Good evening Spring-Ford,
Over several months, Montgomery County Superintendents worked with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (MCIU), Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH), County Commissioner Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, and CHOP Policy Lab to create a plan that promotes best practices regarding instructional delivery and pandemic response. In December, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Education approved schools in Montgomery County to move forward with the plan outlined below while continuing to work directly with the MCOPH and Dr. Arkoosh.
First, it is important to remind our community that when an entire school building has closed, the purpose of the closure was to allow our staff additional time to complete case investigations, contact tracing, and to complete cleaning and disinfecting. In many instances, we were able to thoroughly complete case investigation, contact tracing, and cleaning/disinfecting before the end of the workday. As we move forward, Spring-Ford will follow the guidelines below when considering closing school(s) due to COVID-19.
- School districts in Montgomery County can use the PDE “Pre-K to 12 School Buildings Following Identification of a Case(s) of COVID-19” chart for recommendations regarding the return to virtual instruction, as needed. School districts, including Spring-Ford, will consider two triggering scenarios when changing the method of instruction from in-person to virtual:
- Linked transmission within the school when confirmed by the Montgomery County Office of Public Health. Prior to this week, we did not encounter any in-school linked transmission. MCOPH uses in-school transmission as a metric to move schools to virtual learning for two weeks. While we can control the length of a closure when we have a number of unrelated positive cases, when in-school transmission occurs the county will step in to provide guidance through this process.
- Functional closure due to inadequate staffing, which, thanks to the dedication of our faculty and staff, we have not yet experienced.
- For instances where the number of confirmed cases reach the identified threshold, Spring-Ford will return to in-person instruction very quickly (if not without any disruption) due to the systems in place to contact trace and complete requirements regarding cleaning and disinfecting. Therefore, it is possible that Spring-Ford may not move to virtual instruction in such cases.
- EXAMPLE – No Closure: on Tuesday morning, a Small School (<500 people) reported two confirmed cases. These cases were identified as unrelated and were not a case of in-school transmission. Spring-Ford’s COVID Liaisons completed case investigation and contact tracing for both cases by 2 p.m. the same day. That evening, the school was cleaned following CDC guidelines. Specific areas in which individuals with COVID visited were disinfected. We will remain proactive and engage in the high-pressure backpack disinfecting when we see an increase in reported cases. This would occur in the evening, after our daily cleaning occurs. In this example, the school would not close as case investigations, contact tracing, and cleaning and disinfecting were accomplished in a faster time frame.
- EXAMPLE – Brief School Closure: on Tuesday afternoon, a Small School (<500 people) reported two confirmed cases in the building. These cases were identified as unrelated and were not a case of in-school transmission. Spring-Ford’s COVID Liaisons were not able to complete case investigation and contact tracing for both cases that day and required additional time. As per our protocol, that evening the school was cleaned and specific areas in which individuals with COVID visited were disinfected. In this example, the school may close for one day to complete case investigations and contact tracing. Students and employees would move to Virtual Learning for this one-day closure. Again, specific areas in which individuals with COVID visited were disinfected.
- EXAMPLE – Extended School Closure: on Tuesday afternoon, a Small School (<500 people) reported two confirmed cases in the building. The MCOPH confirmed this was a case of in-school transmission. Following their direction, the school would move to virtual learning for 14-days. Unlike other closures, this closure would be due to in-school transmission. The extended 14-day closure is in place to reduce the additional spread of COVID-19 in our school community.
As a reminder, our schools are thoroughly cleaned each evening. SFASD utilizes the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved disinfectants against COVID-19.
- All frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned, sanitized & disinfected at least 1x/day 5 days per week per CDC Guidance.
- All classrooms will be cleaned, sanitized & disinfected at least 1x/day 5 days per week per CDC Guidance.
- All bathrooms and locker rooms will be cleaned, sanitized & disinfected at least 1x/day 5 days per week per CDC Guidance.
- Day custodians will sanitize high touch areas at least once during the school day.
- Disinfecting wipes will be provided to all occupied areas in each building.
- Hand sanitizing stations will be installed in every classroom, building primary entrances and office areas.
- All drinking fountains will shut off. Bottle fillers will be in use where applicable.
- HVAC operation will follow ASHRAE Reopening of Schools recommendations 2020 where attainable
- As an additional layer, when a school hits its case count we will implement the use of disinfecting spray in the entire building and all surfaces.
Also, the Spring-Ford COVID-19 Dashboard will now show a daily log of confirmed cases broken out by each building in place of the 14-day rolling count. Each Sunday evening, the Daily Log will reset to zero and the total number of confirmed cases will be added to the Historic Data. Given that we are able to maintain in-person instruction providing we can complete the case investigations, contact tracing, and cleaning/disinfecting, the 14-day rolling count is no longer a valid data point. Instead, we are providing a weekly total of cases to gain an actual picture of identified positive and probable positive cases in our schools. The Building Status and Building Status Update will remain active on the dashboard, as will Montgomery County and Chester County trends. Click here to view the updated dashboard.
I would like to remind our community to use the Daily COVID Checklist each day before coming to school. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions listed, please stay home and contact your physician or school nurse. We need your support and cooperation each day to keep our community safe!
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Mr. Robert Rizzo
Weekly Update with Mr. Rizzo
Mr. Rizzo, Assistant Superintendent, launched a weekly video update to share information with our families, staff, and community at large. With each episode, Mr. Rizzo will share news from across the district and highlight the information you need to know about upcoming dates, events, FAQs, and more. Updates will be brief and easy to watch while waiting in a school pick-up line or during a commercial break!
Click here to watch the January 27 Weekly Update with Mr. Rizzo. This week, Mr. Rizzo talks about:
- Changes to the Spring-Ford COVID Dashboard
- Updates to our School Closing Process
- The Daily COVID Checklist
- 21-22 Course Selection Guide
Upcoming School Board Meetings
Click the link below to join a School Board Committee Meeting or School Board Meeting. Click here to view upcoming agendas, board documents, and board minutes.
- February 2, 6:30 p.m. – Extracurricular Committee Meeting
- February 2, 7:30 p.m. – Community Relations Committee Meeting
- February 8, 7:30 p.m. – School Board Meeting
- February 9, 6:30 p.m. – Finance Committee Meeting
- February 9, 7:30 p.m. – Property Committee Meeting
- February 16, 6:30 p.m. – Policy Committee Meeting
- February 16, 7:30 p.m. – Curriculum/Technology Committee Meeting
- February 22, 7:30 p.m. – School Board Meeting
Montgomery County Testing Sites
Montgomery County COVID testing sites are now open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at several locations and have appointments each day. Appointments must be may each morning for same-day testing. Test results are being sent within 48 hours.
The Montgomery County COVID-19 testing sites are by appointment only and are self-administered tests. These sites are outdoors and are subject to closure on short notice due to bad weather. Only same-day appointments are available. Please refer to their website for FAQs and other important information.
Montgomery and Chester County COVID Dashboard Trends: Montgomery and Chester County officials are committed to the health and safety of all of the county residents. The Counties has compiled data pertaining to COVID-19 into easy to use dashboards. On these dashboards, you can explore a collection of maps, data and charts that show the number of cases related to COVID-19. There is also information on age, gender and race. The information only pertains to those individuals that have been verified as county residents and received a positive test.