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UPSD Approves Updated Health and Safety Plan
2022-01-19

            The Upper Perkiomen School Board voted last week to approve an updated Health and Safety Plan that loosens restrictions on excluding students from in-person learning. Members Raeann Hofkin and Keith McCarrick voted against the motion that implements a "mask to stay" program for students.

            Under the new program, which commenced this week, students and staff who are exposed to COVID-19 in school or in the community, and who are asymptomatic, will be allowed to continue to attend school with required mask-wearing at all times, when around other people, for ten days after the date of exposure. Those close contacts will also be required to test one time between days four and six after the exposure, according to the guidance language.

            It also states that if an individual cannot wear a well-fitted mask at all times during that 10-day time period, or refuses to test, the exposed individual cannot participate in "Mask to Stay" (MTS) and must complete standard quarantine.

            Assistant Superintendent Andrea Farina described the new guidance issued by the Montgomery County Health Department as counterintuitive. She said during the Jan. 13 meeting that students deemed as close contacts will be required to wear their facemasks during all extracurricular activities for 10 days.

            Individuals who develop symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive in the new program are directed to isolate. Those who do not participate will be required to quarantine for 10 days in accordance with the county health department's standard requirements, included with the meeting agenda posted on the district's website.

            Vaccinated people will continue to be exempt from contact tracing so long as they are asymptomatic, according to Farina. She said the bulk of the plan is similar to the version approved by the board in September.

            Masks will remain mandatory for anyone inside the school buildings. Administrators will recommend maintaining the policy so long as the district has a high or substantial level of transmission, according to Superintendent Allyn Roche. He said during the meeting that the district has been in the high category over the last eight weeks.

            The district has the authority to determine a masking policy, noted Solicitor Kyle J. Somers.

            The county and the Pennsylvania Department of Health set the standards for quarantining students, stated board President Judith Maginnis. "We have no say in setting a quarantine policy," she said.


 

 

 

 

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