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Pennsylvania Teacher Blows the Whistle on School’s Insufficient COVID Protocols

A teacher at H.D. Berkey Elementary School in New Kensington, Pennsylvania recently submitted an anonymous letter to Action News 4 in Pittsburgh containing concerns about the New Kensington Arnold School District’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

Some of the specific concerns addressed in the letter included:

  • Students being placed three to five feet apart, rather than the required six feet
  • Classroom limits of 15 students being exceeded in some classrooms, without proper distancing
  • Disinfecting by the custodial staff that has reduced in frequency

The letter made sure to include a quote from acting Superintendent Jon Banko saying “health takes a close second” to education. In response, Balko attempted to clarify that his intent with this quote was not to downplay the importance of the health of students and faculty, but rather to emphasize the importance of education. He agreed the statement could be taken negatively at face value, and that he could have worded his thoughts differently.

As of October, the district had had two teachers test positive for COVID-19 in an elementary school and at the high school. The district continues to mandate mask usage in all schools and at all age levels.

There has been an increased incidence of health and safety related whistleblower actions throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the failure of many businesses or organizations to follow appropriate health guidelines as implemented by the CDC and WHO. If you believe your company or organization is failing to follow proper protocols, you can blow the whistle on this wrongdoing and receive federal protections for your whistleblowing activity.

For more information about the steps you should take to report what you know through the proper channels, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.

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