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Feb. 18, 2022, Health and Safety Update
Feb. 18, 2022, Health and Safety Update

LMSD Health and Safety Update

Dear LMSD Families,

In recent weeks, we have heard from a number of parents and guardians who want to know when masks will become optional in our schools. Our answer has been consistent: LMSD continues to follow the guidance of the Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH), which is the public health authority for our community. As our dashboard illustrates, the number of cases of COVID-19 in our District has dropped significantly in the past two weeks and, as a result, our Health and Safety Team is resuming its pre-Omicron discussions regarding off-ramps from our current mitigation protocols.

Masking

Changing our current masking protocols requires a measured approach. Our community members have many different viewpoints, which the District's Health and Safety Team must consider. In consideration of those perspectives, the Health and Safety Team is working towards a pathway to a "mask recommended/encouraged" environment, beginning with lifting the mandate for outdoor masking. Given that the District is not a public health authority, we will continue to seek review from MCOPH and CHOP's PolicyLab with respect to any changes we propose.

Any proposal will first be shared with the Superintendent and the Lower Merion Board of School Directors, then with the larger community. An update on this process will be shared with the Board at their 8:00 p.m. meeting Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

Communications

In recognition of the lower case counts and changes in contact-tracing guidance, beginning March 1, 2022, LMSD Health Services will discontinue the practice of notifying everyone in a school community about every reported case of COVID-19. Emails will be sent to staff and families in an impacted grade only if there is evidence of in-school transmission or an outbreak (two or more linked cases) in a class, grade or activity. Case count information will continue to be updated on the LMSD COVID-19 dashboard.

Planning for Spring

Also, in recognition of hoped-for improvements to the COVID-19 situation, our principals and HSAs are optimistically planning for more "normal" end-of-year activities across the District. Proms and graduations for our seniors, Junior Olympics, promotion ceremonies for 4th, 5th and 8th graders, etc. We are making these plans knowing that a new variant, other change in the public health conditions or operational challenges could impact the plans.

Collectively, we (administrators, teachers, staff, students and families) are all anxious to return to our pre-pandemic "normal." Certainly, the availability of vaccines is an important step in getting us there. But as a school district committed to meeting the needs of all students, we must recognize that we have both students and staff who are immunocompromised. We also have a significant number of students, especially in elementary schools, who are not yet vaccinated. And while we hope none of those children who may become infected will become seriously ill, we have to consider the health of the adults who teach and work with them as well.

We appreciate your ongoing support as we navigate through these challenges together. Best wishes for a safe and relaxing long weekend.

Sincerely,

Khalid N. Mumin, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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