Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for 10 business days effective Monday.
“We understand that these are trying times and recognize the impact of the coronavirus on our students and communities. First and foremost, my top priority as governor — and that of our education leaders — must be to ensure the health and safety of our students and school communities,” Wolf said. “As such, I am ordering that all schools in the commonwealth close for the next two weeks.
“Be aware that no school district will be penalized if it fails to meet the 180 day or school hours requirements.”
Wolf explained that the Department of Education will work to support school districts with efforts to put learning plans in place that were currently in the works. Also, eligible schools throughout the state will be permitted to provide meals to “low income students in a non-congregate setting, such as a drive-through or grab and go, during this closure. We will also work with schools to assist them with those plans.”
Following the Bradford Area School District schedule, CARE’s Rainbow Corner Preschool and Toddler Developmental Playgroup will be canceled for two weeks, beginning Monday, and resuming Monday, March 30.
CARE administrative offices will remain open during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Regarding Catholic schools, Jim Gallagher, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Erie, said some schools may choose to suspend instruction for two weeks, while others may be prepared to continue with instruction online.
He recommended that all Catholic school administrators take Monday and Tuesday to “sort through the questions and issues that will be brought forth. Those choosing to go forward with remote instruction would then be able to proceed with that decision. Per the Catholic Schools Office directive, all related activities must be cancelled when schools are closed for disease prevention.”
Bishop Lawrence Persico indicated he will defer to the decisions of local leaders about whether or not they wish to go forward with or postpone scheduled confirmation Masses. Parents and students will be free to use their good judgment about whether or not to participate. Provision will be made for those who choose not to participate so they can be confirmed at another time.
The Wolf Administration noted Friday that officials will continue to monitor COVID 19, and “at the end of 10 days will reevaluate and decide whether continued closure is needed.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., commended Wolf for closing schools. “This is a difficult time for our state and our nation. In order to effectively combat this virus, we need the government, the private sector, health care providers and citizens all working together during this pandemic.”
On the financial side of things, all banks are providing additional cleaning materials and cleaning high traffic areas. They also are taking steps to limit travel, hold fewer face-to-face meetings and prioritize prevention efforts.
CNB Bank officials indicated the banks will operate normal business hours, but noted that customers with any concerns “should consider taking advantage of alternative services if it helps to ease their mind.”
Alternative methods include online and mobile solutions for loan payments, fund transfer and bill payment, as well as depositing checks, opening accounts, applying for loans and other bank-related activities. Each bank in the region has recommended similar actions.
Northwest Bank sent out a release indicating information is available on its website on coronavirus.
PNC Bank’s statement indicated that officials routinely work with customers who are experiencing hardships. Marcey Zwiebel, director of corporate public relations for PNC Bank, said, “We stand ready now to assist those who may be experiencing financial difficulty due to the impacts of this global outbreak through a range of measures. We encourage our clients and customers who may be encountering hardship to contact us directly to discuss their unique situation and needs.”
One local social organization released information on cancellations on Friday as well.
Kiwanis Club of Bradford’s President Lynne Kuntz has canceled the dinner scheduled for March 17. She made the announcement Friday, noting “I have made the decision to cancel the dinner scheduled for March 17 due to the concerns surrounding our current public health crisis. Shortly after this decision notices came through about the mid-year conference cancellation. I think it would be prudent and most responsible for the time being to postpone our meetings at least through the end of March. At that time we can reassess the situation and make appropriate decisions in regards to moving forward.”
Kuntz invited anyone with concerns to reach out to her, and she also said that the possibility of having the board meeting, which is set for March 19, remotely will be considered.