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8-18-2020 Virtual School Opening

8-18-2020 Virtual School Opening
Posted on 08/18/2020
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Dear School Community,


Last night the Garnet Valley School District Board of Directors unanimously voted to begin the 2020-21 school year virtually. This vote affirms the recommendation made by the Chester County Health Department which asserted that “public and private K to 12 schools in Chester County and Delaware County should begin their academic year virtually and assess their ability to transition to a more in-person instructional model after October 9, 2020.”  The department believes that a virtual start will mitigate any impact anticipated by increased cases due to Labor Day and the end of summer travel. 


Along with their recommendation, the Chester County Health Department in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, announced that they were releasing recommendations for reopening schools based on health metrics. Both rely on two standard public health metrics: incidence rate and the percent positivity of diagnostic testing. Additionally, Chester County Health Department will also provide more municipal based data by this Friday, which will help us better understand our local health data.  To access the health department’s Pre-K – 12 Grade Health and Safety Plan Considerations, please click here.


Based on current trends in our area today, we believe that bringing in cohorts of students for in person learning is a real possibility by October as long as families are vigilant in following all of the safety guidelines–especially if they have travel or celebration plans over the holiday. As a community we must wear masks, wash our hands often, practice proper social distancing, and perform daily symptom screening.

 

Until there is a vaccination, the issue of spread will present itself no matter what we do. However, the experts believe that by delaying in-person learning, we will mitigate the numbers and allow for a smooth and safe transition to meeting our goal of bringing all students back into school. In the interim, through the feedback and input of our teachers, students, and parents, our virtual learning is greatly enhanced. This year’s online learning will be focused on new learning, live engagement, structured schedules, and meaningful interactions. Click HERE to access a recorded webinar and presentation (named “Reopening of Schools”) that explains our online learning format in more detail. Like every school year, building principals will be in touch with their families regarding specifics about schedules and other important announcements regarding the start of the school year.


I want our community to know that we understand the seriousness and the implications this decision has on learning, parenting, jobs, mental health, physical health, and the multitude of other aspects that virtual learning can present.  With this understanding in mind, I want to reinforce that our goal is full time, in-person learning. As a result, we strongly believe that our plan for a phased opening will get us there safely and as quickly as possible.


Sincerely,

Dr. Marc Bertrando, Superintendent


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