Dashboard Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The district’s COVID-19 Dashboard is updated daily, and we continue to work closely with and follow the guidance of the PA Department of Health. We communicate with you regularly regarding each new case that is confirmed so that all families and staff are aware of the status of our schools. Please see the FAQs below for more information about the COVID-19 Dashboard and information provided regularly to our community.
What numbers are reported on the District’s COVID Dashboard?
The number of positive cases and probable cases of COVID-19 that have been reported to the school district and confirmed by the PA Department of Health. This Dashboard also includes the number of cases year-to-date. The confirmed positive and probable cases by building are within a 14-day rolling period.
I know some faculty/students who are on quarantine but it’s not on the Dashboard. Why?
We do not track the number of individuals under quarantine on the COVID Dashboard. Confirmed positive and probable cases reported on the Dashboard are those cases that occur with our faculty/staff or student population that have an impact on our schools in terms of exposures to others in the building. If a staff member or student is exposed to COVID-19 outside of school and is quarantining as a result, the case is not reported through our Dashboard (unless the individual becomes symptomatic) because it does not have an impact on our school. If the individual becomes symptomatic, then this is considered a probable case, and depending on details in the case investigation, may be reported in the Active Probable Column. The overall total could change as test results from probable cases are received and determined to be negative, meaning a probable case is no longer considered active and close contacts no longer need to quarantine.
Why does the Dashboard show zero active cases when the District reports cases each day?
All positive and probable cases are reflected on the Dashboard in either the Active Confirmed Positive or Active Probable columns (if there was building exposure), or added to the Year-to-Date totals for each building if there was no building exposure. In some positive or probable cases, there was either no building exposure, or the last date the individual(s) were in the building was before a recent school closing/extended weekend/holiday break. When a building or school is closed for three or more days, the Department of Health guidelines state that the active positive and probable case count resets to zero for their tracking purposes. An example is if our buildings are closed for an extended weekend or holiday break, the Dashboard number of Active Positives and Probables reset to zero because the district was provided the additional time for continued cleaning and disinfecting, thus resetting the case count. In these specific circumstances, cases are added to the Year-to-Date totals and not to the Active columns.
Why don’t we hear about confirmed positive cases right away?
The district sends out a daily notification of positive and/or probable cases every day, unless there are no cases to report for that day. Once we are notified of a possible positive COVID-19 case, the district works with the school administrators, nurses, and faculty/staff to provide the Department of Health with information so the case can be confirmed, and we can begin contact tracing and communicating with any possible exposures regarding both the case and the quarantines required. Our administrators also contact any parents/guardians of students as well as any faculty/staff who may have been exposed to notify them directly before the Department of Health contacts them.
After all of these communications have occurred, we update our Dashboard and email our daily COVID notification to our families with confirmation of new cases since the last update.
Do we automatically close when we reach a certain number of cases?
The PA Department of Health/PA Department of Education offers guidance for school districts that provides a detailed look at the number of COVID cases in the school buildings related to size, and how to address the need for temporary school closure and cleaning. The guidance provides recommendations specific to small school buildings (under 500 students), medium (500-900 students) and large buildings (over 900 students) in regards to the number of cases in the buildings and when to close buildings for thorough cleaning.
- K-4 buildings (Brecht, Bucher, Neff, Nitrauer, Reidenbaugh, Schaeffer) are considered “small” buildings under these guidelines and the range is 2-4 cases.
- LRIS, MS, and MTHS are considered “large” buildings under these guidelines and the range is 6-10 cases.
The recommendation is to consider a short-term closure if cases are within the range specific to the school. Staffing shortages can also trigger a short-term closure with a switch to remote learning. We review the data and recommendations many times throughout the day, and remain dedicated to keeping our faculty, staff, families, and students informed of any changes to our normal operations with as much notice as possible.
The PA Department of Health/PA Department of Education guidance includes information on case investigation, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine, and provides protocols for what schools should do when a student or staff present symptoms of COVID-19 but are not a confirmed case. They also note that if case investigations, contact tracing, and cleaning and disinfecting can be accomplished in less time (than specified in the guidance), the length of closure time may be shortened.
Why was a school closed due to a staffing shortage, but the COVID-19 Dashboard shows zero staff quarantined or Active Positive/Probable cases in that school?
Confirmed positive cases reported on the Dashboard are those that occur with our faculty/staff or student population that have an impact on our schools in terms of exposures to others in school or the need to quarantine others who may have been exposed at school. If a staff member or student is exposed to COVID-19 outside of school and is quarantining as a result, the case is not reported on our Dashboard because it does not have an impact on our school. In addition, individuals who are quarantining due to travel are not listed in the COVID Dashboard.
There may be staff absent due to personal (outside-of-school exposures with no impact on students or staff) or other illness or reasons. We are bound to follow certain social distancing and health and safety guidelines as a requirement of staying open for in-person instruction at this time. If we do not have the staff to ensure these guidelines are followed appropriately, we may need to close the school for one day or more until we are able to hold in-person instruction with the required protocols in place.