Chester County's health department has officially recommended that schools start this fall virtually.
The department said in guidance released Friday that all public and private K-12 schools in Chester and Delaware counties should begin virtual at least until Oct. 9, before assessing whether students could safely come back to school in-person.
"Such a start will mitigate any impact anticipated by increased cases due to the end of the summer holiday (as seen during July 4), and ensures school districts have the necessary time to implement the guidance set forth in this document," the guidance says.
Chester's recommendation applies to Delaware County because Delco does not have its own health department, and is covered by Chester County's.
School districts were notified at 6 p.m. Friday, and the Owen J. Roberts School District sent an email to parents an hour later.
"I understand that many will be disappointed by this current development. I have been very vocal in my belief that students need to return to in-person teaching and learning if only for a few days a week," Superintendent Susan Lloyd wrote. "However, from the beginning, the OJR School Board and I have been equally vocal about the necessity to adhere to the guidance from our local health authority in order to keep everyone safe and healthy."
The guidance still allows for in-person learning for special education students, and athletes are allowed to continue preseason training.