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UCFSD COVID-19 Metrics Update #14

Dear UCF Community,

Last night the School Board held a meeting to discuss and vote on a number of important topics.  Below are the agenda items including key details - I encourage you to view the recording of the meeting for additional information:

  • Attestation for the PA Department of Health - The Board ratified the previously submitted attestation. This approval allows us to have in-person instruction. Absent this approval we would be forced to be in full virtual mode. The attestation also mandates us to follow PA DOH orders regarding masking and response to positive cases in our schools.
  • Kindergarten - Beginning January 11 kindergarteners will attend school daily. In order to do this and maintain six feet of social distance, the Board approved the addition of two additional kindergarten teachers. This will result in an additional section at each elementary school. Stay tuned for additional information from your child’s principal. 
  • Status of our Elementary Instructional Model - Our elementary schools will continue with in-person instruction. Studies show that children under 10 years of age get COVID-19 infections less often and transmit the virus less often. Thus the research supports our decision to remain in the hybrid model at the elementary level. It is important to note that should we have cases in our schools - we are now mandated to follow PA DOH guidelines regarding school closures.
  • Status of Secondary Schools Instructional Model - We are targeting a January 19 return to in-person instruction for grades 6-12. We will be reconvening the COVID-19 Task Force to discuss revising our instructional models including a move to an A/B schedule that may better meet the needs of our students if and when we do return in January. The Board will vote on a return to hybrid instruction and our recommended instructional model for grades 6-12 on January 4. 
  • Winter Sports and Activities - The Board approved student participation in winter sports and activities last night.  While there is some level of risk in participating in these activities - we believe the benefit to student wellness outweighs the risk. We also believe that our health and safety plan - that includes layered mitigation - allows our students and staff to participate safely. The activities approved last night include: Basketball, Swimming, Unified Bocce, Wrestling (offseason workouts only), Cheerleading, Winter Track & Field, Rowing Winter Training, Dance Team, Indoor Color Guard, Indoor Percussion Ensemble. 
  • Annual Achievement Report - Administration presented to the Board and community facts on our students’ academic progress and school experience. Of particular interest is data that provides a comprehensive view of how our students are coping with COVID-19. Here is a link to the report. 

Additionally - Dr. Sulieman made her monthly presentation to the community last night. Click here to see the most recent report.  Important key takeaways include: 

  • Chester County positivity rates increased from 7.9% to 10.2%;
  • Chester County has seen a weekly increase in incidence rate per 100,000 from 219.5  to 280.6;
  • UCF municipalities have seen an increase in incidents from 28 to 51;
  • Projected incidence rates per 100,000 - in the next month -  show Chester County cases to rise above 400;
  • UCF has seen 28 cases (students and staff) this year with 19 since November 1 (view UCF Dashboard);
  • Vaccine implementation will be incredibly important in the coming months for the overall outlook of this pandemic.

I know this is a lot of information to absorb all at once.  The pandemic has created both vacuums and overloads of material and we are trying to sift and sort what is needed to make sound decisions.  As we get closer to the Winter Break - I hope you share with me guarded optimism for our plans commencing in January. In the meantime know that it is your support, patience, participation, and good spirit that is critical to the success of all educational options. The entire UCF community is helping move our students forward while navigating the challenges of the pandemic.  Thank you.

Kind Regards, 

John Sanville