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Chester County Press

U-CF School District considers all-remote learning if COVID-19 cases continue to increase

11/03/2020 01:07PM ● By Steven Hoffman

All-remote learning could be a possibility in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District by Nov. 16 or sooner if COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

Superintendent John Sanville sent a letter to the district community Monday, after four U-CF students tested positive last week after being exposed outside of school. Two students were in the high school, and two were in Charles F. Patton Middle School. One of those middle school students, according to data from a pediatric infectious disease doctor that the district consults with, “has not been in a school building or on school grounds.”

“Multiple models and projections show increases in incidents for Chester County that --- should they be accurate – will force us to return to an all-virtual format,” Sanville wrote. “Given the projections and guidance from the Chester County Health Department – I encourage everyone to prepare for the likelihood of returning to an all-virtual format on Nov. 16.”

That return could be sooner if transmission of COVID increases.

“If we see an increase in the transmission rate that is greater than anticipated and/or we see in school/sport transmission – we will consider transitioning to virtual sooner than Nov. 16,” Sanville said.

District administrators have had weekly meetings with Salwa Sulieman, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Alfred I. Dupont Hospital for Children. According to the latest update, which includes figures from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Policy Lab, “Daily cases in Pennsylvania are now the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic.”

In Chester and Delaware counties, new confirmed cases jumped between Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, a trend that was the same for the PCR percent positivity, and the number of cases per 100,000 people. New confirmed Chester County cases went from 251 on Oct. 25 to 347 by Nov. 1, and in Delaware County the cases went from 526 on Oct. 25 to 758 a week later.

In Delaware County, according to CHOP Policy Lab data, average daily hospitalizations and the average daily number of patients on ventilators have increased in that same time frame.

According to Sulieman’s data, modeling studies in November “show significant increases.” That time frame includes the Thanksgiving holiday.

In his letter, Sanville urged the Unionville-Chadds Ford community to continue doing everything they could to follow mitigation guidelines.

“Let us all keep calm and follow the plan – our efforts in school and at home will keep us safe,” he wrote. “Mitigation efforts – especially as we head into the holiday season – are paramount in reducing the spread of COVID-19.”