PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area School District continues to prepare for the return of students in the fall, with regular updates to parents about approaching deadlines and expected practice for the 2020-21 school year.

The deadline for parents to decide which of the three models their children will follow is coming up on Aug. 7. Parents must decide if they would like their child to follow a typical five day a week school day, planned flexible instruction three days a week and online lessons the other two, or a full online school year at the district’s eAcademy.

“Students will be provided with face masks and be expected to wear them in compliance with the social distancing guidelines. High school students will also be provided with a portable Plexiglas shield to help promote the social distancing guidelines,” said Manny Barbazzeni, the assistant principal of the high school.

The elementary students will also be provided with two face masks each, and a Plexiglas shield attached to their desks, according to Sheena Smelko, the assistant elementary principal.

In the flexible school option, students at the elementary school will be working in Google Classroom and high school students will use Canvas to complete classwork on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“Please remember attendance will be checked daily both in the elementary and high school and online as well,” Smelko said.

Students who choose the fully online school will still be considered a student of the Punxsutawney Area School District, which will allow for an easy transition back into the school at any time.

Face masks or similar coverings will have to be worn by students while riding the bus to and from school each day. There will also be no daily bus passes for this school year due to COVID-19.

If a student will not be riding the bus, or needs an alternative bus stop this year, parents are asked to contact the Transportation department at 814-938-5151 ext. 1116 or email Kelly Surkala at kelsurkala@punxsy.k12.pa.us or Paul Hetrick at phetrick@punxsy.k12.pa.us.

“Thank you, and we hope you have a great 2021 school year,” Barbazzeni said.

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