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1/7/21 Community Update
Dear Hatboro-Horsham Families:
In this update, we seek to provide you with details about the unique guidelines and circumstances that we will be returning to when in-person instruction resumes next week.
This Monday, January 11, all HHSD schools will resume the in-person programming that was in effect in November before the Montgomery County-directed closure of schools. All in-person services that were offered in November will resume, including transportation, food service, and all other in-person services.
This instructional programming will include full-day 5 days/week in-person instruction for Kindergarten students and 2 days/week hybrid in-person instruction for students in grades 1 through 12. The hybrid cohorts to which students were assigned earlier remain in effect. For students in hybrid, Mondays will remain as a fully virtual launch day for the week and hybrid cohorts are in-person for either Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday. For more information about the hybrid program, please visit our school reopening page (available HERE) and the Frequently Asked Questions (available HERE).
When we return, we will be doing so following the guidelines that were issued to all state public schools from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). There are procedures and guidelines that we have attested to following when returning students to in-person instruction. The number of positive case counts in schools will be closely monitored and the metrics, if met, will prompt a school-based closure (short-term shift to fully virtual). It is important to note that case counts are calculated by school and determine school-based decisions, not district-wide decisions. The specific metrics that would prompt a school-specific closure due to the number of positive cases in that school can be viewed HERE. For the metrics listed for our schools, Crooked Billet, Hallowell, and Blair Mill are classified as small schools, Simmons as a medium school, and Keith Valley and the High School are both classified as large schools.
The district has been and will continue to track the active number of staff and students who are either quarantining and/or active positive cases. We work collaboratively with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health to determine contact tracing and quarantines. This information will be updated on the school district COVID-19 Dashboard (available HERE) that can be viewed publicly on the school district website. The dashboard displays the current numbers of positive cases in each building and quarantines across the district. The accuracy of these numbers is essential as we are obligated to monitor the status of each building. This data will help inform decisions about keeping schools open to in-person instruction.
Three scenarios could prompt a school-based shift to virtual instruction:
- A confirmed case of in-school linked transmission
- School-based positive case counts reach the metrics threshold.
- If staff quarantine numbers are high enough to prevent the school from being able to operate, the building would temporarily close for in-person operations (a “functional closure”).
The COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated and posted at 4:00 pm on school days. We will make every effort to communicate with families about any short-term school-based closures before 8:00 pm on the evening before the closure. The pace at which we are made aware of positive cases or quarantines is unpredictable, so if events were to shift late into the evening, an early morning notification is possible. But please know that to the best of our ability we will attempt to communicate before 8:00 pm if there were to be a change in programming for the following school day.
We are aware that this potential disruption is not ideal for families, who will need to prepare for the challenges in finding childcare arrangements. However, these guidelines are required by PDE and are the only permissible conditions that in-person instruction can resume at this point.
Our hope is to work collaboratively with our students, families, and staff to strictly follow all health and safety protocols, slow the spread of the virus, keep one another safe, and keep our schools open to in-person instruction. Thank you for your continued partnership in this endeavor.
Some important resources and links:
- HHSD Video Update (1/6/21) on the guidelines for keeping schools open for in-person instruction
- HHSD COVID-19 Dashboard
- HHSD Frequently Asked Questions
- HHSD Reopening/Public Health Metrics
- Montgomery County Covid-19 Vaccination Information
- PDE Recommendations for Pre-K to 12 Schools Following Identification of a Case(s) of COVID-19
- PA Department of Health Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard
Scott Eveslage, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools