Dear Bulldog Families:
The health and welfare of our families is of the utmost importance to us and it is critical that we keep you up-to-date with the information that we know at this time. While school will be suspended for a period of time, learning and student engagement must continue in some fashion. As a result, while students were not in session on Friday, our staff reported. Our operational staff spent time cleaning our buildings and answering phone calls. The instructional staff collaborated to create distance learning activities for our students and we’re working on a plan to deploy these to students. Some of this has already occurred.
On Monday, our staff will again report and will work through the school day. There are a number of issues before us that we will need to develop a plan for. Some of the problems we are working on solving include:
- Will this unexpected break have an impact on our grading periods? For many buildings, the 3rd grading period was set to close during our time away. We are working on a plan to address this.
- The assigned work over the closure needs to be quality work that is graded. At the same time, we will need to expect that students and staff may become sick during the closure and will need to determine what to do if this occurs.
- Our 8th through 11th grade students need to schedule for the 2020-2021 school year. While this process is delayed and class options are contingent upon the outcome of the operating levy, there were parent meetings scheduled in order to review this process. Those meetings generally have an attendance of 100 or more people which, at this time, would not be permitted to occur under the Governor’s order.
- There are a number of decisions that are beyond our control due to different agencies being in charge of making those decisions. These include state testing, AP testing, meeting dates associated with students receiving special education services and so on.
Following are the latest important reminders and updates that we want to share with our Bulldog families as we prepare to close schools for this extended period of time. PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO REVIEW EACH ITEM CAREFULLY:
- Students and families will have one more opportunity to get into school buildings before the official start of the closure this Monday afternoon. All school buildings will be open this Monday, March 16th from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to pick up personal belongings as well as any needed medications that may be stored in the school clinics. Please note that medications must be picked up by a parent or guardian; medications cannot be released to students. If you are not able to come in during this final time frame, please contact your building principal directly first thing Monday morning for assistance.
- All OFHS students have been asked to come in to pick up textbooks and course materials that will be needed during this extended closure. Pick-up of textbooks and course materials can take place anytime between 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Monday. High school students have been advised to check their school emails in advance of coming in, if possible, for information on what materials need to be picked up. Students unable to check email can stop into the high school office for assistance.
- REMINDER: All school buildings will be officially closed at 3:45 p.m. Monday, March 16th and no further access to classrooms, lockers and/or common spaces will be granted.
ADJUSTMENT TO ANTICIPATED RETURN DATE
- Since Governor DeWine’s announcement late Thursday afternoon, the governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Education have provided school districts with additional clarification regarding the anticipated return date following this extended closure. Currently we are planning for a tentative return date of Monday, April 6th. (This is a change from the return date of Wednesday, April 8th that was initially shared in Thursday’s communication.) We will continue to keep you updated as to any developments that might cause further adjustments to the return date.
- The district’s spring break will remain in place as scheduled from Friday, April 10th through Friday, April 17th.
ALL ATHLETICS SUSPENDED
- Per the Ohio High School Athletic Association, and in accordance with Governor DeWine’s order, a MANDATORY no-contact period is in effect for all school-sponsored sports from March 17 through April 5, 2020. There will be no team practices, team conditioning or games during this time.
LUNCH AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS THROUGH COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP
- Thanks to a partnership between Olmsted Community Center staff and PTA volunteers, a plan has been put into place to assist any students who may not be food secure during these mandated days off of school. No paperwork or documentation of need is required. This is simply our amazing community coming together to help out those in our Bulldog Community who might be in need. Please call the Olmsted Community Center at 440-427-1599 this weekend or any morning during the week before 10:00 AM to get on the list for a free lunch and snacks to eat throughout the day. Those calling will simply need to provide your phone number, the number of students in the household, and your address for delivery. Lunches can be delivered to your home or will be available for convenient Grab & Go pick up at the Olmsted Community Center door. This dedicated team of volunteers will be very respectful of privacy and assist in any manner they can.
- Anyone wishing to donate food can also sign up using the link above. Food donations can be made in person at Olmsted Community Center located at 8170 Mapleway Drive, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Anyone with questions about the student lunch program is encouraged to contact OCC Executive Director Donna Winter at 440-427-1599.
SCHOOL BUILDING POLLING LOCATIONS FOR TUESDAY’S ELECTION
- We have been receiving many questions about whether polling locations will still be housed within our school buildings this Tuesday. At this time, the Board of Elections does still plan to utilize Falls-Lenox Primary School (Falls Gym), Olmsted Falls Intermediate School (Gym) and Olmsted Falls Middle School (Auxiliary Gym) as usual as polling locations for the March 17th election. Election Day voting has not been classified as a larger gathering and will proceed as normal. Please note that community members voting at these polling locations within our school buildings will ONLY have access to the designated polling space within each building and will only be able to enter and exit through a single entrance point. Wider access to the building will not be permitted.
THOROUGH CLEANING OF BUILDINGS & EQUIPMENT
- While there are still no reported or suspected cases of coronavirus in our school district, as we prepare to lock down buildings for this extended break, our dedicated custodial and cleaning staff are working to thoroughly clean and disinfect all classrooms, restrooms, offices and common spaces prior to final closure. Extra attention is being paid to all surfaces that human hands come into contact with such as desk surfaces, door hardware, lockers, flat surfaces, glass and floor surfaces.
- Our staff is also thoroughly cleaning computers, keyboards and other shared electronic devices.
DISTANCE LEARNING UPDATE
- Our teaching staff and building administrators have been working hard to prepare and make available the content and materials students will need to continue learning during the mandated closure. Some buildings and some teachers have already provided preliminary information directly to students and families. If you have not received anything yet, please do not worry. All district staff will be reporting back to buildings this Monday to finish initial gathering and posting of materials and links.
- During the week ahead, the district will be rolling out a dedicated online resource center which will contain direct links organized by building and grade level, and then by teacher or subject. This system will provide an organized and streamlined way for students and families to regularly access assignments and information online during the closure. I’d like to thank our high school Math teacher, Jeff VanArnhem for creating the program to allow this to occur.
- For families without access to WiFi, please plan to reach out directly to your building principal for assistance.
- Further information regarding expectations relating to the district’s distance learning program will be provided along with the link. We anticipate having this information and link completed and available to email to parents sometime on Monday.
STUDENTS WITH ETR, IEP AND/OR 504
- Any ETR, IEP and/or 504 parent meetings already planned for Monday, March 16th will proceed as scheduled. Should you choose to want to participate by phone instead of an in-person meeting, please contact your case manager.
- We are aware that many families of students with disabilities may have meetings that are due to occur during the time of the closure. We are actively awaiting guidance from the Ohio Department of Education and the Federal Government on how we will navigate these important meetings. Please watch for additional updates to be emailed to you directly as information becomes available from Student Services.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FREE / DISCOUNTED WIFI ACCESS
- Children who receive free or reduced lunch are eligible for the Cox Connect2Compete program, which helps get families connected to the internet. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please click on this link for further information: http://bit.ly/Connect2Compete_Cox
- We recognize and are sensitive to the fact that not all families have connectivity and a device at home in order to engage in full online learning. As a result, assignments and activities will have a pencil/paper option as well.
For convenient access, a copy of this latest update is also available on the homepage of our district website at www.ofcs.net. Please note that we are currently finalizing a dedicated coronavirus closure information section on our website and will be sharing that link as soon as it is available.
Without a doubt everyone will remember the challenges and opportunities that the 2019-2020 school year presented. This update is an attempt to provide our families with as much information as possible with the caveat that things may change based on direction from the Governor’s Office. I want to thank every member of the Olmsted Falls City School District staff for rising to the occasion and answering the call. In addition, thank you to our families and students for being understanding and flexible as we work through a very unique situation. Please continue to monitor your emails and the district website for updates. Again, remember the polls remain open for March 17. Please do not forget to vote.
Hang in there. We will get through this.
Dr. Jim Lloyd
Superintendent for the Olmsted Falls City School District
26937 Bagley Rd.
Olmsted Township, OH 44138