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Mars Area School District

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District COVID Notifications

As Mars Area School District is committed to keep our parents/guardians and students informed about coronavirus (COVID-19) cases affecting District students and staff. The following are the communications that have been distributed to date:  
All Students (K-12) to Move to Remote Learning (posted 11.23.20)

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

As a mitigation strategy throughout the Holiday Season, Mars Area School District will close its schools to students and move fully to remote learning, beginning immediately after Thanksgiving Break (Tuesday, Dec. 1) and continuing through Monday, Jan. 4.


Please note that this closure has not been prompted by any new or additional COVID cases in the District or our schools. Mars Area School District acknowledges that COVID cases are on the rise; however, to date, little evidence exists linking increased transmission rates to schools. Rather, the increase in cases amongst students has been attributed to social gatherings (parties, sleepovers, etc.) and “at-risk” social behaviors occurring outside of school. In fact, each of the confirmed cases within our District, which, fortunately, have remained relatively few, have been consistently traced to other locations in the community.

COVID cases in Butler County have reached a “Substantial” level of community transmission for the third consecutive week and are anticipated to surge even higher as we enter the Holiday Season. Therefore, in adherence with recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), our District will move to full remote learning at this time.

To prepare students for remote learning during the upcoming closure, we ask that you please note the following:

  • LIVE-STREAM INTERACTIVE (LSI) INSTRUCTION — Throughout the school closure, all teachers will continue to offer live instruction from their classrooms and will be available to their students each period of the school day. All students, who have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need to shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction, Tuesday, Dec. 1, through Monday, Jan. 4.  Any specific questions regarding LSI Instruction should be directed to your child’s individual teacher and/or the building principal.
     
  • K-6 TECHNOLOGY DEVICES — For elementary students (K-6) who may be in need of a District-issued device for use during the closure period, parents/guardians are asked to contact the Mars Help Desk to complete a Tech Ticket at marshelpdesk@bluchipsolutions.com to set up a time to obtain a device.

    Device Pick-up will be available at the District’s Technology Office entrance (behind the Administration Office) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and Wednesday, Nov. 25; and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, through Wednesday, Dec. 23. Parents/guardians are asked to call the Help Desk at (724) 302-3600 upon arrival at the Technology Office.

  • FOOD SERVICES — Throughout the closure, Mars Area School District will continue to offer free meals for students and anyone in a student's household who is under age 18. To participate, parents/guardians are asked to contact Bridget Buyna, Food Service Director, at (724) 625-1988 or bbuyna@marsk12.org by no later than Tuesday, Dec. 1.

    The first Meal Pick-Up Date will be between 12:30 and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at Mars Area Middle School’s main entrance. Subsequent meal pick-ups will be held between 12:30 and 2 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday at the Middle School through Wednesday, Dec. 23, and resuming on Wednesday, Jan. 6, if needed. Parents/guardians must sign up for each Meal Pick-Up Date.​​​​

  • ATHLETICS — Just as Mars Area School District adheres PDE and DOH recommendation for instruction, we are continuing to rely upon PIAA for guidance regarding athletics and activities. At this time, participation in athletics, specifically the winter sports season, will continue as per the mandated PIAA protocols. Please note that PIAA officials are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Dec. 9, and are expected to provide additional guidance to school districts at that time. More details will be forthcoming, as that information is received.

Mars Area School District is hoping to reopen our schools to students on Tuesday, Jan. 5; however, that decision will be based upon PDE and DOH recommendations as well as county transmission rates at that time. Our Administrative Team will meet on Monday, Jan. 4, to review and discuss all available data to determine whether it is safe to reopen our schools.

As a reminder, the primary factors that led to the District’s decision to close our schools include:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) recommendations to move to full remote learning.
  • Butler County’s “Substantial” level of community transmission as well as the recent spikes in COVID cases during the last few weeks.
  • Significant capacity concerns at local hospitals.
  • A possible school district staffing and/or substitute shortage.
  • The increased risks associated with social gatherings and travel during the Holiday Season.
Mars Area School District encourages our families to continue to follow all COVID safety protocols including washing and/or sanitizing hands, maintaining social distancing, and wearing a face covering (mask or shield), whenever possible.

In addition, with the predicted spike in COVID cases during the Holiday Season, we are also asking that District families limit travel and celebrate with only immediate or close family groups in an effort to limit the further spread of the virus and to provide our District with an opportunity to reopen to our students after the holidays.

We truly appreciate your patience and support as our District is continuing to navigate through this pandemic. It is our hope that closing our schools will aid in further protecting the health, safety and welfare of our entire school community.

Sincerely,  

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),
 
This message is to inform you that the bus driver, who drives the A.J. Myers & Sons’ Mid-day Kindergarten Pick-up Bus at Mars Area Primary Center and who also drives for a private school, has tested positive for COVID-19. The driver was last on the bus on Friday, Nov. 13.
 
The Pennsylvania Department of Health is recommending that anyone, who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the bus driver, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. The Department of Health is in the process of conducting contact tracing and will be notifying any individual who may have come into close contact with the student. 

Any students, who may have come into close contact with the bus driver, will receive a separate communication from the District, noting the specific dates during which they must quarantine as well as the date that they may return to Traditional Instruction.
 
Mars Area School District is continually working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. Please note that, as per the District’s 2020-2021 Health & Safety Plan, A.J. Myers & Sons’ continues to clean and disinfect all school buses after every run.    


Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. 

Sincerely,  

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This letter is to inform you that Mars Area School District was alerted to one (1) additional case of COVID-19 involving a Mars Area High School student.

As this student was in school prior to the closure of Mars Area High School, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is recommending that anyone, who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the student, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. The Department of Health is in the process of conducting contact tracing and will be notifying any individual who may have come into close contact with the student.

Any students, who may have come into close contact with this student, will receive a separate communication from the High School, noting the specific dates during which they must quarantine as well as the date that they may return to Traditional Instruction.

Given an increase in the number of active cases at the time and based on health officials’ guidelines, Mars Area High School was closed at the end of the school day on Tuesday, Nov. 10, and will remain closed to students through Tuesday, Dec. 1. Throughout the building closure, all Mars Area High School teachers are continuing to offer live instruction and are available to their students each period of the school day. Mars Area High School students may return to participate in Traditional Instruction on Wednesday, Dec. 2, depending upon the current number of cases and county transmission rates at that time.

Any parent(s)/guardian(s) whose child tests positive for COVID-19 is encouraged to contact your child’s building principal as soon as possible. The District is continually working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. 

Any questions regarding the above information may be directed to the building principal. Thank you. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This message is to inform you that a Mars Area Centennial School staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member was last in the school building on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Mars Area School District was notified of the positive case at 3:06 p.m. today (Wednesday, Nov. 18); and, as per the District’s most recent conversation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 4:35 p.m., no additional quarantines are required at this time. Should health officials’ recommendations change, the District will communicate that information in a timely manner.

Mars Area School District is continually working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. Any questions regarding the information in this letter, may be directed to the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

Since Monday (Nov. 16), Mars Area School District was alerted to two (2) additional cases of COVID-19 involving Mars Area High School students.

A Mars Area High School has been closed to students during the majority of the last two weeks and neither student was present on the day that school was open last week, Mars Area School District is not required to conduct any contact tracing.

Given an increase in the number of active cases at the time and based on health officials’ guidelines, Mars Area High School was closed at the end of the school day on Tuesday, Nov. 10, and will remain closed through Tuesday, Dec. 1. All other District schools remain open and are running on a normal schedule.

Throughout the building closure, all Mars Area High School teachers are continuing to offer live instruction and are available to their students each period of the school day. Mars Area High School students may return to participate in Traditional Instruction on Wednesday, Dec. 2, depending upon the current number of cases and county transmission rates at that time.

Any parent(s)/guardian(s) whose child tests positive for COVID-19 is encouraged to contact your child’s building principal as soon as possible. The District is continually working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff.  

The Department of Health recommends that anyone, who is identified as a close contact, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. Regardless of whether or not you or your child are notified that you were in close contact with an identified individual, we ask that you continue to follow all COVID safety recommendations: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home. 
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

 

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This message is to inform you that a Mars Area Middle School staff member left the school today (Tuesday, Nov. 17) after experiencing symptoms similar to those of COVID-19. This staff member, who has limited contact with students, has a family member who just recently tested positive for COVID-19.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is recommending that three (3) additional Mars Area Middle School staff members, who may have come into close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the individual, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. As per health officials, no student quarantines are required at this time.

Mars Area School District is continually working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. Any questions regarding the information in this letter, may be directed to the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross

Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This message is to inform you that Mars Area School District has been alerted to one (1) case of COVID-19 involving a Mars Area Primary Center student.

In this case, the student is already in quarantine because of close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 at a non-District facility. The student was last in school on Friday, Nov. 6.

As per Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, the District has contacted those individuals, who may have come into close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the student, and has implemented the necessary quarantines. 

Students, who may have come into close contact with the student and who have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need to shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction. Those students have been sent a separate communication from the Primary Center, noting the specific dates during which they must quarantine as well as the date that they may return to Traditional Instruction.

Any parent(s)/guardian(s), whose child tests positive for COVID-19, is encouraged to contact your child’s building principal as soon as possible. The District is continually working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. 

The Department of Health recommends that anyone, who is identified as a close contact, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. Regardless of whether or not you or your child are notified that you were in close contact with an identified individual, we ask that you continue to follow all COVID safety recommendations: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home. 
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

 

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This message is to inform you that Mars Area School District has been alerted to one (1) additional positive case of COVID-19 involving a student at Mars Area Middle School, which brings the school to a total of two (2) active cases.

As per Pennsylvania Department of Education and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, the District has already contacted those individuals, who may have come into close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the student, and has implemented the necessary quarantines. 

Students, who may have come into close contact with the student and who have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need to shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction. Those students have been sent a separate communication from the Middle School, noting the specific dates during which they must quarantine as well as the date that they may return to Traditional Instruction.

Any parent(s)/guardian(s), whose child tests positive for COVID-19, is encouraged to contact your child’s building principal as soon as possible. The District is continually working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. 

The Department of Health recommends that anyone, who is identified as a close contact, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. Regardless of whether or not you or your child are notified that you were in close contact with an identified individual, we ask that you continue to follow all COVID safety recommendations: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home. 
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

Over the weekend, Mars Area School District was alerted to two (2) additional cases of COVID-19 involving Mars Area High School students.

At this point, as Mars Area High School has been closed to students during the majority of the last two weeks and neither student was present on the day that school was open last week, Mars Area School District is not required to conduct any contact tracing.

Given an increase in the number of active cases at the time and based on health officials’ guidelines, Mars Area High School was closed at the end of the school day on Tuesday, Nov. 10, and will remain closed through Tuesday, Dec. 1. All other District schools remain open and are running on a normal schedule.

Throughout the building closure, all Mars Area High School teachers are continuing to offer live instruction and are available to their students each period of the school day. Mars Area High School students may return to participate in Traditional Instruction on Wednesday, Dec. 2, depending upon the current number of cases and county transmission rates at that time.

Any parent(s)/guardian(s) whose child tests positive for COVID-19 is encouraged to contact your child’s building principal as soon as possible. The District is continually working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. 

The Department of Health recommends that anyone, who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the students, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. Regardless of whether or not you or your child are notified that you were in close contact with the identified student(s), we ask that you continue to follow all COVID safety recommendations: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home. 
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

In an effort to keep you informed, this message is a follow-up to the Mars Area School District communication that was distributed earlier this evening (Thursday, Nov. 12) regarding a positive case of COVID-19 that was reported at Mars Area Middle School.

Since the time of the previous communication, the District has received additional guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which has determined that no further contact tracing or quarantines are required at this time, as the student who tested positive has not been in school since Nov. 5. All those who may have come into close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the student during a weekend activity have been contacted and asked to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

Those Middle School students, who may have come into close contact with the individual, have received a separate communication from the school detailing the specific dates during which they must quarantine and shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction as well as the date that they may return to Traditional Instruction.

Any questions regarding the information in this letter, may be directed to the building principal. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This letter is to inform you that Mars Area School District was alerted earlier this afternoon (Thursday, Nov. 12) that a Mars Area Middle School student tested positive for COVID-19.

At this time, the District is awaiting formal guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Butler County health officials regarding the recommended quarantines and next steps. Once additional information is received, the District will communicate that information in a timely manner.

Please note that the Middle School has already contacted those who may have come into close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the student. Pending further guidance from health officials, the District is recommending that those individuals quarantine at home and shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction until further instructions are received.

Regardless of whether or not you or your child are notified that you were in close contact with the identified student(s), we ask that you continue to follow all COVID safety recommendations: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home. 
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This letter is to inform you that, as per Mars Area School District’s conversation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 4:32 p.m. today (Wednesday, Nov. 11), the District has no information regarding a positive case of COVID-19 at Mars Area Centennial School.

Earlier this week, the District reported that a Mars Area High School student had tested positive for COVID-19. Because the High School student has a sibling who attends Mars Area Centennial School and this student was reportedly symptomatic, health officials recommended that anyone who may have come into close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with either student, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days.

Please note that, as previously stated, the Centennial School student has not tested positive for the virus and there have been NO confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 at Mars Area Centennial School. Although the student has not tested positive for COVID-19, the Pennsylvania Department of Health classifies this student as “presumed positive” thus constituting the necessary student quarantines.

We apologize for any confusion that may have resulted from previous District communications. As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will continue to monitor our local COVID numbers and will make the necessary instructional decisions to best ensure the health, safety, and welfare of all District students and staff.  

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),
 
This letter is to inform you that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has identified one (1) additional positive case of COVID-19 at Mars Area High School, which brings the school to four (4) active cases or five (5) cases in total in the last 14 days. Therefore, based on health officials’ guidelines, Mars Area High School will be closed at the end of the school day today (Tuesday, Nov. 10) and will remain closed through Tuesday, Dec. 1. All other District schools will remain open and will run on a normal schedule.
 
All Mars Area High School students, who have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need to shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction, Wednesday, Nov. 11, through Tuesday, Dec. 1. Students may return to participate in Traditional Instruction on Wednesday, Dec. 2, pending the current number of cases and county transmission rates at that time. Throughout the school closure, all teachers will continue to offer live instruction and will be available to their students each period of the school day.
 
All Mars Area High School teachers/staff members will be required to work from home on Wednesday, Nov. 11, and Thursday, Nov. 12, while the District conducts a deep cleaning of the entire building. On Friday, Nov. 13, all teachers/staff members may return the building, from where LSI Instruction will continued to be offered through Tuesday, Dec. 1.
 
Please note the following:
  • Athletics/Activities — All sporting events, including the PIAA playoff games for boys and girls soccer, will be held as scheduled. All winter sports and activities will continue as scheduled at this time.
  • Vo-Tech Transportation — The bus, providing transportation to Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School, will depart from Mars Area High School promptly at 12:20 p.m. Students, who are not quarantining and planning to ride the bus, must obtain their own transportation to Mars Area High School.

The District is working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. The Department of Health recommends that anyone, who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the students, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. The Department of Health is in the process of conducting contact tracing and will be notifying any individual who may have come into close contact with the student.

Regardless of whether or not you or your child are notified that you were in close contact with the identified student(s), we ask that you continue to follow all COVID safety recommendations: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home. 
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
  1. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  2. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This letter is to inform you that that, earlier today (Monday, Nov. 9), the Pennsylvania Department of Health identified one (1) positive case of COVID-19 at Mars Area High School.

This confirmed case affects both Mars Area High School and Mars Area Centennial School, as the identified student is a sibling of a student attending Mars Area Centennial School. Please note that the Centennial School student has not tested positive for the virus and there have been NO confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 at Mars Area Centennial School.

Regardless, out of an abundance of caution, the Department of Health is recommending that anyone, who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with either student, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. The Department of Health is in the process of conducting contact tracing and will be notifying any individual who may have come into close contact with the student.

Students, who may have come into close contact with either student and who have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction. Those students, who need to switch to LSI Instruction, will receive a separate notification from their individual school, noting the specific dates during which they must quarantine as well as the date that they may return to Traditional Instruction.

Whether or not you or your child are notified that you were in close contact with the identified student(s), we ask that you continue to follow all COVID safety recommendations: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home.
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This letter is to inform you that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has identified two (2) additional positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of three (3), at Mars Area High School. Therefore, based on health officials’ guidelines, Mars Area High School will be closed at the end of the school day today (Monday, Nov. 2) and will remain closed through the remainder of the week. All other District schools will remain open and will run on a normal schedule.

All Mars Area High School students, who have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need to shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction, Tuesday, Nov. 3, through Friday, Nov. 6. As Monday, Nov. 9, is a scheduled In-Service Day, students may return to participate in Traditional Instruction on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Throughout the school closure, all teachers will continue to offer live instruction and will be available to their students each period of the school day.

All Mars Area High School teachers/staff members will be required to work from home on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and Wednesday, Nov. 4, while the District conducts a deep cleaning of the entire building. On Thursday, Nov. 5, all teachers/staff members may return to their classrooms, from where they will continue to offer LSI Instruction through Friday, Nov. 6.

Please note the following:

  • PARENT CONFERENCES — Parent Conferences at Mars Area High School will be held as planned on Monday, Nov. 9. Any parents/guardians with concerns about attending an “in-person” conference should contact your child’s teacher(s) as soon as possible to make alternate arrangements.
  • PLAYOFF GAMES — All sporting events, including the WPIAL playoff games for boys soccer and girls volleyball, to be held tonight (Monday, Nov. 2); and the girls soccer playoff game on Wednesday, Nov. 4, will be held as scheduled.
  • *UPDATE* - VO-TECH INFORMATION — Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School will move to remote learning for all vo-tech students, Tuesday, Nov. 3, through Wednesday, Nov. 11. Students may return for "in person" instruction on Thursday, Nov. 12.
  • SAT TEST — The SAT Test scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 7, will be held as scheduled.
 
The District is working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. The Department of Health recommends that anyone, who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the students, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. The Department of Health is in the process of conducting contact tracing and will be notifying any individual who may have come into close contact with the student.
 
Regardless of whether or not you or your child are notified that you were in close contact with the identified student, we ask that you continue to follow all COVID safety recommendations: 
  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home.
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

This letter is to inform you that Mars Area School District was notified earlier today (Wednesday, Oct. 28) that a student at Mars Area High School has tested positive for COVID-19.

The District immediately contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Health and is working with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. As a precautionary measure, the Department of Health is recommending that anyone, who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the student, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. The Department of Health is in the process of conducting contact tracing and will be notifying any individual who may have come into close contact with the student.

Students, who may have come into close contact with the student and who have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction through Monday, Nov. 2. Those students, who will need to switch to LSI Instruction, will receive a separate notification from the District.

Even if you or your child are not notified that you were in close contact with the identified student, we ask that you please do the following for the next 14 days: 
  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home.
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at 1 (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This letter is to inform you that Mars Area School District was notified earlier today (Friday, Oct. 16) that an afternoon kindergarten student at Mars Area Primary Center has tested positive for COVID-19.

The District immediately contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Health and is working closely with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our students and staff. As a precautionary measure, the Department of Health is recommending that anyone, who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the student, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. The Department of Health is in the process of conducting contact tracing and will be notifying any individual who may have come into close contact with the student.

Students, who may have come into close contact with the student and have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction through Friday, Oct. 23. Those students, who will need to switch to LSI Instruction, will receive a separate notification from the District.

 

Even if you or your child are not notified that you were in close contact with the identified student, we ask that you please do the following for the next 14 days: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home.
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at 1 (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

Sincerely,


Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

This letter is to inform you that Mars Area School District was notified  on Thursday, Oct. 8, that a family member of two students attending Mars Area Primary Center has tested positive for COVID-19. Please note that the students have not tested positive for the virus and there have been no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 at Mars Area Primary Center.

The District has contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Health and is working closely with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our students and staff. As a precautionary measure, the Department of Health is recommending that anyone, who may have been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with the students, quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. The Department of Health is in the process of conducting contact tracing and will be notifying any individual who may have come into close contact with the family member and/or the students.

Students, who may have come into close contact with the Primary Center students and who have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need to shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction through the remainder of the week. Those students, who will need to switch to LSI Instruction, will receive a separate notification from Mars Area Primary Center.

Even if you or your child are not notified that you were in close contact with the identified student, we ask that you please do the following for the next 14 days: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home. 
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at 1 (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let your health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact the building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinator
Mars Area School District

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

Mars Area School District was notified on Monday, Oct. 5, that a Mars Area High School ninth-grader, who is also a member of the school’s Junior Varsity (JV) Soccer Team, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Mars Area School District has contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Health and is working closely with health officials to implement all of the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our students and staff. The Department of Health is in the process of conducting contact tracing and will be contacting any individual who may have come into close contact with the student. A close contact is defined as any individual within six (6) feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.

Please note that the identified student was last in school on Friday, Sept. 25, and has remained quarantined at home since that date. Anyone, who may have come into close contact with the student, is asked to remain at home through Friday, Oct. 9. As per Department of Health, since the student has not been in school since Friday, Sept. 25, the recommended 14-day quarantine period for any close contacts will conclude on Friday, Oct. 9. If any additional close contacts are identified, those individuals should be contacted by the Health Department.  

Students, who may have come into close contact with the student and have been attending school for Traditional Instruction, will need shift to Live-Stream Interactive (LSI) Instruction through the remainder of the week. Those students, who will need to switch to LSI Instruction, will receive a separate notification from Mars Area High School. In addition, any members of the Mars Area High School JV Soccer Team should note that the team will not be participating in any practices and/or games until after Friday, Oct. 9.

Even if you or your child are not notified that you were in close contact with the identified student, we ask that you please do the following for the next 14 days: 

  1. Take your temperature and your child(ren)’s temperature once daily to check for fever (a body temperature of 100.4 or higher).
     
  2. Watch for other symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
     
  3. You and your child(ren) should wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any person while outside the home. 
     
  4. Practice the following hygiene measures:
     
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover any coughs or sneezes with an elbow, not hands.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, and other frequently touched items.
       
  5. Be aware of any persons in your household who may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19, including individuals who are elderly, immunocompromised (e.g. someone with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy), or have another condition or illness such as diabetes or asthma. You and your child should practice physical distancing around those persons.
     
  6. If the Pennsylvania Department of Health or its representatives contact you, please cooperate with monitoring and follow all instructions so that other people do not become sick.

If you or any members of your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have symptoms worsen, please notify the Pennsylvania Department of Health immediately at 1 (877) 724-3258 and contact a health care provider. Before seeking medical attention, let the health care provider know about the possible exposure to a case of COVID-19.

More information on the symptoms of COVID-19 can be found at on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website. If you have questions regarding the information in this letter, please contact your building principal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Gross                                   
Dr. Elizabeth McMahon
Pandemic Coordinators             
Mars Area School District