October 29, 2020

Dear Harbor Families,

I suppose, as a COVID silver lining, we have all become scientists and statisticians. I’ve certainly been using my minor in mathematics more often this year! 

As we hear more about the virus surge in many parts of the world and country, our Health and Safety Committee is closely watching what the virus is doing in our area. Based on CDC and Maryland guidance for schools, the key metrics that we are monitoring are:

  • Percent positivity rate - This is the ratio of positive cases detected per test given. A positivity rate below the threshold of 5% is an indication of lower community spread.

  • Number of new cases per 100,000 - This represents new reported cases per 100,000 residents and is usually reported as an average of 7 or 14 days. When this number is in the range of 10-15 per day, it represents a more concerning community spread.

  • Rate of change - If the metrics above increase 1.5% or 2 per 100,000 over a period of 2 weeks, this is an indication of higher community transmission.

  • Rt Factor (Time Varying Reproduction Number) - This measures the transmission rate, or number of new infections that one infected person transmits. Keeping this under 1 is the goal to prevent exponential growth.

The CDC has defined levels of risks for in-person schools based on a number of metric thresholds. We are closely monitoring the percent positivity and number of cases per 100,000 and considering the whole picture that these and other reported metrics in our area suggest. These considerations are balanced, as the CDC chart indicates, with the level of vigilance of our in-person plan, and ability to meet recommended safety guidance. 

Our robust plan and the small size of our community allows us to stay the course for in-person learning for longer than most larger institutions; however, there may be a time when we need to make the pivot to distance learning. We are not there now, and will continue to savor every in-person day!

Finally, although our in-school safety measures are essential, the best thing each of us can do to protect all of us in our community is to practice vigilance in our personal lives. If you haven’t had a look at it in a while, please review the Community Wellness Pledge that each family signed at the beginning of the school year and ensure that you are following it closely. In addition, with the holiday season approaching, it is imperative that each of us follow CDC recommendations regarding travel in order to keep us all safe. Our policy on travel and out of town guests is articulated below.

We will keep you informed as we continue to monitor metrics. And as always, please feel free to join us for a parent coffee on a Thursday morning for further discussion on this or other topics!

Warm regards,

Leah Musico
Head of School

Harbor School