11/17/20 Community Update
Dear Hatboro-Horsham Families and Staff:
I am reaching out to you today with an important update regarding changes to the delivery of instruction beginning Thursday, November 19.
Last Friday, November 13, we shared that the Montgomery County Board of Health voted to order all public and private K-12 schools to move entirely to virtual/remote learning between November 23 and December 6. The order comes in response to the rapid increases in the number of COVID-19 cases in the County and in our own community. As you know, it also comes at a time when we are amidst our hybrid phase of returning students to in-person instruction here is Hatboro-Horsham.
Even without citing county data, we know firsthand the situation in our Hatboro-Horsham school community is growing increasingly problematic, with a growing number of students (over 140) and staff (over 35) quarantining. Given the rapidly changing situation, we will revert to a fully remote instructional model for all K-12 students effective Thursday, November 19 until at least December 6. Pre-K and before and after-care programs will be closed starting November 19 as well.
A decision will be made in the first week of December about our plans for December 7.
Our ability to functionally operate our schools has grown increasingly challenging, as I shared with our School Board last night. At the meeting, I presented important data, including numbers of staff and students quarantining, and the impact this is having on our ability to operate. Even since last night, those numbers are changing.
This video segment of the board meeting can be viewed HERE between 27:34 – 36:30.
In a consultative call with Montgomery County Office of Public Health this morning, we discussed the increasing numbers in our schools and community. MCOPH has concerns about the prevalence of community spread specifically in HHSD from club sports. Given the community numbers and the functional impact on our operations, the MCOPH supports the recommendation to transition to remote instruction on November 19.
We understood when we began returning students to in-person instruction that instructional models would need to be fluid, and that has indeed proven to be the case. As was communicated last week, this shift to fully remote instruction will not change the existing schedules and class assignments for our students. We will maintain the current start and end times at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Students who recently changed teachers or schedules during our reorganization for hybrid will keep their current schedule and teacher. Hatter Academy classes will remain intact.
We know these have been trying times for our students. Regardless of our instructional model, counselors and support services are available for students and families. Please see our Social and Emotional Well-Being resources and contacts available HERE.
As the holidays approach, we ask our families to be mindful of the recommendations of our public health experts regarding travel, social distancing, masking, and hygiene. Our collective will to abide by this guidance will be the biggest determinant of when we resume in-student learning in the weeks ahead. While intended for decisions about school attendance, the guidelines available HERE can be helpful in making decisions about other activities as well.
The safety of our students, staff, and community continues to be the focus of our actions. We know the challenges that remote learning places on our families, and we thank you for your continued flexibility and support as we navigate this challenging year.
Scott T. Eveslage, Ed.D.