Following confirmation of two coronavirus cases–one in a high school student on Sept. 18 and another in a high school faculty member yesterday–Saucon Valley School District superintendent Dr. Craig Butler announced Saturday that he has ordered the temporary closure of Saucon Valley High School.
In an email to parents, Butler said he was following Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines in ordering the school building to be closed until Thursday, Oct. 1.
Saucon Valley elementary and middle schools–which are part of the same campus–will remain open.
“(High school) students will return to in-person instruction on Thursday, Oct. 1,” Butler wrote. “Remote instruction will be provided by high school faculty to all students during (the) closure on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 29 and Sept. 30. Monday, Sept. 28 is a scheduled in-service day.”
“The school closure does not affect those students currently on remote learning,” Butler added. “All extra-curricular and interscholastic activities are canceled during closure and will resume on Oct. 1, 2020.”
Approximately 20 percent of Saucon Valley School District students have been learning remotely since the school year began a month ago, while the other 80 percent are from families who opted to have their children learn in-person five days a week.
Students, teachers and staff are required to wear masks or face coverings while in school, except for during mask breaks, and other procedures have been altered to help prevent the spread of the virus. For example, lunch is now served in individual classrooms instead of in a group setting within school cafeterias.
Saucon Valley High School is located in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County.
A number of other districts in both Northampton and neighboring Lehigh counties have reported cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks; cases which in some cases have prompted school building closures. Two nearby districts that have temporarily closed classrooms recently due to the coronavirus are the Pen Argyl and Whitehall-Coplay school districts.
In both instances in which coronavirus cases have been confirmed at Saucon Valley High School, Butler said afterward that classrooms and spaces used by the individuals who tested positive were to be cleaned and disinfected according to CDC guidelines.
Contact tracing has also been conducted according to state guidelines, and individuals who were determined to have been in “close contact” with those individuals have been ordered to self-quarantine–which is within six feet of the person for at least 15 minutes–he indicated in previous emails.
After several delays related to COVID-19, the Saucon Valley varsity football team is scheduled to begin its 2020 season with a game against Bangor Area High School on Friday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at the school district stadium on Polk Valley Road.
The regular season had been scheduled to begin Sept. 26 with an afternoon away game at Pen Argyl, however that game and an earlier scrimmage versus Bethlehem Catholic High School were canceled in the wake of the first positive test result for coronavirus at Saucon Valley.
Due to limitations on the number of people who may attend outdoor gatherings, there will be very few spectators permitted at the game. However, Saucon Source and Saucon Athletics have partnered to livestream it from the stadium on the Athletics department’s YouTube channel so parents, family members and fans may watch and cheer in real-time.
The HD video recording will also be shared in a Saucon Source story for the benefit of our readers who may not have been able to tune in and watch the game live.
Saucon Athletics and Saucon Source are currently seeking sponsors for our livestream productions. Sponsors will receive recognition both during the games and in advertising on this website. Please see below for an example of a recent livestream recording of a Saucon Valley Girls Soccer game, sponsored by Andrew & Sonya Hughes of Hellertown.
If you are interested in being a sponsor for Panther football or another fall sport, please email Josh Popichak, publisher, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Saucon Valley athletic director Bob Frey at email@example.com for more information.