Posted Nov 13, 2020
Dear EASTERN Family,
Today the Montgomery County Office of Public Health voted to require all schools in Montgomery County to move to virtual/remote learning from November 23rd to December 6th in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County. As a result, EASTERN will revert to a fully virtual model starting November 23rd. We will resume in-person instruction again starting December 7th.
The Office of Public Health (OPH) has told schools that it wants to take a proactive approach in anticipation that families will be gathering and traveling over the Thanksgiving Holiday. It believes this two-week school move to fully virtual instruction will ultimately give schools a stronger chance at remaining in-person after the holiday.
The OPH and Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia (CHOP) have told public schools that the two-week move to virtual instruction is prudent given a surge in rising case counts and an increase in hospitalizations. As always, the safety of our students and staff remains our priority. As we continue to move through a challenging school year, we are relying on the advice and support of local medical experts to help guide our decisions.
The Montgomery County Department of Health meeting followed a meeting held on Monday, when the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) met with school leaders in Montgomery County to inform us that our county has officially reached the status of Substantial Transmission of COVID-19. In August these two entities issued guidance for schools for instructional models based on levels of transmission as determined by Incidence Rates per 100,000 residents and Percent Positivity. See chart below:
|Level of Community Transmission in the County||Incidence Rate per 100,000 Residents (Most Recent 7 Days)||AND/OR||PCR Percent Positivity (Most Recent 7 Days)||Recommended Instructional Models|
|Low||<10||AND||<5%||Full In-Person Model
Blended Learning Model
|Moderate||10 to <100||OR||5% to < 10%||Blended Learning Model
Full Remote Learning Model
|Substantial||>< u=””> 100><>||OR||>< u=””> 10%><>||Full Remote Learning Model|
Montgomery County has moved from a “moderate” level of community transmission to a “substantial” level of community transmission. As of November 5th, Montgomery County’s incidence rate was 106.9 cases per 100,000 residents and the percent positivity was 5.2%. Today, as of November 12th, the incidence rate increased to 181.4 cases per 100,000 residents and the percent positivity rate increased to 7.2% While the percent positivity rate is identified as “moderate” level of transmission, when one of the metrics is identified as “substantial,” the county is identified as having a “substantial” level of community transmission.
We will be open next week for in-person instruction (November 16-20). Any students who feel uncomfortable attending in-person next week, given the rise in numbers, may contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request to transition to virtual learning for next week. We previously communicated that students who opted to switch to virtual learning would need to remain in that model through the end of the marking period, but are allowing students some flexibility for next week.
We rely on the support of our community to provide in-person instruction. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and vigilance with safety (masks, distancing, hygiene) both in and out of school, as well as the careful monitoring of students for illness in the mornings.
Thank you for your continued support.