11/30/20 Community Update
Dear Hatboro-Horsham Families:
I hope everyone had a peaceful and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.
Hatboro-Horsham, and all Montgomery County schools, remain in fully remote instruction through December 6 per the order of the Montgomery County Board of Health. This is to update you on our planning for the instructional delivery model beginning next week. The Board of School Directors will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the upcoming instructional plan, as well as the plan for winter PIAA athletic programs. Meeting information can be found HERE.
Currently Montgomery County remains in a Substantial level of community transmission, as designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Last week, Governor Wolf issued a new order for school districts, which can be found HERE.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health and PDE recommend that school entities in counties with Substantial disease transmission transition to remote-only instructional models. However, if a school district chooses to provide in-person instruction while its residing county is exhibiting a Substantial level of community transmission, a PDE Attestation Form must be signed attesting to compliance with the recent Updated Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings and strict adherence to the Recommendations for Schools Following the Identification of a Case(s) of COVID-19. This provides specific metrics that would prompt a school-specific closure due to the number of positive cases in that school.
The decision for the instructional model is complex and needs to balance the benefits of in-person instructional delivery with the health and safety risks that are assumed when gathering in-person. Those risks increase as community spread increases. Public health metrics have been tracked and posted weekly to the school district website (available HERE) to inform recommendations. We also remain in regular consultation with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health and specifically review the data in the Hatboro-Horsham District. These local metrics for our municipalities can be found here: Weekly COVID-19 Rates by Municipality. The school district incidence rates have been comparable to the county rates, but the district positivity rates have been trending higher than the county averages for five consecutive weeks.
Here are two recent health and safety updates from the Pennsylvania Department of Health:
- Masking order: Everyone must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth. Under the latest universal masking order, masks are to be worn both indoors and outdoors. When in schools, scheduled mask breaks of no more than 10 minutes will be permitted when six feet of physical distancing is assured. Masks may also be removed when students are eating or drinking and at least six feet apart. Masks are also required for indoor physical activity.
- Travel Guidance: effective November 25, any staff member or student who travels out of state for more than 24 hours for any reason other than work or medical purposes must quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Pennsylvania, unless a negative COVID-19 test is obtained within 72 hours prior to returning to the state, or at any point during the following 14 days. Upon obtaining a negative test, or after the 14-day quarantine period concludes, the student may return to school.
We know our students and families are coping with the uncertainty of COVID-19 and the consistent need to change and adapt. While we navigate these uncertain times there are resources to help students and families support their social/emotional well-being. To find your child’s counselor and view other mental health resources, please visit our Mental Health Resources page. If you are looking for additional resources, view our Student Assistance Program (SAP) Newsletter page. In November’s edition, find tips on helping your child to maintain focus and set goals, and information on executive functioning. Visit our district site at HHSD Social and Emotional Well-Being to find more resources, links, and previous newsletters.
Thank you for your continued understanding and flexibility.
Scott Eveslage, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools