Where Montgomery County school districts fall within the new recommendations from the state

On August 10th, Pennsylvania’s Department of Education released guidance for school districts titled “Recommendations for Pre-K to 12 Schools in Determining Instructional Models.” This document pointed to two data points school districts should use to determine what options it could give parents in regards to in-school and/or virtual instruction.

The above chart from the Pennsylvania Department of Education directs districts to examine the incidence rate per 100,000 residents and percent positivity (PCR) over the most recent seven days.

Based on the current data, Montgomery County has a PCR of 2.5% and falls within the “low” level of transmission. However for the incidence rate, the county falls within the “intermediate” level of transmission.

If a district in Montgomery County were to strictly follow these recommendations, it would offer a blended model (most districts refer to this as a hybrid model) and fully virtual model. The state defines the models as follows:

  • Full In-person Model: School is open each day with in-person instruction for all students (with some students/staff in a remote setting as health and safety concerns require).
  • Blended (Hybrid) Learning Model: Any model in which the number of students in a school building is reduced to allow for social distancing of 6 feet. This may be accomplished in many ways, including split schedules, schedules that rotate by day or week, or similar approaches. For these recommendations, blended learning also includes scaffolded approaches that treat grade levels in a differentiated manner.
  • Full Remote Learning Model: Any model in which all students engage in all learning remotely.

One issue though is that this recommendation was released after most districts made their decisions (and some even had time to reverse their previous decision).

In the districts covered by MoreThanTheCurve.com, AroundAmbler.com, and GlensideLocal.com, the current situation in each district is as follows:

Colonial School District’s board voted 9-0 on July 23rd to offer parents a choice between a hybrid (in-school two days/virtual three days) or a fully virtual model. On August 6th, the board voted 6-3 to reverse that decision and switched to only offer a virtual model.

Wissahickon School District’s board voted 6-3 on July 23rd to offer parents of younger children (kindergarten to 5th) the option for in-school instruction five days a week or fully virtual. Parents of kids in sixth grade and up have the choice between a hybrid or a fully virtual model. On August 6th, the board voted 6-3 to not change its plan to fully virtually.

Upper Dublin School District’s board voted 7-1 (one absent) on July 27th on requirements for in-school instruction, however, also took a vote that was 7-1 (one absent) to delay any in-school instruction until the week of November 8th. It is only offering a fully virtual model.

Abington School District’s board is set to consider on August 11th a fully virtual instructional delivery model with a re-evaluation to return to school after Thanksgiving.

Cheltenham School District’s board voted unanimously on August 3rd to reopen school 100 percent virtual.

The Jenkintown School District administration is currently proposing a choice for parents between a 100% virtual model and a hybrid model. The board will vote on a definitive model(s) at its meeting on August 17th.

The Springfield School District’s final recommendation for its reopening plan will be announced on the afternoon of August 11th. The next board meeting is August 18th.

More to come. Let us know what you think in the comments.