DCIU COVID-19 Updates
August 17, 2020
Updated Guidance on Wearing Masks in Schools
From the PA Department of Education:
As you know, the health and safety of Pennsylvania’s school communities is top priority, and the guidance we release to support and maintain the health and safety of school communities is rooted in science, data, and research. As more data and research becomes available, the information that becomes guidance must evolve – something we’ve shared with you since we began releasing reopening guidance.
Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released an update to their guidance strongly recommending children age two and older should wear face coverings at all times to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Prior guidance we released in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) stated students in schools could remove their face coverings as long as six feet of social distancing could be maintained. Given this recent change from the AAP, and consistent with the Secretary of Health’s Face Covering Order issued on July 1, 2020, DOH is requiring students wear face coverings at all times while in school, even when six feet of social distancing can be achieved. There are limited exceptions:
Schools may allow students to remove face coverings when students are:
- Eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart; or
- When wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task; or
- At least 6 feet apart during “face-covering breaks” to last no longer than 10 minutes.
Please email any questions you have to RA-EDContinuityofEd@pa.gov.
Thank you for your continued commitment to ensuring a safe learning environment for students and staff.
August 14, 2020
Chester County Health Department Recommends Delco Schools Start with Virtual Classes
The Chester County Health Department is recommending that all schools in the county, as well as in Delaware County, start all-virtual for the upcoming school year. In a statement released Friday, and which can be read in full below, the Chester County Health Department, which is currently serving both Chester and Delaware counties in their coronavirus pandemic response, said, "Such a start will mitigate any impact anticipated by increased cases due to the end of the summer holiday." Chester County health officials said come October 9, districts in both counties that opted to follow the virtual guidance can reassess whether to continue virtual instruction. Schools providing special education, early childhood development programs, or career and vocational education are exempt from starting the academic year virtually.
Chester County Health Department Public and Private School Guidance:
The Health Department recommends that public and private K to 12 schools in Chester County and Delaware County begin their academic year virtually and assess their ability to transition to a more in-person instructional model after October 9, 2020. Such a start will mitigate any impact anticipated by increased cases due to the end of the summer holiday (as seen during July 4), and ensures school districts have the necessary time to implement the guidance set forth in this document.
Schools providing special education, early childhood development programs, or career and vocational education are exempt from starting the academic year virtually and are strongly recommended to follow the additional guidance provided in the Students Served by Special Education, Early Childhood Development Programs, or Career and Technical Education Programs section for additional guidance.
Consideration for transitioning between instructional models will be based upon a review of the thresholds.
- Transitioning to a more in-person instructional model can only be considered when thresholds are met for three (3) consecutive weeks and at least a 0.5% cumulative decrease in positivity over the three weeks is reached.
- Transitioning to a more virtual instructional model can only be done when thresholds are met for two (2) consecutive weeks. It is recommended that reviews of thresholds occur at regular intervals to minimize frequent transitions between instructional models.
When transitioning to a more in-person based instructional model, it is recommended that the transition be a phased transition beginning with younger grades with an assessment of progress throughout the phasing.
Other factors that influence transitioning between instructional models may be considered such as widespread or significant outbreaks either within a school or the community, staffing levels, etc.
The success of a hybrid or in-person instructional model is dependent upon the school's ability to implement the guidance outlined in this document with fidelity.