Good morning. While I didn't expect another update would be needed so soon, that's where we are in this everchanging landscape. Given the record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases confirmed over the weekend for Allegheny County, I have alerted our Board of School Directors this morning that I am withdrawing my recommendation to combine Hybrid A and B groups to form a 4-day option as of Tuesday, December 1 for grades 1, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 12. While there is no current indication that the increased cases in Allegheny County over the weekend are specific to Penn Hills, I do not think it is prudent to consider increasing the number of students onsite at this time.
Instead, I have advised our Board that I prefer to delay consideration of further student movement, with no hybrid combination date for grades 1, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 12 to be any earlier than Tuesday, January 19, 2021, pending local conditions. This delay will likely push back consideration of a hybrid combination for the remaining students in grades 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10 to no earlier than Tuesday, February 16, 2021, again, pending local conditions.
Please be advised that Superintendents of Allegheny and Beaver Counties will be discussing increased COVID-19 case numbers later today with various officials from Harrisburg, and I ask Everyone to remain on standby for additional updates.
In summary, PHSD will remain status quo until further notice, which includes retaining a 2-day onsite hybrid option (for now) for students enrolled in grades 1-12 and retaining a 4-day onsite hybrid option (for now) for students enrolled in Kindergarten and those students in grades 1-12 who qualify for specially designed instruction.
Contract tracing will continue to involve notification of individual affiliates (students, staff, and/or approved volunteers) who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 while on PHSD property and/or during a PHSD-sponsored activity. School-level notifications of quarantine will continue to be shared when potential exposure involves a relatively large group, and we will continue to collaborate with Allegheny County Health Department officials as new information about confirmed or possible exposures is received from our PHSD affiliates.
As of this moment, we still intend to participate in Winter Sports, if deemed safe on the day of practice and/or competition. We ask all members of our PH Family to remain mindful that safety and academics must remain our top priorities. Accordingly, we intend to maintain a very conservative attitude that will likely interrupt planned practice and/or competition schedules during the season. Everyone should expect that there will be limited opportunities for spectators to attend, and on some days, it is likely that no spectators will be permitted to attend, depending on local conditions that day.
As of this morning, our PHSD confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of school on September 8, 2020 are at 16, with 5 individuals from this group not having been on PHSD property since March of last school year.
I thank Everyone for your continued support and commitment to safe practices.