DPS Metric for Phases of Learning

Douglas Public Schools Phases of Learning Environments
The Douglas Public Schools use several data points to monitor COVID-19 cases within our community. There are two main data points that will serve as a baseline for decision making when it comes to models of learning. The first is cases per 100,000 metric established by The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the second is the State positivity percentage.

Community Level COVID-19 Data Report:
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education along with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has provided school districts with a rolling 14-day metric to assist in setting transitions between learning models for the 2020-2021 school year. The guidelines are meant to supplement local decision-making policy by the School Committee and Board of Health.

This data is based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents, each city or town has been designated as a higher risk (red), moderate risk (yellow), or lower risk (green) community. Communities with fewer than 5 cases are not given a designation. The average daily incident rate per 100,000 is calculated the following way:
Total Cases over 14 days in Douglas (4 cases)
Total Population in Douglas 9250 (This is taken from UMass Donohue Institute)
4 cases x 100,000 = 400,000
400,000/9250 = 43.24
43.24/14 days = 3.08 daily incident rate

It is important to note that while average daily cases per 100,000 is the metric that determines the color coding for each community, districts/schools should also monitor whether cases are increasing or decreasing vs. the prior period. 

Positivity Percentage:
Schools have been asked to monitor the positivity percentage of the State. Guidance calls for schools to go fully remote when the State Positivity Rate hits 5%. The daily rate is found by dividing total tests in a day by positive results. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health then reports out a weighted 7 day average on a daily basis on their website.

In addition to these two key data points, the Douglas Public Schools also looks at data such as total positive cases in the community, age of demographic of the positive cases, how and where people contracted the virus, and additional information we gather through meetings with our local Board of Health. 

DESE has established guidance on what to do if there are multiple cases in a school or district. The guidance states:
Should there be circumstances where there are multiple cases in multiple schools, school and district leaders must consult with the local board of health as to proposed next steps. These steps could include, for example, making a decision to a) shut down the district for a short time (e.g. 1-3 days) for an extensive cleaning or other facility mitigation, or b) shut down the district for the longer duration of a 14-day quarantine period.
Before a final decision is made on a school or district closure, the superintendent must consult with DESE for further guidance.
This will be monitored on a daily basis and tracked through the nurses, principals, and superintendent.

The following guidelines assume there are no local major outbreaks or incidents that would require closure based on our previously published protocols. 

Phases of Learning Decision Making Framework
DPS will use the Phases of Learning Decision Making Framework below to assist in all transition decisions.  The goal is to have students participate in full in-school learning as quickly as possible, given health and safety guidelines are met and contingent upon a successful treatment or readily available vaccine.
Learning Model
Town of Douglas Confirmed Cases per 100,000*
Area Towns Confirmed Cases per 100,000*
State of Massachusetts Positivity Rate*
Full In-Person
Less than 1%
Remote Only
*   The local cases per 100,000  and the state positivity rate will be as reported in the DPH “COVID-19 Weekly Public Health Report” and the Massachusetts positivity data will come from the mass.gov website. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/community-level-covid-19-data-reporting

The Douglas Public Schools will review all locally applicable data to determine the phase of learning model or if we need to transition between learning models, including to a full remote model. The data should remain at a target rate for 14 consecutive days in order for a decision to be made to switch from one model to another. This chart and the data will serve as a guide to make a decision. Additional information will come from discussions with the Douglas Board of Health and other stakeholders.  It is important to note that, as stated above, just because the local and state data align to a Learning Model Category, ALL local data will be considered before the School Committee makes a final decision. This model will be communicated to families on a weekly basis for planning purposes. Before any change will be made, a School Committee meeting will be held so that information can be presented and a vote can be taken to change models.   
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