Update on Current Educational Model and Expectations for Notification (11/8)
This message was originally sent via the SchoolMessenger Alert System on November 8, 2020.
From the Superintendent: Update on Current Educational Model and Expectations for Notification
Dear Radnor Community and Staff,
I’m writing to provide you an update on our current educational model in light of increased incident rates in the region and to clarify our community notification procedures in the instance of a presumed/potential positive Covid-19 case in an RTSD student or staff member.
RTSD to Remain in Hybrid In-Person Learning as of November 8
On Friday, November 6, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Department of Health recommended that Delaware County schools should move to “full remote learning until the community transmission rates return to moderate.” PDE and DOH also stated “these are recommendations, not a mandate, [and] each School District should continue to review their data and make the best decisions for their students, staff and community.” Also released was the data for this week in Delaware County. According to the Chester County Health Department, the Delaware County incidence rate is 149.27 with a percent positivity of 6.47% for the most recent seven days. While this county data is high, the Radnor Township incidence rate as of November 6 is at 41.
We understand and appreciate the recommendation from PDE and DOH. Likewise, we are concerned about the recent regional increases in incidence and positivity rates. We also appreciate the recognition from PDE and DOH that each school system should look to its own unique experience in mitigating spread when determining its learning model.
To date, we are encouraged to report that no cases have been reported to us as a result of in-school transmission. Our protocols are being followed and we thank every student, staff member, and all others who visit our campuses for their adherence to our protocols. Based on our experience, adherence to our protocols, and lower community spread in Radnor Township, we are confident in continuing in our hybrid delivery model (Phase 2). As I shared last Friday, October 30, we will remain prepared and ready to move back to Phase 3: Fully Virtual, and we will also continue to plan and prepare to move to Phase 1: Full Day In-Person, especially for our youngest learners.
If we want to keep school open, and hopefully move to Phase 1 at some point, we need to follow our health and safety guidelines. Staff and students must continue to stay home when they don’t feel well. We must continue to mask and practice good hygiene. I can’t thank our community enough for your commitment to keeping our schools open.
Community Notification Procedures in Instance of Presumed/Potential Covid-19 Case
During our response to the pandemic and as we planned for reopening Radnor schools, we made sure to acknowledge that cases would occur in our school community, and that we would follow all the protocols from the Chester County Health Department in terms of contact tracing and alerting the appropriate individuals. I wanted to make sure families, staff, and community understood this notification process to set accurate expectations for the information they may or may not receive.
When we learn of a presumed/potential positive case, we follow guidance provided by the CCHD to notify the health department immediately to allow for contact tracing, which we also perform internally. If individuals are identified as having been in close contact with the potential case, we follow CCHD procedures to alert these individuals and, if they are on our property, isolate them and ensure they report home as soon as possible.
Since we have not been advised of the need to send a general notification to an entire grade, school, or other large group with each potential case, families and staff members who do not receive notification regarding a potential case can safely assume they were not identified as having been in close contact with the potential case. We will not be notifying an entire school community each time we receive notice of a potential case. We will be reporting our case numbers each month through a chart first introduced at the Oct. 27 board meeting here (slide 11).
I continue to be cautiously optimistic thanks to the efforts of so many in Radnor.
Kenneth E. Batchelor
Superintendent of Schools