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AYERSVILLE — The Ayersville Local Board of Education met in special session Wednesday evening and approved modifications to its school calendar in order to execute its school reopening plans it has announced for the 2020-21 school year.

Superintendent Don Diglia outlined those modifications to the school calendar, including changes to the start of the school year, and what will take place when the school opens it doors.

Aug. 25-26 will be teacher work days, with part of that time focused on teachers learning best practices for using Google Classroom to create lessons for students in the event remote learning has to be implemented. On Aug. 27 and Aug. 31, teachers will create four lessons on Google Classroom that will be used starting Sept. 8.

“Our goal is that when kids come to school on Sept. 8, we will teach them what it’s like to learn remotely with a teacher in the classroom,” said Diglia. “This is all about consistency for the teachers and the students.”

On Sept. 2, parents/guardians will have the opportunity to learn how remote learning will work in the event that school has to move to remote learning. That will take place in-person, or via Zoom, depending on how the parent is able to attend the event.

“We will be teaching the best way to do remote learning for everyone involved,” said Diglia. “On Sept. 3-4, we will be working on a two-hour delay each day, but those days will be used to teach the kids the new protocols they will have to follow when they attend school. It’s going to be new for everybody.”

While going through the reopening plan, Diglia was asked several questions by the board, including: What happens if a student is diagnosed with COVID-19? How will taking temperatures be taken? How will remote learning work for students whose parents decide not to send their kids to school? ... just to name a few.

Diglia shared that guidelines for dealing with a positive tests will be handled by the Defiance County Health Department, that parents will be tasked with taking students’ temperatures and making sure any student with a fever is not sent to school, and that the district can decide if remote learning will work for certain students.

He pointed to the reopening plan for many of the answers, but was quick to point out things could change.

“No matter what happens, we will be transparent and communicate to our parents what we can,” said Diglia. “If it comes to the point we have to start the year with remote learning, we’re still going to go forward with our first week of school so that our students and parents are prepared for remote learning.”

The following is the reopening plan for Ayersville Local Schools:

“As Ayersville Local Schools is continuing to plan for the 2020-21 school year, we want to address common topics and concerns that staff, parents, and students may have. Please note: our top goal is to keep our staff and students as safe as possible upon returning to our building.

The following is Ayersville Local Schools’ preliminary plan to begin a new school year as normal as possible. This plan is subject to change as we receive additional information and recommendations for the safe operation of school.

The recommendations from Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Education, and the Defiance County Health Department have been taken into consideration when forming these plans. The Defiance County superintendents have been meeting on a regular basis with Jamie Gerken, Defiance County Health commissioner, in an attempt to collaborate on what the safest route may be to return to school in the fall.

At this time, Ayersville Local Schools is planning to return to school, face-to-face, in as normal a mode as possible utilizing Plan A (see below).

However, we are also preparing for alternatives to the traditional learning environment due to COVID-19. It is understood that even with a successful “normal” opening of the school year, schools may be required to close and we will need to be able to transition to a Remote Learning Plan. With this in mind, we are looking at adjusting the start of school year:

For staff training, we are delaying the start of school for students from Monday, Aug. 31, to Thursday, Sept. 3.

As a district, we acknowledge that a face-to-face environment may not be the best option for every student and family. It is our goal to provide parents with options to choose from that will best fit their family’s needs.

Parents will have the opportunity to choose between two options for their child’s education:

1. In-person learning within the school building while following current health and safety guidelines.

a. With guidance from the Defiance County Health Department, the district will determine which plan (A, B or C) is being implemented throughout the school year.

b. Should schools be closed (Plan C) or a blended model (Plan B) become necessary, students will transition to remote learning that will be taught by their classroom teachers.

2. Ayersville Virtual Academy (AVA) provides an at-home online learning opportunity to families who are not comfortable with the traditional face-to-face instruction.

a. Once enrolled in AVA, each student must remain enrolled in the academy for the entire semester.

In closing, we want your students here in person on a daily basis. We promise you Ayersville Local Schools will do everything possible to decrease the risks associated with contracting COVID-19. We understand that sending your child to school at this time is a family decision and not to be taken lightly. Thank you for your patience as we continue to forge ahead in this new era of student safety and education.

As we have said earlier in this document, the recommendations and requirements set forth herein are subject to change and in all likelihood will evolve as the situation progresses.”

Ayersville Virtual Academy

Ayersville Virtual Academy (AVA) provides an at-home online learning opportunity to families who are not comfortable with traditional face-to-face instruction. While an Ayersville teacher may be monitoring and supporting students enrolled in AVA online courses, that teacher will not be providing the content.

1. AVA enrollment applications can be found on the district website (ayersville.org).

a. Enrollment applications are due to the respective offices by Aug. 14.

2. Students must meet daily attendance and progress requirements.

3. Some AVA courses may carry additional fees.

In-Person Learning

This plan is intended to provide an overview of the three educational delivery scenarios that we are prepared for as a district:

Plan A

• All students in building.

• Regular schedule.

• Five days a week.

• Classroom lessons.

Plan B

• 50% of students in building 50% of students online.

• K-6: Adjusted schedule. 7-12: Regular schedule.

• In-person two-days/week, online three-days/week.

• Lessons provided on Google Classroom

Plan C

• 0% of students in building.

• K-6: Adjusted schedule. 7-12: two-hour delay schedule.

• Online five days a week.

• Lessons provided on Google Classroom.

This plan is subject to change as we receive additional information and recommendations for the safe operation of school.

Temperature Checks

1. In partnership with our community, we expect parents/guardians to administer daily symptom and temperature checks before sending their students to school/bus stop.

a. Parents/guardians are expected to keep any student home if he/she is sick or displays any symptoms of illness.

2. Temperature checks may be conducted upon entry into the building.

a. Students with a temperature of 100 degrees F or higher will be placed in a separate room until pick up can be arranged.

Food Service

1. All breakfasts and lunches will be pre-assembled for grab-and-go service.

2. One breakfast and lunch option will be offered per day.

3. Students will sit with maximum attainable distancing.

4. Students will be instructed to clean their hands before and after lunch.

Transportation

1. Parents are encouraged to transport their children to and from school daily.

2. Bus transportation will continue to be available to all students in grades K-12.

3. Students and bus drivers will be required to wear a face covering (mask or shield) while on the bus.

4. Buses will load back to front and unload front to back.

5. Multiple students may be seated in the same seat, assigned by the bus driver. Siblings, or children from the same household, will be required to sit together.

6. Bus drivers will not conduct temperature checks before students board the bus.

Social Distancing

1. Every effort will be made to have students practice social distancing at all times during the school day.

a. Classrooms will be set up with maximum attainable social distancing.

i. In the instances where adequate social distancing cannot be attained due to room size, face coverings will be required.

b. Social distancing is strongly recommended during recess.

i. When using the playground equipment, face coverings are strongly recommended.

c. Due to social distancing not being possible while in hallways, face coverings will be required.

2. Visual aids will be placed throughout the building to help students remember social distancing protocols.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

All rules and regulations regarding face coverings will default to Gov. DeWine and/or Defiance County Health Department orders for the state/county. When state/county-wide orders are not in place, the below regulations will be followed.

Face Coverings

(Masks or Shields)

1. All staff will be required to wear face coverings unless documented justification with approval from the health department and health care provider is provided or unless the staff member is working alone in a designated area.

2. It is strongly recommended that all students wear coverings unless unable to do so for health or developmental reasons.

3. Where adequate social distancing, as determined by school personnel, cannot be attained, students will be required to wear a face covering.

4. Face coverings will be worn by all individuals on school buses.

5. For individuals who have difficulty wearing a cloth face covering, face shields that wrap around the face and extend below the chin can be considered as an alternative where cloth face coverings would hinder the learning process.

6. Students who are not able to wear a face covering due to medical reasons must provide documentation from their health care provider.

Visitors and Volunteers

1. All volunteers will be required to follow staff procedures and guidelines.

2. Visitors to the school building will be very limited and must be pre-approved.

Social Emotional Health Considerations

1. Ayersville Local Schools acknowledge the difficult decisions that must be made and the additional stressors that come with the adjustments necessary during these times.

a. School counselors will be instrumental in providing student emotional support throughout the school day.

b. During a shutdown, additional supplies (i.e., food, clothing, and hygiene products) may be available to those in need.

c. “Wraparound” services (e.g., TACKLE, Job & Family Services, Family & Children First Council, etc.) may be available to those in need.

Additional Precautions

1. Hand sanitizing stations will be available in every room and office in the building.

2. Additional hand washing opportunities will be provided to students.

3. Students will be encouraged to bring their own water bottles from home and avoid using the drinking fountains. Students will be allowed to have clear containers filled with water with them throughout the day.

4. To help avoid sharing of supplies, students will be encouraged to bring their own bookbags and carry their personal school supplies with them throughout the day.

Cleaning Procedures

1. All classrooms and offices will receive regular cleaning and disinfecting to promote healthy environments. Frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, handrails, etc.) will receive special attention.

2. Studies show hand washing is the most effective way to eliminate germs and students will receive increased opportunities to wash their hands.

3. Hand-hygiene products will be available in all classrooms and offices.

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