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Dorchester County Public Schools

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Superintendent's Press Release

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An Open Letter to the Dorchester County Public Schools Community 12-09-2020

9 December 2020

An Open Letter to the Dorchester County Public Schools Community

Dear Dorchester County Public Schools Community,

Dorchester County Public Schools will remain at its present status next week, December 14 through December 18, 2020. Those small groups now in school buildings will continue attending in-person but we will still not be moving to Phase 1.5 at this time.

Over the past week, the county’s testing positivity rate has hovered around 5%, with some days under that benchmark figure, while some days were over. Although the positivity rate, along with the new case rate per 100,000 population, are core indicators as to whether schools should open or close, they are NOT meant to be “hard and fast” determinants, as State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon reminded the State Board of Education earlier this week.

These figures are indicators, or guidelines. There are additional metric indicators that Dorchester County Chief Health Officer, Roger Harrell and I also review when considering whether schools should open for staff and how many children can be safely accommodated. These indicators include trends, as determined by the percentage change in new cases per 100,000 population over a period of time, available hospital capacity, whether the data is driven by a very localized outbreak, and the extent to which mitigation strategies are followed in the broader community. Since last Wednesday’s update, indicators in Dorchester County have remained relatively steady, among the lowest on the Eastern Shore.

Additionally, please understand, that if numbers were to drastically change in a positive or negative direction, I will act in the best interest of the community, students, and staff to keep everyone safe.

While this takes us to the holiday break, please note that I will be making an additional announcement next Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at 3pm to review our return plans for the new year.

Please review the attached link which Mr. Harrell uses judicially on his recommendations to me for staff and students returning to school.

CDC-Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making,https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/indicators.html

Please stay safe!

W. David Bromwell

Superintendent of Schools

Dorchester County