Updated January 3, 2021
We continue to make science and data-based decisions and thoughtfully plan and collaborate with the Board of Education, OCS staff and the community on our reopening efforts, while keeping safety at the forefront of all we do.
The Superintendent's COVID-19 District Team, in close collaboration with the Orange County Health Department, will continue to watch and review the trends among the data outlined below in Chart 1. The Superintendent's COVID-19 District Team consists of the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Lead Nurse(s), Public Information and Community Engagement Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Exceptional Children, and the Environmental Health and Safety Director.
Should the district reach or exceed the threshold in any one of the 4 metrics (see Chart 1), the Superintendent’s Team, in collaboration with the Orange County Health Department will convene to consider the additional factors which may result in a classroom, school or district-wide closure.
As we watch and review the trends in the metrics, as noted in Chart 1, a number of additional factors will be taken into consideration to guide our conversations, decisions, and recommendations including:
- The capacity of the Orange County Health Department to conduct contact tracing
- The ability of the hospitals to meet the capacity of hospitalizations
- The number of clusters within the same school or worksite
- The ability for the school or worksite to carry out essential operations (e.g. having enough staff to instruct and support students)
Metric Thresholds - Aug 2020
(as determined by the OCS COVID-19 Metrics Task Force in collaboration with the OC Health Dept.)
Additional OCS Factors - Dec. 2020
(for consideration when determining any closures)
1. # of COVID-like Illnesses
4-week downward trend
The capacity of the OC Health Dept. to conduct contact tracing
2. % Positive of Total Tests
4-week downward trend
The ability for the school/worksite to carry out essential operations
3. # of Confirmed Case Counts
Fewer than 125 per week and 4-week downward trend
The number of clusters in a particular school/worksite
4. # of Confirmed Hospitalizations
Stable/or 4-week downward trend
Capacity for hospitals to meet the demand
Content from August 2020
The impact of COVID-19 on public education is unprecedented and Orange County Schools is no exception. On July 16th, as a result of the data provided by and in consultation with the Orange County Health Department, the OCS Board of Education voted unanimously to reopen schools under Plan C: Remote Learning for all students and recommended that metrics be identified and monitored to help determine when it is safe for the district to shift from Plan C to Plan B: Hybrid (in-person and remote learning).
At the July 20th Orange County School Board of Education meeting, Quintana Stewart, Director of the Orange County Health Department (OCHD), recommended four metrics for the district to monitor when considering shifting from Plan C to Plan B. OCHD committed to sharing COVID-19 metrics with the district on a weekly basis. See dashboard at the bottom of this page. Additionally, OCS is in the process of establishing a broad stakeholder task force (school-based and central office staff, classified and certified staff, parents and representatives from the Board of Education and community) that will make recommendations to the Board of Education based on how the metrics are trending. The task force will monitor the metrics listed below. They will compare and track changes regarding how the pandemic is affecting Northern Orange County and NC as a whole. When studied over time, the metrics are intended to assist the district with determining when it is safe for students and staff to return to their classrooms under Plan B.
Four Metrics OCS is Monitoring in Collaboration with the Orange County Health Department
- Daily Case Count: the number of lab-confirmed cases in Orange County
- Cumulative Case Count: trend over a three-week period
- Trends in Types of COVID-like Illnesses: COVID-19, Influenza, etc. during this time period in Orange County
- Percent of Positive Tests