November 10, 2020

November 10, 2020

Dear CCIU Families and Staff, 

Congratulations, we have completed the first quarter of the school year! I am thrilled by the outstanding education that we have been able to provide our students and families. From our building and ground crews that keep our facilities healthy, to our support personnel who keep operations running smoothly, to our instructional staff who are helping our students learn online and in-person, to our supervisors and administrators who are providing invaluable leadership, to our students and families for following social distancing, wearing masks, working hard and being patient: thank you to everyone for your part in keeping the CCIU in session. Staying safe, healthy and open has been a team effort! 

COVID-19 Impact Update – Fall Surge 

Despite our success, we cannot let down our guard. We are tracking the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in our region. Unfortunately, they are on the rise. However, while the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to increase, we have not seen any viral outbreaks at the CCIU in nearly two months. Also, the Chester County Health Department (CCHD) has indicated that it does not appear that schools are contributing to the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the CCHD has revised its guidance regarding when to move to all online learning. 

Factors Used to Determine Learning Models 

The updated Chester County Health Department guidance recommends schools consider several factors when deciding to move to a completely virtual learning model or to continue with in-person learning. The CCIU will consider the following when determining in-person or online learning: 

  1. Guidance of County and State Officials: The CCIU will continue to follow the guidance of Chester County Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Education when determining whether or not staff and students should attend in-person or remotely.  
  2. Chester County Health Department COVID-19 Metrics: For both the county as a whole and within its local communities, the CCHD provides the school districts and the CCIU with daily updates on COVID-19 cases and positivity rates. In addition, the CCHD provides the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases by age group and within a school district.  
  3. Rates of linked transmission in CCIU programs and schools: Through COVID-19 reporting and contact tracing, the CCHD and the CCIU can determine if a positive case is the result of an outbreak in a school or a single case contracted outside of the school and not affecting other students or school personnel. Linked transmission or an outbreak at a school occurs when two or more cases of COVID-19 are the result of individuals coming into contact with one another at school.  
  4. Number of staff available to keep buildings open: As the rate of transmission spreads, so may the number of staff required to quarantine. This may impact our ability to continue in-person learning.  

 

Our Actions Can Slow the Spread of COVID-19 

I am hopeful that the steps that we have taken will allow us to continue to offer in-person instruction throughout the school year, but we need your help to make this hope a reality. 

Please avoid gathering with people outside of your immediate household. Continue to wear a mask whenever in public. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid unnecessary travel to areas with high rates of COVID-19 infection. Conduct a daily health screening prior to coming to school or to work. If you are not feeling well, stay home and contact your health care provider. If you come into contact with a person who is known to have COVID-19, do not come to school or to work; contact your building principal or program supervisor; and seek medical advice from your health care provider. 

Evolving Guidelines, New Information, and Health Updates 

Please know, the guiding principle throughout this entire process is to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff. Per their guidelines, the CCHD provides exceptions to special education programs, career and technical education and early childhood programs. As you know, the CCIU serves the county’s most vulnerable populations and we recognize that in-person instruction is at times necessary to ensure that every student has equitable access to educational resources. As such, the CCIU will continue to provide in-person instruction as long as it is safe to do so. 

Together, we can ensure our students have access to their education in a safe and healthy learning environment. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation. 

Stay safe and stay well.

Sincerely,

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