The Cautionary Tale of East Lancaster

Crossing my Twitter feed today was a brief announcement that the middle and high schools in East Lancaster School district is going remote starting tomorrow.

“The Garden Spot campus (MS/HS) will switch to virtual learning for all learners starting Wednesday, September 29 and switch back on Monday, October 4 because of high COVID case counts and case patterns.”

East Lancaster’s schools are similar in size to WSSD’s, with 3 elementary schools and a combined middle and high school campus. East Lancaster started school on August 30th, before the governor’s mask mandate and declared masks encouraged, but optional. After the governor’s mandate, they started offering forms to allow exemptions to masking requirements (masks were optional to those seeking such exemptions). The governor’s masking requirements came into force on September 7th. In the first report after that on September 10th, East Lancaster’s combined middle and high school had documented 18 positive cases at its grades 7-12 campus. A week later on September 17th, it was 38 and by the 24th it was 51, of which 46 were students. In the first month about 3% of its students have gotten Covid in the first month of school, shutting down the schools for the rest of the week.

By comparison, Strath Haven has about 1,173 students and counting up the Covid notifications we’ve gotten, I count 7 Covid cases (and over half of these infections likely occurred before the start of school), for a 0.6% Covid infection rate. The middle school, as far as I can tell, has had zero cases, which is a 0% infection rate.

Outside of school, Lancaster and DelCo started September with similar case counts per 100k residents (29 for Lancaster, 23 for DelCo). Lancaster’s vaccination rate is 53% vs. 58% for DelCo, so not too different. Here at the end of September Lancaster county now has a Covid rate per 100k over double DelCo’s (40 vs. 18).

Tomorrow be glad our children are free to go to school thanks to the precautions that we’ve taken. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Categories: Ramblings