FRANCONIA — Souderton Area School District's West Broad Street Elementary School has moved to all virtual classes for two weeks after at least three positive cases were documented at the school.
An announcement on the school's website, signed by Superintendent Frank Gallagher, says the Montgomery County Office of Public Health directed the move for the two weeks of Friday, Sept. 18 through Thursday, Oct. 1.
“While this information is concerning, the Office of Public Health assures us this move should mitigate transmission,” Gallagher wrote.
Students or staff who were in direct contact with one of the COVID-19 positive individuals are being contacted by the school and/or Montgomery County Office of Public Health, he wrote.
“Students and staff from West Broad are encouraged to follow strict social distancing and to wear masks in public while the school building is closed,” he wrote. “Parents and staff members are also encouraged to monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and to follow up with their healthcare provider with questions and concerns.”
The posting also included a link to information on Montgomery County testing places.
During the two weeks that the building is closed, the West Broad Street students will have virtual learning the same as during at-home hybrid days, the information said.
“The school will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized,” Gallagher wrote.
“Again, we understand the concern this news may cause. The Montgomery County Office of Public Health is closely monitoring school reopenings across the county, and has told us that some positive cases are expected as students and staff return to buildings. Officials have firm guidelines in place for when schools should close to prevent transmission. We will continue to follow their guidance, and will reinforce with students and staff the importance of following all safety protocols (including wearing masks and maintaining six feet of social distancing) while in and out of school,” he wrote.
There are no new updates to the initial posting, Gallagher wrote in response to an emailed question on Monday, Sept. 21.
The Souderton Area School District started the year with three weeks of hybrid classes, followed by a scheduled Sept. 29 start of five day a week in-class learning for students signed up for that option. About 4,610 students were signed up for the in-person classes. About 1,620 district students are taking all their classes online through the Souderton Area Online Academy.