The vote was originally scheduled for Thursday morning.
If they vote to do so, all schools K-12 in the county would go 100% virtual with the expectation that hybrid learning would resume on December 6.
On Thursday, health officials held a zoom call that allowed for public comment. More than 500 participants tuned in to watch.
“I just can’t even imagine telling the children that they can’t be in school because I’ll cry and I know that they will so if you just keep that in mind,” said Sister Mary Catherine Chapman of Queen of Angels School in Willow Grove.
During the more than 2-hour public comment portion of the meeting, dozens of parents were begging health officials to allow school districts to make their own decisions.
Some parents argue that COVID hasn’t rampantly spread between school students and the drawbacks are more severe than the advantages.
“I can guarantee you that my son and his future will suffer if you do this, and that’s reality,” said Kaitlin Derstine, a parent.
That’s how how Sarah Parmer feels. Her 6-year-old daughter, Luna, has autism and goes to a specialized school.
“Please don’t make this a one-size fits all decision, because it not,” said Parmer.
One Montgomery County school district isn’t waiting for this afternoon’s vote.
The Methacton School District has alerted parents that all students will shift to virtual learning starting on Monday, and continuing through December 6.
Doctor David Rubin, the Director of Policy lab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said that middle and high school students are seeing more COVID-19 spread.
“The rates of infections are much higher in kids in middle and high school there surpassing the rates of either in young adults right now,” said Rubin.
He said traveling sports contribute to spread the virus, and schools should consider the benefits and drawbacks for virtual education depending on age range and specialized therapies if needed.
“There could be a bridge plan. You keep your elementary kids going and you keep your special needs kids in school as well because that’s really important. Then, you think about it, you could do a strategy where you keep your middle schoolers and high schoolers on virtual through the holiday season,” said Rubin.
Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, issued a statement Thursday saying in part: “The goal of this two-week return to 100% virtual education, which includes the Thanksgiving holiday and for most students equates to 8 days of virtual learning, is to help ensure that students, teachers and staff exposed to COVID-19 over the holiday have a week to learn that they have been exposed while still at home and out of the school environment. The success of this effort will hinge on all involved saying no to private social gatherings. I want to make clear that the goal of this proposed order is to increase the chances that in person school will be able to continue. By reducing the number of individuals who come to school with the coronavirus we maximize the chances that the excellent work that schools have been doing to limit in school transmission will continue to be successful.”
The meeting was held the same day Pennsylvania reported its highest daily increase of positive COVID-19 cases.
On Thursday, the Department of Health confirmed 5,488 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 248,856.
The number of tests administered within the last 7 days between November 5 and November 11 is 331,492 with 25,702 positive cases. There were 50,997 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., November 11. This is a record high number of PCR test results reported to the department, officials said.
The department reported 49 new deaths. The total number of deaths in Pennsylvania attributed to COVID-19 stands at 9,194.
There are 7,189 individuals who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 645 individuals who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure.
There are 2,506,649 individuals who have tested negative to date.
Of those who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:
– Approximately 1% are ages 0-4;
– Approximately 2% are ages 5-12;
– Approximately 5% are ages 13-18;
– Nearly 13% are ages 19-24;
– Approximately 36% are ages 25-49;
– Approximately 21% are ages 50-64; and
– Approximately 20% are ages 65 or older.
There are 2,080 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 438 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. More data is available here.
The department has seen significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds.
In nursing and personal care homes, there are 28,142 resident cases of COVID-19, and 5,932 cases among employees, for a total of 34,077 at 1,126 distinct facilities in 63 counties. Out of the total deaths, 5,922 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.
Approximately 13,202 of our total cases are among health care workers.
Delaware, Montgomery counties sounding alarm on COVID-19 surge
Officials in Montgomery and Delaware counties are sounding the alarm on COVID-19, warning that the surge is putting a strain on the hospital system.
Ivy League is canceling winter sports for the 2020-21 season
The Ivy League is canceling winter sports for the 2020-21 season. The conference is also postponing spring sports until at least the end of February and won’t conduct competition for fall sports during the spring semester.
Students in the Philadelphia region should go all-virtual starting next week, CHOP PolicyLab says
Experts with the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are recommending all students in areas with “rapidly accelerating” COVID transmission rates revert to online learning as soon as next week.
COVID-19 resurgence causing staffing issues at 911 call center in Delaware County
The COVID-19 resurgence is causing staffing issues at the Delaware County 911 call center, Action News has learned. Officials say there is another outbreak among health care workers at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby.
WATCH: Bucks Co. issues warning as COVID cases rise
COVID-19 cases rise nearly 80% in Bucks County
Throughout Bucks County, infections rose to unprecedented levels last week, and on Tuesday officials sounded the alarm as more cases were reported in any other week of the entire eight-month pandemic.
As COVID cases rise, no need to stockpile supplies, expert says
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, consumers are stocking up, and grocery stores are responding. But before you go on a spending spree, there are some things to consider.
CDC says masks protect you, not just those around you, in updated guidance
As the U.S. sees a nationwide spike in coronavirus cases, the Centers for Disease Control released new mask guidance.
The latest update says wearing a face-covering doesn’t just protect the people around you, but it also protects the wearer from incoming virus projectiles.
WATCH: How COVID is impacting holiday gatherings, travel
CDC releases updated guidelines for Thanksgiving
The CDC posted its most specific guidance yet on Thanksgiving Monday, which emphasizes that the safest option for the holiday is celebrating only with people in your household or taking extra precautions like wearing masks and keeping your distance if you celebrate with others.
How to properly wash your hands
Which masks protect those around you best?
What to do if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms
Coronavirus testing near me
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.