SHERWOOD — Central Local School District (Fairview) has announced its plans to reopen school to students in September, with a modified start (see below).
The following is the plan announced by the district:
As Central Local Schools continues to plan for the 2020-21 school year, this restart plan addresses common topics and concerns that parents, students, and staff members may have. The top goal of this plan is to keep students and staff members as safe as possible upon returning to our buildings.
• This plan is subject to change as school districts receive additional information and recommendations for the safe operation of schools in Ohio.
• Recommendations from Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Education, and the Defiance County Health Department have been at the forefront of developing these plans. In addition, 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, Central Local Schools is planning to return to school in a five-day-a-week, face-to-face format with the goal of having as normal a school experience as possible. However, school officials are also preparing for the possibility of the closing of school, at some point during the school year, because of COVID-19. It should be understood that even with a successful, “normal” opening of the school year, schools may be required to close, and an online, remote learning plan will be put into place.
Pending school board approval, the 2020-21 school calendar will be adjusted. Students will not report to school on Tuesday, Sept. 1, as originally planned, as Sept. 1 will now be used for teacher professional development. Rather, the first day for students will be either Sept. 2, 3 or 4. On Sept. 2-4, about 35% of students will report to school each day. The purpose of this plan is to allow staff members to determine areas of concern, and having only 35% of the students present will give staff members a needed advantage to deal with issues. Again, the proposed schedule is as follows:
• Sept. 1: Staff training.
• Sept. 2-4: About 35% of students, whose parents choose the face-to-face option, will be present. Principals will communicate with parents as to which day their children will attend. Students who are not present during the other two days may be expected to participate in a remote school experience.
• Sept. 8: First day for all students whose parents choose the face-to-face option.
In addition, the annual open house scheduled for Aug. 31 will not occur in its usual fashion. A replacement for open house may be considered. For school bus riders, an instant alert will go out soon directing parents to contact the transportation office concerning busing changes.
Expectations for face coverings will be based on state and/or county orders. Currently, counties have levels of risk as determined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. The following levels and expectations are listed below:
• Level 2 Orange (increased exposure and spread): Face coverings highly recommended for all students.
• Level 3 Red (very high exposure and spread): Face coverings will be required for students in grades 3-12 and recommended for students in grades K-2.
• Level 4 Purple (severe exposure and spread): Probable remote learning.
1. Expectations for Students
• Based on the current state orders, students in grades 3-12 will be required to wear a mask.
• In addition, masks will be required to be worn if Defiance County is on Level 3 (red) according to the public health advisory system listed above.
• Students in grades 3-12 unable to wear face coverings for health or developmental reasons will be expected to provide documentation from a health professional stating so.
2. Expectations for Staff Members
• Per the governor’s orders, all staff members are required to wear face coverings, unless one of the approved exemptions on the ODE website is met. This includes drivers, coaches and other adults on school buses.
• Teachers will have the option to wear a face shield, as this face covering may be beneficial for students who need to see a teacher’s mouth moving to better understand a lesson.
Instructional Options for Students
As a district, school officials acknowledge that a face-to-face environment may not be the best option for every student and family. Therefore, principals and teachers are preparing other options for instruction to take place in order to best fit different families’ needs. Parents will have the opportunity to choose between three options for their child’s education:
1. In-person, face-to-face learning five days per week within the school buildings with the following understanding:
• That efforts will be made to adhere to current social distancing guidelines and that school personnel will regularly disinfect the buildings with extra effort dedicated to high-touch areas to mitigate the spread of the virus.
• That bringing all students back for in-person instruction presents obstacles to realistically complying with all safety measures.
• That transportation, class changes, classroom seating, and feeding students may violate the recommended six-foot social distancing halo.
• That the local health department may need to enact a mandatory quarantine on students or staff with COVID-19 (or students or staff members who have been exposed to the virus). This could cause unexpected shutdowns.
• That school and learning will look differently than it once did. Staff and students are expected to use common sense regarding safety. Students, caregivers and staff members will be asked to monitor their health before departing for school, and everyone will frequently wash their hands.
2. Remote learning with the following understanding:
• Remote learning will consist of at-home education facilitated by Fairview teachers and staff members.
• Remote learning will include live virtual lessons and/or recorded lessons with teacher engagement.
• Students will be expected to be engaged in lessons as if they were present for class.
• Students will be expected to complete assignments and maintain communication with all teachers
• Students participating in distance learning may come to school for hands-on classes, such as band.
• Should unusual circumstances exist, teachers and administrators will work with parents and students to provide the best education possible under unusual circumstances.
• Students will be expected to remain in the remote learning model for the first grading period. Parents may choose to have their child(ren) return to in-person instruction following the first grading period.
3. Fairview Virtual Academy (FVA)
• This option, which is only for high school students who meet certain requirements, provides an at-home, online learning opportunity to families who are not comfortable with the traditional face-to-face instruction.
• Once enrolled in FVA, students may be required to remain enrolled in the academy for a certain period of time.
Parents will have until Aug. 14 to make their choices and may choose different options for each child. Students who participate in online learning are eligible to participate in after-school activities.
In Person Learning – Daily Routine
A. Temperature Checks
1. In partnership with our community, we expect parents/guardians to administer daily symptom and temperature checks before sending their children to school/bus stop.
• Parents/guardians are expected to keep any student home if he/she is sick or displays any symptoms of illness.
• Generally speaking, COVID-19 symptoms in children are similar to cold-like symptoms. Along with a fever, other symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose and cough.
2. Temperature checks may be conducted upon entry into the building.
• Students with a temperature of 100 °F or higher will be held in a separate room until pick up can be arranged.
3. Students’ return to school will be based on the guidelines set forth in the Defiance County Common Reopening Agreement.
1. Parents are encouraged to transport their children to and from school daily; and parents who choose to transport their children will be expected to do so through at least the first grading period.
2. Bus transportation will continue to be available to all students in grades K-12 as well as for students participating in school-sponsored extra-curricular activities.
3. Bus drivers and other adults on a bus will be required to wear face coverings while on the bus. Students will follow the guidelines outlined in the section under “Face Coverings.”
4. Seating charts are required and will be strongly enforced.
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.
C. Social Distancing
1. Every effort will be made to have students practice social distancing at all times during the school day.
2. Classrooms will be set up with maximum attainable social distancing.
• Students may be expected to sit with the same groups of students all day long to lower close-contact with several students.
• In the instances where adequate social distancing cannot be attained due to room size, face coverings may be required as outlined in the section under “Face Coverings.”
• Staff members with underlying health conditions and/or an immune-compromised system may ask all students to wear face coverings. Those unwilling or unable may be moved to the back of the room and/or away from the staff member.
3. Band, chorus and music classes
• Due to the nature of these classes, social distancing is nearly impossible.
• Classes may be split into two or more groups where students rotate days in class. On days not in class, students will report to a study hall-type setting.
• Teachers will be encouraged to take classes outside whenever the weather allows for it.
• No sharing of instruments unless they are properly disinfected.
• Outdoor recess will be strongly encouraged unless the weather does not allow it.
• Social distancing is strongly recommended during recess.
• When using playground equipment, face coverings are strongly recommended and may be required as outlined in the section under “Face Coverings.”
• Students will be required to wash/sanitize their hands prior to entering the cafeteria and prior to leaving the cafeteria.
• Attempts will be made to reduce capacity/occupancy in the cafeteria. Use of other spaces, such as the stage at each building, may be utilized to limit close-contact with several students.
• Students will be expected to sit with the same group of students every day to lower close-contact with several students.
• There will be no self-service, and individual condiments will be required.
6. Hallways and class changes
• Class schedules may be slightly altered to limit the number of students in a hallway at one time.
• Due to social distancing not being possible, face coverings may be required while in hallways as outlined in the section under “Face Coverings.”
Cleanliness of Buildings
1. Studies show hand washing is the most effective way to eliminate germs, and students will receive increased opportunities to wash their hands.
2. Hand sanitizing stations will be available in every classroom, office and high-traffic area in the buildings.
3. Students will be encouraged to bring their own water bottles from home. Standard drinking fountains will be out of order. Students will be allowed to have clear containers holding water with them throughout the day.
4. To help avoid sharing of supplies, students will be encouraged to bring their own book bags and carry their personal school supplies with them throughout the day.
5. 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.
6. Glass Shields: All offices are equipped with hanging glass shields to help protect students and staff members.
Use of School Facilities
1. Public use of school buildings may be very limited during this time.
2. Use of kitchens in either building will not be permitted until further notice.
3. Use of outdoor facilities may continue so long as social distancing guidelines are followed.
4. School-sponsored activities, such as elementary sporting events, may continue so long as social distancing guidelines are followed.
Visitors and Volunteers
1. Visitors to the school buildings will be very limited. All classroom visitors must be pre-approved by the building principal or assistant principal. In rare cases, the superintendent may approve visitors to classrooms.
2. Visitors must pass a temperature check and symptom assessment.
3. Parents should contact the building principal/assistant principal before coming to a school building.
4. To the greatest extent possible, IEP, ETR and parent meetings will be held virtually. The format for parent/teacher conferences is under discussion and will be announced later in the fall.
5. Volunteers may be limited this year. Volunteers must be approved by the building principal/assistant principal and will be required to wear a face covering and follow staff procedures and guidelines.
Each building principal/assistant principal may establish individual guidelines for the elementary school, middle school and high school. More information will come from principals.
Social Emotional Health Considerations
Central Local Schools acknowledge the difficult decisions that must be made and the additional stressors that come with the adjustments necessary during these times. As a result, school counselors will be instrumental in providing student emotional support throughout the school day; additional supplies, such as food, clothing and hygiene products may be available for those in need; and “wraparound” services, such as TACKLE, Job & Family Services, and Family & Children First Council may be available.