Dear UCF Community,
Today’s letter carries with it two requests: I ask that you stay optimistic and be realistic. Both are needed as we begin November. As you know, we had four cases this past week - and nine since school started on September 8. At this point there has been no transmission in school or on sports teams - meaning all cases have come from the outside. While this is a good sign and evidence that our mitigation efforts have been successful thus far - we know that cases in the area are on the rise - and it is reasonable to assume that our district will see a similar rise.
Knowing that it is worth taking a moment to focus on the positives. UCFSD has implemented extensive cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Our staff has been trained and has the equipment and materials they need to ensure that our buildings have every mitigation strategy and practice in place at all times. We are masking and social distancing. Our nurses, athletic trainers, and administrative teams have stepped up to support contact tracing efforts - their work has been spectacular. It has been a team effort and I am grateful to everyone for going above and beyond.
Out there in the real world positive case numbers are on the rise. Multiple models and projections show increases in incidents for Chester County that - should they be accurate - will force us to return to an all virtual format. Given the projections and guidance from the Chester County Health Department (see chart below) - I encourage everyone to prepare for the likelihood of returning to an all virtual format on November 16. Additionally - if we see an increase in the transmission rate that is greater than anticipated and/or we see in school/sport transmission - we will consider transitioning to virtual sooner than November 16.
During our weekly meeting with Dr. Sulieman she presented the most recent COVID-19 transmission rates and metrics - (See the latest report here). While the numbers for Chester County and our community support us to remain in our hybrid model - we will keep a keen eye on transmission rates as cases are on the rise in our community. We should all be prepared to move to virtual if the rates rise as expected. These are the important takeaways:
- Chester County positivity rates increased from 3.3% to 4.4%;
- Chester County has seen a weekly increase in incidence rate per 100,000 from 48.1 to 66.5;
- UCF municipalities have seen an increase in incidents from 13 to 17;
- Projected incidence rates per 100,000 - in the coming weeks - show Chester County cases to be around 100.
Let us all Keep Calm and Follow the Plan - our efforts in school and at home will keep us safe. Mitigation efforts - especially as we head into the holiday season are paramount in reducing the spread of COVID-19. I appreciate that every family has unique circumstances and varied sensibilities - with this in mind I remind everyone that while we are in hybrid - remoting in is always an option.
As always your support and understanding - towards all in our community - is appreciated.
Chester County Health Department Guidance