Immunization change risks status of 250 UCFSD students

Proposed Safety Changes to Rt. 82 in front of UHS, Patton MS

By JP Phillips, Correspondent, The Times

Workmen continue work on the roof of the Unionville High School auditorium.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — At Monday night’s Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Board Work Session, Sally Palic, the Middle School Nurse and Coordinator of District Nurses, reported that due to changes in state regulations, 250 UCFSD students will be prohibited by state law from attending school unless their immunization records are up-to-date. Most of these students are new to the district (kindergarteners or recent residents). 125 of these students are high schoolers.

Should any of these students come to school without records of the immunizations, they will be sent home. Nurse Palic explained that letters were sent to these 250 families, and phone calls to these parents will be made starting this week. She encouraged parents to call or email their school nurse if there is any doubt about their child’s record. Contact information as well as immunization requirements is posted on the District’s website; a link can be accessed at the bottom of this article.

A proposal to build new sidewalks and medians in front of Unionville High School and Patton Middle School was discussed, Monday night.

For decades, Route 82 in front of the middle and high schools has been a dangerous challenge for students who walk to school as well as area residents. A federal grant and a partnership between the School District and East Marlborough Township may finally address this issue.

Jeff Simpson, the Township’s Public Works Director, introduced a Route 82 concept that includes eliminating lanes and adding sidewalks, median islands, and flashing beacons in front of both schools. Moving forward with the project is dependent upon two things: obtaining the PennDOT-managed federal grant that would cover construction costs in its entirety (upwards of $1 million), and the School District and Township splitting the $180,000 design cost.

School Board President Vic Dupuis insisted that part of this project should also include lowering the speed limit from 45 to 35 miles per hour. Mr. Simpson stated that although the township owns the road, PennDOT makes speed limit decisions, and they will include it in conversations with the state. As the grant application deadline is September 22nd, the Board will vote on the design cost-sharing proposal at September’s School Board Meeting. Should the grant not be approved, there will be no design cost and no improvements at this time.

Board Member Carolyn Daniels informed that bus schedules will be released August 15th. Even though the elementary schools’ start time has been pushed up to 9 AM, pick-up times will be similar to year’s past, giving the students an opportunity to have breakfast at school if desired. Mindful of the impact on working parents, car drop-off time starts at 8:30 at the elementary schools. Upper grades’ bus pick-up times will be different than in prior years.

Later start times was instituted based on research showing that students need that extra morning sleep-time. Assistant Superintendent John Nolan said the District will be measuring the impact of this time change by comparing year-to-year reports documenting tardiness, behavior, and student sleep surveys.

Rick Hostetler, the Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, was pleased and relieved to report that after a rocky start, the Middle School HVAC system is in place and fully operational. Air conditioning will be a welcomed relief to students and staff during those hot August and September days.

Additionally, the High School auditorium re-roofing project is on schedule for completion within the next two weeks. No longer will the performers have to compete with the cacophony from the roof during stormy weather. Also discussed was the proposed HVAC update to Hillendale Elementary at a cost of $133,800, which will be voted on next week with planned replacement commencing next summer.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Tim Hoffman explained the curriculum changes students can expect over the next year. Modifications or additions to Physical Education, Computer Science, Social Studies, Math, World Languages and English were made over the summer. Of note is the new Team Building and Leadership Low-elements Challenge Course built this summer for use as part of the 9th grade Physical Education program.

All Board Meetings and Work Sessions are broadcasted live via the District’s website. Now, at-home or on-the-road residents can ask questions real-time via a new Twitter feed, @ufcboard, as part of the “Residents Comments” portions of every meeting.

Next up: School Board Meeting on Monday, August 21st at 7:30 in Room 14 at the District Office, adjacent to the High School. It will be broadcast live on the UCFSD web site.

For more information on the new state immunization requirements, follow this link:

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