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Quakertown School Board Updates Health and Safety Plan
Written by Jennifer Frieze, Correspondent
2022-01-12

            The health and safety plan was again on the agenda at the Quakertown Community School board meeting last Thursday night. It has been on the table for several months and the multiple revisions have sparked controversy.

            By an 8-1 vote, the length of quarantine in the Health & Safety Plan was amended. Whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 must remain isolated at home for a minimum of three days from onset. If symptoms resolve and there is no fever for 24 hours, then the individual may return to school/work.  However, they must wear a mask through the seventh day from onset. No mask exemptions are honored under this revision.

            In another discussion of the Health and Safety plan, a motion was made to amend the administration section. If there is evidence of a potential COVID-19 spread within the school, the Bucks County Health Department will advise if further mitigation strategies should be taken.

            "Targeted Temporary Mitigation" (TTM) strategies might include, but are not limited to, physical distancing, temporary masking, cleaning/disinfecting, and virtual learning. These strategies will be targeted at the concerned classrooms, groups, or schools/district buildings where the potential spread of COVID-19 is of concern. These strategies will be temporary. It will end when the potential spread of the virus expires, or as directed by the Bucks County Health Department. The motion passed 5-4.

            Another amendment to the administration section addresses close contact exposure. If a QCSD student, employee, or guest is exposed to someone who has a known positive case of COVID-19, regardless of the level of exposure, the student, employee, or visiting guest is to remain home for a minimum of three days from onset. If symptoms clear and they are without a fever for 24 hours, they will be able to return to school/work. However, they must wear a mask through the seventh day. Mask exemptions are not honored. If asymptomatic, regardless of the level of exposure, the student, employee, or visiting guest is able to continue to come to school so long as they remain asymptomatic. The motion passed 7-2.

            Another revision was made in regard to contact tracing. The school district will not perform contact tracing. In the event that any student, staff member, or visitor has been identified as a close contact by any health authority, regardless of how contact occurred, they are encouraged to monitor for symptoms and may return to class, work or visitations as long as they remain symptom-free and are not placed under official quarantine orders from any health authority. The motion passed 7-2.

            During public comment, several residents expressed concern in regard to the Health and Safety plan.

            Stephanie Lombo, of Milford Township, told the board that she regrets moving to the district and placing her son's education in the hands of the current administration. She labeled two administrators "corrupt" and "abusive" and encouraged people to investigate why the superintendent left his last job. She found it highly suspicious that records are sealed in regard to why he left his last position as superintendent. She accused the new school board president of "continu[ing] the corruption".

            Jennifer Granger, of Richland Township, told the board that she feels the virtual learning has become an "unfortunate trend" and if virtual learning persists, she will pull both of her children from the school.

            Before the close of the meeting, former president Kaylyn Mitchell expressed her gratitude to the board as well as her concern for students, parents and the community. She explained that in her experience as a former board member and as a parent dealing with the pandemic, there will always be a variant and that children are impacted locally.

"Kids are facing the brunt of a virus that affects them the least. We are seeing learning loss and mental health issues at an unprecedented rate. The reason I'm out here is to remind you that you are the voice of so many in this community that are begging you to do what is right for their kids," said Mitchell.

            In the last 40 seconds of her time, Mitchell directed her comments to President Jonathan Kern. "Mr. Kern, you know I respect you so much. I know how much you believe in liberty and freedom and how you represent this community and how much you know it's important for our kids to remain in person. I want to ask you to continue to look through things with a lens of what is best for our community and not necessarily what is going to bring the most harmony," she said.  

            Residents can find all documents online. Videos can be watched on YouTube.


 

 

 

 

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