11/13/20 COVID-19 School Closure Update

COVID-19 School Closure Update from NPSD Superintendent Dr. Curt Dietrich

Dear North Penn,

On Friday, November 13th, the Montgomery County Board of Health passed an order requiring all schools, both public and private, to support virtual education only for a defined amount of time over the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a preventative measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. All NPSD students will begin 100% virtual instruction from home beginning on Monday, November 23rd with schools scheduled to reopen to students on Monday, December 7th. By this order, all sports and extracurricular activities are cancelled during this time as well.

Families and staff will be hearing from NPSD over the next several days with further specifics to help you plan for this time of online learning.

Throughout this pandemic we have followed the advice of the Montgomery County Office of Public Health (OPH) who made this recommendation to the Board of Health and we plan to continue to do so. The strategy of this order which has been shared by the health bureau is to limit the potential impact of student and staff exposure during indoor, holiday social gatherings.

I do want to take a minute to talk about where we are as a school district and a community in managing the spread of COVID-19. On our website you can view COVID-19 statistics for both Montgomery County and our individual schools. As of the time of this letter, there have been 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff and students. Their recovery and health is of our utmost importance. In all of these cases, NPSD staff worked with the OPH in terms of contact tracing. I can assure you that if there is or was a case in your building and you or your student are considered a close contact, you will be notified.

Additionally, what we can say is that schools in general and in NPSD buildings specifically due to our prevention protocols and the efforts of students and staff, do not seem to be the source of disease transmission. To this date, in consultation with OPH, to the best of our knowledge we understand that staff and students have not contracted COVID-19 in our schools. This is due to strategies we have implemented such as mask wearing, social distancing and staying home when sick.

We need to be vigilant in our pursuit of controlling the spread of COVID-19. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Stay six feet away from others. And limit large-group gatherings. This will be especially important during the Thanksgiving holiday. If we can stop transmission outside of school and keep our staff and students healthy, our doors can open. If we let our guard down, we risk the chance of a functional shutdown because too many staff and students are sick or quarantined to hold in-person instruction.

As always, thank you for your patience and support as we navigate this pandemic together.

Take care and stay North Penn Strong.

Curtis R. Dietrich, Ed.D.