Secretary of Education Is Encouraging Healthy Habits

studentImage by Marc Thele

YORK, PA — Pennsylvania Department of Education Secretary Dr. Noe Ortega recently visited Yorkshire Elementary School in York Suburban School District to highlight how students in the region are staying healthy and safe during an unprecedented new school year, and encourage them to adopt healthy, lifelong hygiene habits.

“York Suburban School District and Yorkshire Elementary School are doing an outstanding job of ensuring that their students, teachers, and community are staying safe and healthy, and we commend them for their efforts,” said Sec. Ortega. “By being proactive and engaged, the district has enabled its students to stay in the classroom, with limited disruption to learning and extracurricular activities—which is exactly what we had hoped for at the start of this new school year.”

During the event, Sec. Ortega read the book “A Germ’s Journey” to a first-grade class. The book was written in 2011 by Thom Rooke, MD and illustrated by Tony Trimmer.

Currently, students 12 and older are eligible and encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which is one of the best ways to keep students learning in-person.

The state Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable, and efficient to all Pennsylvanians. Use Vaccine Finder to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.

Throughout the 2020-21 school year, PDE regularly provided technical assistance and guidance to local education agencies (LEAs) to support instruction while navigating the pandemic, and PDE will continue to support LEAs as they navigate the 2021-22 school year. This includes through the latest chapter of PDE’s Roadmap for Education Leaders; Accelerated Learning through an Integrated System of Support. This toolkit includes a professional learning series for school leaders and educators to help address students’ learning loss and other issues caused by the pandemic.

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Additionally, PDE has sent regular correspondence to schools with up-to-date processes, procedures, and information as it develops. Those updates can be accessed on the What’s New page on PDE’s website.

“Over the past year-and-a-half, our students and schools have had to adjust to a new normal and implement new practices to keep themselves and others safe and healthy,” added Sec. Ortega. “Those practices—like frequent hand-washing, cleaning food before consumption, and covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze—will help students form lifelong healthy habits, prevent the spread of illness, and ensure that they can remain safely in the classroom, which is where they belong and where they want to be.”

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit their website.

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