Dear Methacton Families,
As we continue to navigate the changing recommendations and requirements for schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also find a means to remain consistent and limit the disruption to the delivery of instruction.
To this end, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released another set of requirements for school districts. These requirements mandate how schools will address the spread of COVID-19 within their school buildings for students on premises when the county is in the substantial level of community transmission as indicated in the PDE chart.
The new requirements designate Methacton’s 4 elementary school buildings as “small schools”, Skyview and Arcola as “medium schools” and the high school as a “large school”. These designations require actions by school officials regarding confirmed positive COVID-19 cases within a rolling 14-day period.
These actions include:
- Altering schedule to significantly decrease number of students on site, inclusive of a return to all virtual learning for students in that building.
- Clean area(s) where case(s) spent time.
- Work with public health officials on close contacts to quarantine.
As an example of the potential disruption to the delivery of instruction, there would need only be 2 confirmed positive cases of student/staff to stop on premises instruction and revert to all virtual for a particular building until such time contact tracing and cleaning are completed. This disruption could be continuous for a day here or there in a given week. Much of that disruption would come from with very little notice.
These new requirements present significant challenges including the return of students to on premises against the Department of Education’s recommendation (PDE Instructional Model Chart) and, by doing so, potentially find ourselves reverting back and forth between on premises and online causing continuous disruption.
The Methacton School District’s Health and Safety Plan does follow the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s instructional model recommendation chart (PDE chart). As such, the most recent data used against the chart is below:
Montgomery County Data
Ending November 26
Positivity Rate = 8.0%
Incidence Rate = 240.8 per 100K
Methacton School District Data
Ending November 26
Lower Providence Twp.
Positivity Rate = 9.05%
Incidence Rate = 208.19 per 100K
Positivity Rate = 13.48%
Incidence Rate = 356.66 per 100K
* For the week ending Nov 26th, Methacton SD two townships as well as the county incidence rate and positivity rate were both up week over week.
Based on the above metrics and in compliance with the District’s approved Health and Safety Plan, all Methacton Schools will remain virtual from December 7, 2020 through December 11, 2020. I will continue to monitor the data and update our public weekly as to the future potential of a return of students to on premises instruction.
Dr. David Zerbe
Superintendent of Schools