Friday July 17, 2020

Wolf administration lays out plans for opening schools….virus cases continue to increase in region….Wilcox woman cited for pushing man during argument….Troopers at Ridgway make two DUI arrests….

Thursday’s high, 83; Overnight low, 69; .97” of rain from evening thunderstorm


This is the news parents have been waiting for. Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and Education Secretary Pedro Rivera have jointly announced updated guidance to help Pre-K to 12 schools prepare to reopen and safely educate students for in-person learning. Each school entity will determine if classes resume in person at school buildings, remotely or a combination of both options.
“Our goal is to ensure a safe return to school for students, educators and staff by following best practices to mitigate the spread of the virus, including wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “In those instances when someone tests positive, public health staff from the department will immediately assist the school with risk assessment, isolation and quarantine recommendations, and other infection control recommendations.”
The guidance represents endorsed best public health practices related to social distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfecting in school settings. It also outlines how to accommodate individuals with disabilities or chronic conditions, procedures for monitoring symptoms, and responding to confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in the school community.
The best practice recommendations for schools outlined by the departments of Health and Education include:

Masks must be worn by students and staff at school and on the bus as required by the order signed by Sec. of Health Dr. Levine on July 1, with some exceptions. Masks can be removed to eat or drink.
Students or caregivers should do a daily symptom screening before leaving for school.
Students, teachers and other staff are strongly encouraged to follow social distancing throughout the day with six 6 feet of separation between desks and other seating.
If possible, hold classes in gyms, auditoriums, other large spaces or outdoors, where physical distancing can be maintained.

Student seating should be facing in the same direction.
Limit student interactions by staggering class times, creating one-way walking patterns in hallways, and, when feasible, keeping students in a classroom and rotating teachers instead.
For breakfast and lunch, consider serving individually packaged meals in classrooms and avoid across-the-table seating. If meals are served in a cafeteria, sit students at least 6 feet apart.
Limit the number of students on playgrounds at one time and encourage social distancing.
Encourage the use of virtual gatherings, events, and extracurricular activities.
The guidance released yesterday provides a list of best practices for schools to consider before the start of in-person classes.
The guidance for school sports is unchanged. Coaches, athletes, and spectators must wear masks unless they can maintain 6 feet of separation outdoors. Athletes can remove masks during a workout or competition.

Today’s guidance builds on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s preliminary guidance issued June 3 outlining steps schools must take before they may resume in-person instruction.
The preliminary guidance requires school districts, charter schools, regional charter schools, cyber charter schools, career and technical centers and intermediate units to develop a health and safety plan. The plans must be approved by the school’s governing body and made available on the school’s public website before bringing students and staff back to campus. Nonpublic schools are strongly encouraged to create plans tailored to their unique needs and post them on their websites.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., July 16, that there are 781 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 98,446. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19. The number of cases here in the Black Forest Broadcasting service area continued to increase. Elk and Tioga counties now have 32 cases each; McKean, 20; Potter 19; and Cameron 5. Across the border in New York State Cattaraugus County has 142 cases and Allegany County, 69. Allegheny County Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, current hotspot, is reporting an increase of 140 cases, and Philadelphia is reporting an increase of 132 cases.

The number of tests administered within the last 7 days between July 9 and July 15 is 142,176 with 5,517 positive cases. There were 20,413 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., July 15. These results represent the total number of tests administered.
There are 6,973 total deaths attributed to COVID-19, an increase of 16 new deaths reported. Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are 638 patients who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure, which are considered probable cases and not confirmed cases. There are 885,195 patients who have tested negative to date. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older.

The department is seeing significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds. In nursing and personal care homes, there are 18,430 resident cases of COVID-19, and 3,534 cases among employees, for a total of 21,964 at 767 distinct facilities in 58 counties including Elk and McKean. Out of the total deaths, 4,777 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. Approximately 7,337 of the total cases are in health care workers.For the latest information for individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “

Ridgway Based State Police have arrested a 50 year old Wilcox woman for physical harassment for an incident allegedly occurring Wednesday night on Kane Street in Jones Township Elk County. Police claim that the suspect pushed a 30 year old Wilcox man during an argument and charges have been filed in District Court.

Troopers Ridgway are charging a 34 year old Wilcox man for DUI after stopping him just before seven o’clock Wednesday morning on the Wilcox Road in Jones township troopers pulled over a 2010 Ford Taurus for alleged traffic violations and while interviewing the operator, they reportedly found him in possession of a controlled substance. He was taken to Penn Highlands Elk for legal, blood draw. Charges are pending those results.

A 54 year old Chesterfield, Virginia man has been arrested for DUI by state police at Ridgway. Troopers allege when they stopped his 2019 GMC Sierra on Montmorenci Road at Whitetail Meadows Lane, early July 11, for a traffic violation. Police day and upon further investigation, they determined that he had been driving the vehicle under the