Health and Safety Metrics Related to the Return to In-Person Instruction
Decision MatrixACPS and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) have developed a reopening decision matrix that combines three main metrics into one chart: community transmission rates, data on positive cases, and levels of school division impact. The goal is to provide this matrix so families can understand our decision making for the phased reentry plan.
ACPS uses three key metrics to assist with critical decisions about closing or opening schools.
These metrics have been drawn up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as indicators and thresholds for school-based risk. Two of these metrics are community-based metrics, while the third is the implementation of mitigation measures in schools.
ACPS works closely with the Alexandria Health Department regarding any decision-making around the health and safety of our staff and students in our schools. While the Alexandria Health Department does not make the actual decision, they are involved in all ACPS reopening planning meetings and have been consultants and partners throughout the pandemic.
METRIC #1 (Community Transmission): Number of new cases within the community per 100,000 persons within the last 14 days
The maximum threshold for Metric #1 is 200 cases per 100,000 within the past 14 days. This would put schools in the category for the highest risk of transmission and would be a metric used when considering the need to close schools.
METRIC #2 (Community Transmission): Percentage of COVID-19 tests in the community that are positive in the last 14 days
NOTE: This metric measures the more reliable RT-PCR tests.
The maximum percentage of positive tests allowed for Metric #2 is 10%. This percentage would put schools in the category for the highest risk of transmission and would be a metric used when considering the need to close schools.
METRIC #3 (Internal School Risk Assessment): Degree of implementation of our own in-school mitigation measures
Ability of ACPS to implement 5 key mitigation strategies. These are:
- Consistent and correct use of masks
- Social distancing to the largest extent possible
- Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Contact tracing in collaboration with local health department
Schools should adopt the additional mitigation measures outlined below to the extent possible, practical and feasible.
It is important to note that all three metrics matter. In order to continue with or expand in-person instruction, all three metrics must be within the safe threshold.