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September 11, 2020
September 11, 2020
Dear CCIU Staff and Families,
I hope the first days back in our schools and buildings have been going well for everyone! I know we have enjoyed welcoming the students back to school and it has been a pleasure “seeing” the smiling faces of everyone – even from behind the masks. With the start of the year, I feel it is important to set communication expectations for the year regarding COVID-19 communications and notifications. Please know that at the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) we are committed to transparent and timely communication and will continue to follow the Chester County Health Department’s (CCHD) guidance regarding notifications of positive and presumptive positive COVID-19 cases.
The CCHD does not require schools to send notifications regarding exposure when there is a low risk that others will contract COVID-19 as a result of this exposure. However, we feel it is important that we find a balance between keeping our stakeholders informed while also not causing undue panic or clogging lines of communication by reporting cases before they are confirmed or when there is no likely risk of exposure to others in our school.
When a person receives a positive COVID-19 test or has symptoms indicating a probable positive, the CCHD is alerted. The CCHD investigates all suspected or confirmed reports of COVID-19. This helps the CCHD give guidance to the individuals involved and to the CCIU.
COVID-19 investigations include finding close contacts during the contagious period (contact tracing). Contact tracing helps manage the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future surges of cases. The CCIU will support the contact tracing by providing the CCHD with lists of anyone who was in a classroom, on the bus, etc. with the individual.
If the CCHD finds you or your child are a close contact, they will contact you and provide information including:
- Your last date of exposure, which decides the timeline for quarantine
- Expectations for quarantine
- How to report new or worsening symptoms
- Information about COVID-19
Should a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19, the CCIU will send an email to the staff and families of the impacted building only indicating a potential exposure. To ensure compliance with federal privacy laws, the identity of infected or symptomatic individuals will be shared only with the CCHD, which will determine in a timely manner whether more specific information should be disclosed and to whom such disclosure will be made.
You will be contacted by the Chester County Health Department if you are found to have been in close contact with the individual (less than 6 feet of distance for more than 15 minutes, regardless of face covering). It is the responsibility of the CCHD to make these notifications.
We continue to ask that all staff and students perform a health screening check prior to coming to any CCIU buildings. If individuals detect an elevated temperature or other symptoms consistent with COVID-19 they should remain at home and contact their medical provider for guidance. In addition, if a student or staff member has been in direct contact with a person who has COVID-19, please contact your principal or program supervisor for guidance regarding reporting to school or work. We ask that you cooperate with the CCHD should you be contacted regarding contact tracing efforts.
Thank you again for your continued partnership through these times. I know the 2020-21 school year will have some challenges, but I look forward to overcoming them all together. Please wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing when possible. Together, we will defeat this virus.
Dr. George F. Fiore
Chester County Intermediate Unit