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February 10, 2021
I am writing to inform you that an individual at Upper Merion Area Schools received a positive test result for COVID-19 on February 9, 2021. The individual was last present in Upper Merion Area Schools, including all Elementary Buildings and Upper Merion Middle School on February 5, 2021.
The Montgomery County Office of Public Health has partnered with Upper Merion Area School District to identify and notify students or employees who may have had close contact with this confirmed case. All close contacts have been notified and advised to quarantine for a prescribed period of time.
Upper Merion Area School District takes steps to clean and disinfect those parts of its facility that this case may have had contact with in order to stop the spread of the disease.
At this time, school will continue to operate as planned for all in person students and any new information will be communicated as it becomes available.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose and mouth of an infected person. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
Those who may have been exposed should be monitored for symptoms. Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19, including difficulty breathing, diarrhea, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell.
Director of Student Services
Upper Merion Area School District
February 10, 2021
I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and well. I wanted to reach out to you to provide information related directly to COVID-19 vaccinations and how we, as a school district, will do our best to accommodate our staff members throughout this process. At this time, Montgomery County is allowing vaccinations for teachers/staff members who fit into the Phase 1A category. Our remaining staff members who did not fit into the 1A category will be vaccinated in the Phase 1B category which we hope will be happening in the near future.
With all of that being said, please note that each time the vaccine becomes available, the school district will provide release time for the teacher/staff member to receive their shot. Unfortunately, sometimes this is on short notice. Needless to say, the health and wellness of our staff and students is of highest importance, and the quicker we can get people vaccinated, the sooner we can maintain consistent routines in school. Despite our best efforts, our district, as well as the surrounding districts, are struggling to locate substitute teachers to cover classes when a staff member is out for their vaccine. As a result, we have limited personnel available to provide appropriate supervision and social distancing in school during times in which there are multiple staff members absent. Accordingly, we have established the procedures outlined below so as to allow for the vaccine to be provided to our staff when it becomes available:
Staff Vaccine Process and Communication:
- Teachers will sign up for a date and time on the county website for the first vaccination shot as soon as available.
- Teacher will inform the School Building Principal of the date and each building principal will monitor the dates and times of the vaccinations in order to keep me apprised of the need for a potential closure of one or more buildings.
- Depending on the available appointments as well as the staff member’s reaction to the vaccine, this may result in a rolling functional shutdown(s) of one or more buildings which will result in students working from home asynchronously on academic work provided by their classroom teacher.
- This process will repeat for the second dose as well. Furthermore, depending on the reaction to the second dose, teachers and other staff members who have received the second dose of vaccine may need additional time to recover, thus potentially resulting in the use of additional asynchronous student days as needed.
We are aware of the inconvenience this plan causes to families and we will do our absolute best to avoid any unnecessary asynchronous days. However, we also know that vaccinations for our teachers/staff are an invaluable tool to stop the spread of COVID-19 and return to our traditional school routines. I am asking for your continued patience during these unprecedented times.
As a reminder, we ask that you closely follow the precautionary measures regarding sending your child to school (see below) as we value our partnership with families as we navigate through this pandemic.
Symptom Screening and Monitoring
- Students should stay home if:
Group A: 1 or more symptomsGroup B: 2 or more symptomsFever (100.4 or higher)
- Have one or more symptoms in Group A OR
- Have two or more symptoms in Group B OR
- Have a fever or are taking fever-reducing medication.
Shortness of Breath
New loss of smell New loss of tasteChills
Myalgia (muscle aches)
Congestion or runny nose
- Stay home if you have had a Positive COVID-19 Test.
- Stay home if a parent, guardian, sibling, or other household contact is sick and has had a Positive COVID-19 Test.
- Stay home if you have traveled to any state with high COVID-19 rates. An accurate list of these states can be found at the following link: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Travelers.aspx
- Inform your school principal of your family’s situation. We look forward to working with you and navigating next steps together.
See Montgomery County Department of Health's COVID-19 School Exclusion Requirements and other COVID -19 resources on the district website using the following link: https://www.umasd.org/Page/11473
I thank you for your support and understanding during these difficult times.
Dr. John A. Toleno
Superintendent of Schools