COVID-19 Plan Update Addendum
August 20, 2021
Dear Wayne Highlands Families:
I hope this finds you well, enjoying the final days of summer.As I am sure you are all aware, COVID continues to be presenting problems locally, statewide, nationally and globally.It also continues to be a major topic of conversation between family and friends and around dinner tables.We were hopeful that the decrease in cases that we saw in the spring and early summer months was indicative of a trend that would continue into the fall.Unfortunately, that is not the case.
As I shared many times throughout the pandemic, our goal at Wayne Highlands School District is to ensure a healthy and safe environment, providing for successful continuity in education.In other words, we are making every effort to keep our schools open.In establishing our reopening plans over the last two years, we have always prioritized the needs of the community. We believe it is in everyone’s best interest to do everything we can to keep our schools open.Simply, kids need to be in school.
In a previous message from July 30, 2021, I outlined the approved Health and Safety Plan for the upcoming school year.I explained that most of the safety measures and protocols implemented last year would continue.One notable change, however, was that the plan included masks being encouraged, not required.I went on to say that our plan required flexibility to accommodate mandates, changes, trends and events as they occur (i.e. increases in community or school-wide transmission rates).Unfortunately, the last several weeks have seen significant increases in COVID cases in Wayne County.In fact, Wayne County has remained in the “High” category of community transmission for two consecutive weeks.
As a result of the recent spike in community transmission, we have added an addendum to our Health and Safety Plan.You can find both the addendum and our plan at https://www.whsdk12.com.The addendum is a direct result of local COVID data and includes when the level of Community Transmission is in the High Transmission (Red) category for Wayne County for a period of two (2) consecutive weeks, Face Coverings (masks) will then be required for a period of two (2) weeks.After two (2) weeks, the Community Transmission data will be reviewed for further guidance.In regard to the opening of the new school year, a final determination will be made and announced based on the data that is released on Friday, August 27, 2021. We will continue to monitor the data, which is released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control every Friday.We will communicate any changes in our plan the same day the data is released.Dependent on local data, we are hopeful this change is temporary.As we have all seen, this also falls in line with guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Department of Health, as well as our local health officials.As mentioned above, this is a major topic of discussion and it is safe to say, it’s also a divisive one.We understand and respect that.In return, we ask that you recognize our efforts are intended solely to meet the goal of ensuring a healthy and safe environment, and to provide successful continuity of education for our students and their families.
Additionally, you will also find reference to quarantine guidelines in the addendum.I ask that you please review in its entirety the plan and addendum.In the meantime, below you will find a snapshot of quarantine guidance for persons who fall under the following exceptions (if they are symptom free):
- Persons who fall under the following exceptions would not need to quarantine as long as they are symptom free:
- persons who are fully vaccinated (proof required)
- persons who have had COVID within the last three months (proof required)
- persons who tested positive for COVID antibodies using the SARS-CoV-2 IgG test (proof required)
- In the K-12 indoor classroom setting and/or other school related activities, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or clinically compatible illness) if both the infected student and exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.
Wayne Highlands School District is grateful we were able to provide an excellent educational experience to our students throughout last school year, even under extraordinary circumstances.We are confident we will be able to do the same in the year ahead.Your continued cooperation, trust and understanding will assist us in meeting those goals.For that, we thank you.
If you have any questions, I encourage you to contact your building principal or me as soon as possible.