Hello Faculty, Staff, and Parents/Guardians,
Schools are an important part of the infrastructure of communities as they provide safe, supportive learning environments for students. Schools also help to mitigate health disparities by providing critical services including school meal programs and social, physical, behavioral, and mental health services. COVID-19 transmission in schools may be a reflection of transmission in the surrounding community. Therefore, the CDC advised that when making decisions on when to open schools for full or partial (hybrid) in-person learning it is important to understand COVID-19 transmission within the surrounding community to determine the possible risk of introduction and transmission of COVID-19 within the school. During the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts have been trying to make decisions about when and how to safely open schools. We have asked the health experts to provide us with possible data/metrics to help guide those decisions. There is no easy answer or a single indicator. Many variables must be considered. As a result of those inquiries, the CDC, PA Department of Health, and PA Department of Education proposed core and secondary indicators that school districts could use to aid in their decision-making process regarding school reopening for full or partial (hybrid) in-person learning. In-person learning includes all classes and activities conducted during core school hours. It does not explicitly include extracurricular activities — like sports or theater — conducted after school hours. However, the CDC says the indicators could also be used to determine whether and how to implement extracurricular activities with the necessary mitigation strategies in place.
As part of our planning for a phased reopening and recommendation process, Centennial School District (CSD) administration will be using the proposed core indicators, secondary indicator, and the implementation of mitigation strategies to guide our decision making. The CDC recommends the use of 3 core indicators. These core indicators include two measures of community burden (number of new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 14 days; and percentage of RT-PCR tests that are positive during the last 14 days) AND one self-assessed measure of school implementation of key mitigation strategies.
For further explanation of these core indicator(s), secondary indicator(s) and, the implementation of mitigation strategies click here.
Additionally, as part of our efforts to communicate with our community and to be transparent, CSD will be including a COVID-19 Dashboard on our website to report the current data on the core and secondary indicators. As this information is provided and updated by the PA Department of Health, PA Department of Education, and CDC (as appropriate), we will attempt to update our dashboard on a weekly basis to align with any updated data/metrics around the core and secondary indicator. Finally, CSD will be implementing our local version of the CDC School Readiness Planning Tool. The CDC provided a readiness and planning tool to share ways school administrators can help protect students, staff, and communities, and slow the spread of COVID-19. This tool aligns with the Considerations for Schools, and includes the following:
- General Readiness Assessment
- Daily/Weekly Readiness Assessment
- Preparing for if Someone Gets Sick
- Special Considerations and Resources
Please continue to visit our website at www.centennialsd.org for more up to date information.
Dana T. Bedden, Ed.D., CAA
Superintendent of Schools