December 3, 2020: Return to In-Person
On Monday, December 7, 2020, the MCIU EI programs will return to offering in person instruction in our school districts and ELA classrooms.
All MCIU therapists who are serving children in parent provided preschools and Ed Sites will return to servicing your children exactly as they were prior to the Thanksgiving break.
The MCIU will continue to work with all of our preschools in addressing any newly identified cases or changes in service delivery. Parents and Guardians will be updated with any needs for changes.
The Information Below is ONLY for services delivered to children in our school districts buildings and The Early Learning Academy. This includes classrooms and Ed sites within the school districts and MCIU buildings.
Moving forward, the county will be following new guidance to determine if a move to virtual instruction by a school or district is necessary. The decision to move to virtual instruction will be made at the local level in collaboration with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health and can be by elicited by one of two scenarios:
1. Linked transmission of cases within a specific school building OR
2. A functional school closure due to insufficient staffing in order to operate the classroom/school.
If a classroom needs to be closed, we will communicate these changes to you. Some of these notifications may occur without much notice. We will do our best to get you the information out as quickly as we can.
Thank you for your continued support.
November 16, 2020: Notice for Virtual Learning
Dear Early Childhood Parents and Guardians,
An increase in COVID-19 positivity rates was anticipated this fall. As predicted, Montgomery County, as well as many parts of Pennsylvania and the U.S., are now seeing an increase in cases.
In an effort to proactively address the potential for school-based transmission, all MCIU operated programs will be following the order of the Montgomery County Office of Public Health (OPH), which has voted to require all schools to move to virtual/remote learning only between November 23 and December 6. This order applies to all students we serve in Montgomery County.
The OPH and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Policy Lab have informed public schools that a short move to virtual instruction is prudent given the surge in rising case counts, the increase in hospitalizations, and in anticipation that families will be gathering and/or traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday. They believe this proactive, two-week move to fully virtual instruction will ultimately give the schools an increased chance at remaining in-person after the holiday. School transmission has been low this year due to strong mitigation efforts such as social distancing, mask wearing, strong hygiene and sanitizing. They have surmised that contact tracing shows most positive cases in school students and staff have originated from events outside of school, such as social gatherings and recreational league sports.
Due to the Early Intervention calendar and previously scheduled breaks, our young learners will only be affected for a short time (3 or 4 days). For our students who attend parent selected preschools, the time periods may vary. Please know that currently only Montgomery County has requested this provision. If your child is attending a preschool outside of Montgomery County, as of now, your child will continue to be seen in person at their preschool.
As always, the safety of our students and staff remains our priority. As we continue to move through a challenging school year, we are relying on the advice and support of local medical experts to help guide our decisions. We depend on the support of our community to provide in-person instruction. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and vigilance with safety (promoting masks, distancing, and hygiene) both in and out of school, as well as the careful monitoring of students for illness in the mornings.
March 27, 2020: Notice for Virtual Learning
During this difficult time, the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 is committed to making a good faith effort to provide continuity of education, planned instruction, and appropriate and reasonable services for students while our preschools/school districts are closed due to COVID-19. One method of doing so is providing instruction and related services, to the extent it is appropriate, through video conferencing and other virtual/online platforms. Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 has made reasonable efforts to ensure that such conferencing is confidential and access is limited to students in the assigned groups. However, some of these services will be provided in a group format and when this occurs students/parents will be able to see other students/parents in the group. In addition, Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 is unable to control who else may be in the room in which a student is receiving these services remotely, including other family members or others who are living with the other students, who may observe the session and what other students are in the group.
Therefore, Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 expects that all families will review and implement the following guidelines and expectations to ensure the confidentiality rights of all students are protected during instructional methodologies which will include group communications, and/or video conferencing.
1. Neither Montgomery County Intermediate Unit 23 nor parent shall make or maintain recordings of the course content or classroom activity or other group communication that is conveyed via the virtual attendance services. Recordings may be maintained of the live classroom instruction with the teacher present in the recording only for students who are unable to receive the instruction during the virtual instruction time period. Students will not be recorded.
2. Parent shall make every effort to ensure that no one other than the student scheduled to participate in a virtual attendance service can see or hear the virtual attendance service.
3. If parental or other third-party involvement in a virtual attendance service is necessary to enable a student to participate, the individual assisting the student shall not re-disclose any personally identifiable information about any student involved in the virtual attendance activity.
4. If the parent’s electronic equipment malfunctions in any way, the planned virtual attendance services will continue as scheduled.
March 25, 2020
On Monday, Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for seven counties in Pennsylvania (Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Monroe, Montgomery, and Philadelphia). In addition, the Department of Education (PDE) announced yesterday that all schools in the commonwealth will remain closed through at least April 6, as a result of the COVID- 19 response efforts. However, due to the established two-week break on the Early Intervention calendar, children will return on April 20, 2020, unless extending the closure is mandated by the Governor.
As stated in my previous letter, the Early Intervention Administrative team has begun working with teachers and therapists in preparing to deliver Tele-Intervention, via Zoom, other online platforms, or via phone. Our target date to begin is Monday, March 30, 2020. We will be spending the remainder of this week, planning and preparing to work with as many students as possible. Please watch for an email or phone call from your child’s teacher and /or therapist(s) providing scheduling information and details about this shift.
I ask you to please be patient as Tele-Intervention is a new endeavor for many of our staff. It will require hands-on support and involvement from you, as the parent. While we may be physically distant, your gracious emails have been evidence of the support from your homes. Through this closure, please know that we will continue to keep the community informed and continue to make resources available on our website.
One amazing new resource that we have available is a video that could be used as a Social Story or Informational Resource for you to use with your children. Mrs. Ashley Lee teamed up with PTS (one of our preferred contractors) to develop the attached resource, which aims at explaining COVID-19 to our youngest learners. You will find that link here…Corona Virus Social Story a resource and for reference in using the Zoom platform.
Understandably, this is a great deal to digest, but we will get through these challenging times together. We look forward to beginning this new endeavor with you and your child
Holly W. Acosta, Ed.D.
Director of Early Childhood