Kennett Consolidated School District stays the course on COVID-19 response01/10/2022 10:49PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Kennett Consolidated School District Superintendent Dr. Dusty Blakey announced he would continue the present precautions the administration is taking in response to the sharp increase in cases of COVID-19 over the past several weeks.
In his report at the Jan. 10 school board meeting in the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center, he said the number of cases in the district has increased from 26 cases in November to 282 cases last week in the six schools in the district. He attributed the rise in part to friends and families getting together over the holidays, as well as the prevalence of the Omicron variant.
“We knew we would see rises after the breaks,” he said. “We saw a rise after Halloween as well.”
He stressed that he wants to keep students in school, and unless something unforeseen happens the district will continue requiring masks. The district will also keep on sanitizing, deep cleaning, testing, contact tracing and quarantining in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
One change that has been issued by the Chester County Health Department and CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) is the quarantine period for people who have tested positive has been reduced to five days.
Blakey also said that based on information from health sources, he believes the COVID-19 pandemic locally has neared its peak and will begin to go down substantially in the next few weeks.
Still, he said, he does not want to get into a situation where he is directing masks on-and-off every time there is a change in statistics.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michael Barber said if the incidence goes down substantially two weeks in a row, there is the option to modify the mask requirement.
In other business:
Director of Facilities George Wolhafe announced that a new well has been drilled on the Greenwood School property and, after water testing has been done, the school will begin to use it.
The Greenwood well ran dry several months ago, and since that incident the district has been bringing in a tank truck full of fresh water each day. Wolhafe said that operation has been going well and the digging for a new well reached water at about 800 feet.
He added that the school will hook up to public water “in the next few weeks.”
Physics teacher Jeff Moreau asked for and received approval to take a group to students on a three-day field trip to West Virginia to visit the Green Bank Observatory, which has a powerful radio telescope.
The board also approved the addition of several courses to be added to the curriculum in connection with the high school’s developing degree program. The program enables students to engage in a major area of study, and when they graduate, they are in a position to enter the job field or that area of study at an advanced level.
The courses they approved were Introduction to Agriculture; Media in the Digital Age; The History of Kennett Square; Engineering Essentials; Engineering Design and Development; Computer Science Essentials; and Advanced Digital Journalism.
High School Principal Jeremy Hritz said the students in the programs will be actively involved with professionals in the fields of study and may also participate in internships.