PDE Guidance: School Closings (January 29, 2021)

Dear Great Valley Community,

This email is sent to share an update with you that was issued on January 28, 2021, by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) related to the closing of schools for identified COVID-19 cases. As you know, we have been reporting confirmed and probable cases via a 14-day rolling dashboard on or website. While we will continue to do that, PDE guidance has changed to now allow us to work with our local health department around our response to cases in a school.

Per PDE: “Schools within a county or municipal health department (CMDH) jurisdiction should work with their local health department when responding to cases of COVID-19 in a school setting, to determine whether they have the capacity to complete necessary case investigation and contract tracing in a shorter timeframe.”

This new guidance means that a school closure due to a confirmed or probable number of COVID-19 cases in one school may be shorter than previously recommended if we are able to complete case investigation and contract tracing expeditiously. We will work closely with the Chester County Health Department (CCHD), as we have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic. That collaboration will help us to determine the length of any closure, or, in some cases depending on the nature and timing of cases in a school, to avoid any closure based on the advice of the CCHD.

This newest PDE update is an important one for our schools and allows us to work closely with the CCHD in making any determination about a school closing. While we hope that a consideration about closing is never even necessary, we appreciate the local control that is offered by this newest revision to medical guidance. As I’ve always said, the Great Valley School District relies heavily on the advice of our medical agencies in navigating this pandemic because safety is our top priority. We will continue to do that in the best interest of our school community.

Sincerely,
Daniel F. Goffredo, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools