I hope this note finds you rested and ready to jump into 2022. As we prepare for school on Monday - I just wanted to address a couple of questions that folks have been asking.
On Monday we will return to school in-person. We have made this decision after careful consideration of the data and in consultation with health policy experts. In fact the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia released the following statement supporting in-person education:
It is also worth noting that in our recently completed Thought Exchange the community overwhelmingly shared their belief that in-person school was of the utmost importance.
On December 23, 2021 the CDC changed its guidance regarding quarantine and isolation lengths and procedures. On December 30, 2021 the Chester County Health Department (CCHD) provided schools and families a tool to interpret the CDC changes - click here to review the CCHD document on quarantine and isolation. Effective immediately - UCFSD will follow the updated CDC guidance.
Our current Health and Safety plan remains in effect. With transition rates still in the high range - masks are required. As you may be aware - our Health and Safety plan is currently under review. Many of you participated in our Thought Exchange and we hope that you join us for the Community Conversation on January 4 - please register for this virtual event here - https://ucfsd-net.zoom.us/
We understand that COVID testing availability is at a premium. In order to support our families and keep our schools safe we have added additional testing opportunities - these testing slots are first come first served. You can register for tests here - https://www.ucfsd.org/health-
I wish each of you a very healthy and Happy New Year!
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Do I need to test prior to returning to school? - The CCHD has shared with us that it is currently not recommended to test everyone upon return from school. While there is a sense of security such testing may offer, testing supplies are currently limited due to the national focus to “get tested.” Instead, we are encouraged to remain extra diligent about assessing our families and ourselves for signs of any illness. Additionally, our nurses have the necessary supplies to conduct symptomatic testing as necessary.
Will the district adopt a test to stay policy? - This is a topic of discussion ~ though no decisions have been made. It was brought up during our Thought Exchange and I suspect will come up during the Community Conversation.
Can we go back to the hybrid model we had last year - so students can stay home if need be? - This has been a topic of discussion that was also raised during our Thought Exchange. We understand that there are several families that have been hit particularly hard by quarantines - we appreciate that concerns raised have merit. This will be discussed during our Community Conversation. Additionally - we are hopeful that the revised quarantine and isolation guidance will ameliorate the issue.
If we decide to keep our children home for a day or two out of concern for COVID - will the days be excused? - Yes. Please work directly with your child’s school to address a short-term COVID absence.
Is the district still consulting with Dr. Sulieman regarding best practices related to COVID? - Yes. We have continued to meet regularly with Dr. Sulieman. We also meet twice a week with CCHD. In addition - we have periodic meetings with members of the medical profession including experts from CHOP and Nemours. We collaborate with these experts in order to make decisions that will keep our students, staff, and community safe.