spaced apart from each other to the extent feasible while on buses and assigned seats to assist in contact tracing.", and "classroom and other seating will be arranged to allow for social distancing to the extent feasible and practical."


- On July 27, 2021 the CDC held a briefing to discuss new recommendations following the increase in COVID-19 Delta variant cases. You can listen to that briefing here. Within that briefing the CDC recommended "universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place."


- On July 28, 2021 Pittsburgh Public School board will vote on their plan which outlines, "students must be vaccinated, masks will be required for everyone, unless they are outside or playing sports, three feet of social distancing for students and six feet between adults."


- North Allegheny, Hempfield Area, Bethel Park, and Mars School District both intend to leave it up to parents on whether or not their students wear masks while monitoring updates and complying with local, state, and federal mandates.


- Avonworth School District is requiring masks for students in K-6 grades.


- Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have both indicated they "are not considering reinstating a statewide (mask) mandate at this time."


- Visit District Administration if you are interested in seeing what school district across the country are planning when it comes to mask mandates.


Adapted P.E.

We discussed how to go about initiate the implementation of Adapted Physical Education (P.E.) in a student's IEP. In the article, Physical Education for Students with Disabilities, Wrightslaw shares, "Adapted or specially designed physical education (APE) is about meeting the unique needs of individual students with disabilities." A student's needs in this area aren't limited to physical or cognitive. Students may need behavior and/or emotional support when it comes to learning the nuisances of team competitive sports. Providing these supports could lead to more positive outcomes in P.E. class, lessen the likelihood of misunderstandings and bullying, and increase the likelihood of positive social interactions amongst peers.


Find the Pennsylvania Department of Education's frequently asked questions regarding adapted physical education document here. This document offers readers a glimpse into the federal and state standards for APE. As it relates to our conversation today, the following statement deserves further investigation; "determination should be made using assessments aligned to the PA Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education. The assessment should be completed by a physical education teacher with input from other team members." When taking a look at these standards we can find language to work with to develop a goal for general physical education with an SDI or adapted physical education. For instance, as it relates to this specific conversation, we can look at State Standard 10.4 Physical Activity. Regardless of grade level, item F addresses "positive and negative interactions of group members". Like building blocks students are expected to be able to, Recognize (Grade 3), Identify (Grade 6), Analyze (Grade 9), and Assess (Grade 12) these interactions. We can also look State Standard 10.5 Concepts, Principles and Strategies of Movement, item F addressing "game strategies".

Next Meeting: August 25, 2021 9:30 a.m. Virtual Meeting using Zoom. Currently scheduled as Open Forum.

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SPECIAL NOTE

All meetings will be held virtually until further notice.

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