As of Wednesday, November 11th, winter sports have been on a hard pause.  No events have been held on campus.

Monday evening, November 23rd will be the next decision about the future of winter sports for Lopes athletes. The board will review COVID numbers to discuss if events should remain on pause or not.
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On Saturday afternoon, Dr. Ralston sent the following message to the community regarding COVID related challenges for the school district:

Dear Avonworth School Community,

During the week of November 16, 2020, two positive COVID cases were identified in the District.  Both of these cases were individuals from the Primary Center.  All close contacts have been identified and contacted.

While we have pivoted to virtual learning, we ask that families continue to be in touch with our school nurses to report any positive cases of COVID-19, as well as to report individuals that have been identified as close contacts outside of school.  It is important that the District continues to have accurate and up-to-date COVID-related data that may impact the District.

We also want to encourage all members of our school community to continue to be vigilant with taking precautionary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.  The following quotes were taken from a recent article in the Trib Live, which emphasizes important measures we need to be taking to help limit the spread and protect ourselves and each other.

“If communities are unable to effectively isolate patients and ensure contacts can separate themselves from others, the rapid spread of covid-19 is likely to increase, likely to the point that strict mitigation strategies will again be needed to contain the virus,” Huff said.

They again encouraged the use of the Covid Alert PA mobile contact tracing app, and pleaded with residents to cooperate and be honest with investigators.

“You might save a life by being honest about who you were with and the places you had visited,” Levine said.

Our Administration continues to monitor data related to COVID-19 in our county, local municipalities, and school district.  As presented in the data below, the rapidly worsening conditions around COVID-19 are evident in the county and our immediate communities.  Officials at the Allegheny County Department of Health (ACHD) have indicated that most transmission of the virus is occurring through social gatherings (parties, sleepovers, carpooling).  The ACHD has identified Halloween parties/gatherings as a source of the recent spike in positive COVID cases and concern for the potential of an even greater increase in COVID-19 transmission occurring over Thanksgiving.   During the upcoming holiday week, it is important to follow the daily preventative measures (COVID-19 symptom checks, wearing masks, sanitizing, distancing) that we know to mitigate the spread of the virus.

As we head toward the Thanksgiving break next week, significant concerns exist with respect to behavior and travel.  A new order from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Secretary of Health went into effect on Friday, November 20, 2020.  This order requires anyone traveling to another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering back into Pennsylvania or to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving back in Pennsylvania.  When students return to our buildings, the District requires that this order is followed by any family that travels outside of Pennsylvania as long as this order is in effect.  Students needing to quarantine for 14 days will have their absences marked as excused absences.

As a school community, it takes everyone to do their part to limit high-risk behaviors that can lead to the transmission of and the exposure of others to COVID-19.  The greatest risks are when people of any age do not engage in the most important mitigation efforts (distancing, masks, and washing hands often).  Our collective, community-wide effort with respect to these mitigation efforts is critical to what happens in our schools.

A recent panel discussion featuring medical experts from Allegheny County and the State provided important information regarding COVID-19 and reinforced the behaviors we need to engage in to limit the spread.  We hope you will take the time to review the panel discussion (link provided below).

Partners in Care: A Conversation Series with the Pennsylvania Pediatric Health Network and Community Partners Panel Discussion

Below are the current data for cases of COVID-19.

Allegheny County Data (source)

County

The difference in confirmed cases (most recent 7 days vs previous 7 days)

Incidence rate (most recent 7 days) per 100K residents

PCR percent positivity (most recent 7 days)

The difference in the average daily number of COVID-19 hospitalizations

The difference in the average daily number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators

Percent of hospital emergency department visits in the most recent 7 days due to COVID-like illness

Allegheny

+862

211.9

9%

+111.4

+13.5

0.8%

Avonworth School District Zip Codes (source)

Criteria/Date

11/15

11/16

11/17

11/18

11/19

11/20

Incident Rate/100K

182.79

201.07

194.97

223.00

233.97

233.97

PCR Positivity %

20.60%

20.00%

20.81%

21.21%

21.38%

22.20%

Level of Community Transmission

Substantial

Substantial

Substantial

Substantial

Substantial

Substantial

Current Avonworth School District

ASD COVID-19 Tracker

The Avonworth School District will continue to utilize the guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education in consideration of our response when there are cases of COVID-19 in our schools and for the determination of instructional models.  We will also consult with the Department of Health regarding cases and appropriate measures that should be taken.  Please refer to the links to the tables for more information regarding these recommendations.

Pennsylvania Department of Education – Determining Instructional Models During the Pandemic

Pennsylvania Department of Education – Recommendations Following the Identification of COVID-19 Cases in Schools

We thank you in advance for the efforts you are taking to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our school community.  Please have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday!

With kindest regards,

Thomas W. Ralston, Ed. D.

Superintendent

Here is a link to the board agenda: Nov 23rd board agenda

Many student athletes have been very concerned about the future of the season, and are longing to get back to playing the sports they love. When asked about whether or not he was worried about the future of the basketball season, freshman Samuel Neal said, “Yes, because winter sports may not happen and I am looking forward to basketball. Also, since the winter sports are inside, they may not allow very many spectators.”

— UPDATE: 
From 11/23 board meeting: Athletics will return to play on Nov. 30th in a modified capacity and with increased regulations and the elimination of multi-team events and tournaments.  Andrea Patton and coaches are working on a Facility Athletics Plan that will allow play, practice and safe competition, but also ensure our athletes are following increased guidelines and mandates.

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