November 24, 2020
Dear Bulldog Community,
I’m writing to you with an important communication regarding our instructional model for the week of November 30. In my last correspondence on November 17, 2020 I indicated that our plan moving forward would be contingent upon the staff being available to work with students. As it stands today, we have 55 OFCS staff members (approximately 12%) out due to COVID19 related issues (either due to contracting the virus or being in contact and needing to quarantine). In addition, there are 240 students across the district who are in quarantine for either contracting COVID19 or being a close contact of someone that has contracted it.
Based on our regional data (increases in the number of cases within Cuyahoga County and the positivity rate at 20%) and local metrics (increases in the number of staff and students needing to quarantine), I am writing to announce that the school district will remain in our Remote eLearning model in all grades through Friday, 12/4. During that week, we will continue to look at our data and make a determination as to what our instructional model will look like moving forward through December 18. I know that in order for our younger families to plan for childcare it is important that the instructional model is announced sooner rather than later. For these reasons, I will let everyone know on Thursday, 12/3 what our instructional model will look like for the remainder of our time in December.
While the decision to extend our Remote eLearning through Friday, 12/4 was not easy, I do believe it is necessary. As community spread continues, it has an impact on all of us personally, and it has an adverse affect on our ability to effectively operate a school district. As we lose our own staff members to quarantine, the substitute worker pool continues to be significantly depleted for teachers, cleaners, paraprofessionals, and so on. The staffing challenge is upon us. While I recognize that less face-to-face, in-person school is not what any of us desire, it is where we find ourselves at this time.
I certainly hope that everyone is able to avoid contact with COVID19 over this short recess, however simple probability tells us that the numbers will increase. Each of us must do our part to avoid contact with people in large groups, wear a mask, wash your hands and distance.
In closing, I would like to leave you with the following thoughts:
- We appreciate your flexibility very much and know that it isn’t easy. Everyone (parents, kids, and staff) have been amazing throughout this very difficult process.
- I know that it is a challenge to pivot into a different instructional model and we’re doing our best to provide you with as much notice as we can.
- We know that our families rely on us to have school remain open for so many reasons, and it is why these decisions are given a great deal of thought and aren’t made quickly. Yes, it would be easier to simply make the call now and “pack it in” for the remainder of the calendar year, however that is not what we’re about. The goal is to keep our buildings safely open as much as we can, for as long as we can.
In a world that has dealt us a hand that doesn’t seem very promising, please keep your chins up and try to make your Thanksgiving the very best that it can be. Look for things that you can be thankful for and know that sometimes it is the little things that matter most.
Dr. Jim Lloyd
Superintendent for the Olmsted Falls City School District
26937 Bagley Rd.
Olmsted Township, OH 44138