NORRISTOWN — The Montgomery County Office of Public Health released recommendations Monday for COVID-19 prevention in K-to-12 schools for the 2021-22 school year.
The county's public health office, in collaboration with Montgomery County school superintendents, developed these recommendations to prevent COVID-19 transmission in the school environment for the upcoming school year, according to a press release announcing the guidelines.
“The health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff, and ensuring our kids get the instruction they need, are top priorities heading into the school year," said Montgomery County Commissioners' Chairwoman Val Arkoosh. "These recommendations from the Montgomery County Office of Public Health are intended to give school boards, superintendents, and parents guidance so they can make the best decisions for their communities and their families.”
“This guidance supports in-person education, is based on the most current and accurate data available, and stresses the importance of vaccination for those who are eligible along with a multi-layered prevention strategy," she continued.
The school recommendations include four levels of guidance for masking and COVID-19 testing based on the school district level of community transmission.
The new school recommendations also include prevention strategies on the promotion of the COVID-19 vaccine, recommending staff and students stay home when sick, and guidance on physical distancing. It also provides updates on ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and disinfection, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine.
To keep school districts and residents updated on COVID-19 community transmission, the county has launched a new section with school district-level data on its COVID-19 data hub. To find this data, navigate to the "Incidence and Positivity" heading and select "District" under "COVID-19 Rates by School District/Municipality." This section will be updated weekly on Wednesdays.
“We have reviewed all of the current guidance from all relevant public health authorities to make these new recommendations and will continue to follow the data,” said Dr. Richard Lorraine, medical director with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health. “It is important to acknowledge that in making these recommendations, we are reviewing all of the potential effects, both positive and negative, of the proposed mitigation strategies. In addition, being able to provide this local school district-level data is key to inform decision-makers at the local level.”
For more information, residents can visit the county’s school guidance page at www.montcopa.org/schoolguidance.