Dear UCF Community,
I hope you all had a wonderful Spring Break! This week I’ll be sharing the latest metrics released by Chester County as well as a few updates. While Dr. Sulieman was not available this week to provide her analysis of the data - we have been in contact with her and continue to monitor transmission rates in Chester County and our community. Dr. Sulieman will give her next report during the School Board meeting on April 19. Key takeaways from the metrics include:
- Chester County positivity rates increased from 6.1% to 9.0%;
- Chester County has seen a weekly increase in incidence rate per 100,000 from 120.3 to 181.1;
- The UCF community had an increase from 17 to 30;
- UCF has seen 104 cases (students and staff) this year with 19 over the past four weeks;
- Over 90% of UCF staff have been fully vaccinated;
- The PA Department of Health announced that vaccines will be available to individuals age 16 and older beginning April 19.
Two weeks of increasing numbers is concerning. We find Chester County once again in the very high transmission rate category. That said - so far, we are not seeing increased transmission in our schools; our students are more likely to be exposed to the virus in other settings and extracurricular activities. We continue to work with the Chester County Health Department (CCHD) to conduct contact tracing and discuss our mode of instruction. Based on CCHD feedback - we continue to feel our schools and classrooms to be safe for students and staff. It is clear that our layered mitigation strategy continues to work.
While the CCHD modified social distance guidelines to less than 6 feet - they did not change its definition of a close contact - it is still someone who was within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes over a 24 hour period. As a result - not surprisingly - we are seeing an increase in the numbers of students needing to quarantine. We have heard of a good number of families who have decided to self-quarantine upon their return from travel over spring break - this is appreciated and encouraging. Should you have questions about quarantine (there are changing regulations) - please contact your child’s principal or school nurse.
We will continue to track the numbers daily. This is particularly important with variant strains and the potential impact they may have on our students and community. Based on conversations with medical professionals it is important to note that our mitigation efforts are just as effective against the variant strains as the original strain of the virus.
According to a press release from March 19 - the CDC states that schools should be the first places to open and the last places to close. I wholeheartedly believe this. And with Governor Wolf opening PA further - I don’t anticipate a mass closing of any of our schools. Nevertheless - with our surveillance and mitigation efforts in place - we are prepared to change our instructional model if in-school attendance becomes a health risk.
Please know that we will continue to follow CCHD guidance and maintain our strict mitigation measures in order to keep everyone safe. We must remain vigilant so that we can stay safe together. As always, please monitor for symptoms and stay home if you do not feel well. I appreciate your continued efforts.