Dear SDST Families,
I hope you are enjoying your weekend. As you are likely aware, on Friday, February 25, 2022 the CDC updated its guidance for mitigation of COVID-19 in schools. The updated guidance includes changes to recommendations for masking on school buses and provides updated definitions of levels of transmission to consider when implementing masking in schools.
Our SDST Health and Safety Plan states that we will continue regular communication and consultation with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health to ensure our strategies, policies and procedures are in alignment with county, state and federal recommendations to the extent feasible. I have carefully reviewed the updated guidance and data for Montgomery County. Based upon the updated guidance from the CDC, Springfield Township schools are in a Medium rate of transmission. The guidance states that at this level:
- If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions
- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
- Get tested if you have symptoms
Therefore, effective Monday, February 28, 2022, we encourage all families to determine whether or not to have your child(ren) wear a mask at school. While SDST is in a Low or Medium rate of transmission, we will support our students and families, whether attending school in or out of masks.
- We encourage all families to carefully consider the CDC guidance, speak with your child(ren) about your expectations, consult with your family physician to determine if they may be at higher risk for severe illness, and contact our school nurses and principals with any questions.
- Also effective February 25, 2022, the CDC does not require wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs. As a result, families may determine whether or not to have your child(ren) wear a mask on the bus. Families also have the option to drive their children to school. Please follow procedures at each building if you choose this option.
- Effective Monday, February 28, 2022, masks will be optional at all school events and activities held on school grounds and in school facilities for all students, staff and visitors.
- We will continue to maintain all other mitigation measures, including contact tracing, quarantining, social distancing, hand hygiene, ventilation and cleaning, and will make updates to our procedures if MCOPH guidance is updated.
- The MCOPH exclusion guidelines remain in place for all students and staff.
- Should we at any point return to a High rate of transmission, we will follow CDC guidance and resume universal masking.
The pandemic has been difficult for all of us in varied ways, and I realize that these changes in guidance will result in mixed feelings for many of our families and students. Our staff will work hard over the next few weeks as we make this transition to reinforce our shared values of inclusion, kindness, and community care.
Thank you for your continued support and adherence to the SDST Health and Safety Plan. Together, we can ensure the safety of our community while providing an excellent educational program for our students.
MaryJo Yannacone, Ed.D.