Philadelphia’s health department no longer recommends personal learning breaks for urban schools – CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Health Department changes COVID-19 guidelines for schools. The health department says it is an attempt to keep schools open for personal instruction.

“Today we will publish new guidelines for the city’s schools,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole.

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A major change in the way the Philadelphia Health Department will handle temporary school closures in the city due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

The school district was sent a letter outlining the changes.

“Given the current widespread community transmission occurring at this time, we will no longer use sing-case numbers to determine when to pause personal learning,” Bettigole said. “Instead, students will continue personal learning unless staff absence due to COVID-19 isolation or quarantine requires a temporary break.”

The city had used measurements and case counts to determine if a school would have to put personal learning on pause. At the beginning of the pandemic, a school that sees 3% of its population with dispersal in the school community would be put on pause. It has risen to 10% in recent months.

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Now, with increasing COVID-19 cases due to the highly transferable omicron variant, the same measurements will no longer be used.

Health officials also deviate from the CDC’s shortened five-day isolation period for those who have had the virus, saying many older school buildings in Philadelphia may not make it safe enough to return within that time frame.

“By adapting this guide to Philadelphia, returning after five days is unnecessarily risky for many schools,” Bettigole said. “Unfortunately, schools in Philadelphia suffer from an unfair and unfair state funding formula, which means that many of the mitigation layers that the CDC recommends cannot be achieved at all schools.”

In schools that can not provide mitigating factors such as proper ventilation, contact tracking, safe social distance, testing and strict masking, a 10-day isolation period will still be required.

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These changes will take effect immediately, so these are the guidelines that schools will now use in the future.

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