A Message from Dr. George F. Fiore, CCIU Executive Director

  • November 24, 2020

    Dear CCIU Families and Staff,

    Yesterday afternoon, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine held a press conference regarding updated mandates and guidance for the Commonwealth. The orders address additional COVID-19 mitigation efforts- particularly counties that are operating in the "substantial" transmission phase for more than two weeks. 

    In summary, the following updates were noted that impact the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU): 

    • Recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools to determine instructional models 

    • Travel and group gathering restrictions 

    • Strengthened masking orders 

    Recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools to determine instructional models
     
    This update addresses school leaders’ need for additional guidance in responding to COVID-19 cases in a school setting. The update includes level of community transmission as a basis for the recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools to determine instructional models. It is important to note, that at this time, Chester County is considered to be at the “substantial” level of community transmission. 

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Commonwealth suggest in-person instruction when safely possible. Public school entities in the substantial category of community transmission for more than two weeks must sign an attestation form to confirm all safety protocols are in place, including universal masking. It is important to note that a significant and/or widespread outbreak may require moving to a more remote-based model more quickly. 

    Travel and group gathering restrictions 

    The CDC guidance warns against gatherings with people not part of your immediate household and to stay home and not travel for the holidays. I understand how hard this may be to not visit with extended family for Thanksgiving, but it is extremely important to follow these precautions so that we keep everyone, including our own family and friends, safe and healthy. 

    Pennsylvanians visiting any other state or traveling internationally are required to have a negative COVID-19 test or to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania (does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or for medical treatment).  At the CCIU, this means staff and students who travel outside of Pennsylvania for recreation and leisure, as per the Governor’s order, will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before returning onsite to CCIU facilities for work or learning, or quarantine for 14 days.

    Strengthened masking orders 

    Additionally, as previously mentioned, universal masking orders have been strengthened. Masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home. 

    When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least six feet away) from someone not in your household the entire time you are outdoors. At the CCIU, this means staff and students will be required to wear a mask on CCIU grounds when they are outside with others or may encounter others. Sustained physical distance means the practice of staying at least six feet away from others to avoid becoming a close contact. 

    When indoors, masks will now be required even when physically distant from members not in your household. Even if you are six feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household. At the CCIU, this means anyone who does not have an office or who does not work alone will be required to wear a mask. Working alone is defined as a person by themselves inside an office with four walls and a door, or a lone worker inside a cubicle with three walls and a door or entryway, where walls are high enough to block the breathing zone of all people walking by, and the worker's activity will not require anyone to come inside that person's workspace. If you have questions, please contact your supervisor for guidance. 

    As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will continue to follow the advice and guidance of the Chester County Health Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. We will continue to require face coverings to be worn as well as modify our instructional model based upon the Governor’s orders, our local department of health and staffing availability.

    We understand the new health and safety requirements are inconvenient, but our goal is to limit COVID-19 exposure within our CCIU community, so that we can continue to offer in-person instruction safely. 

    Remember, if you plan to travel internationally or outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, please inform your principal or supervisor immediately upon confirmation of your travel plans. Staff should consult with their HR generalist to discuss leave options and/or the work-from-home request process (if your position lends itself to telework). Please contact your principal or direct supervisor for guidance or any questions related to wearing a mask while learning or working onsite at a CCIU facility. Please continue to socially distance and avoid gathering with people who do not live in your household. 

    Again, I greatly appreciate everyone’s cooperation and partnership during this time. We will get through this together. Stay healthy, be safe and take care of yourself and one another.

    Sincerely,

     

    Dr. George F. Fiore 
    Executive Director
    Chester County Intermediate Unit

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