January 22, 2021
Families who have students in all of our learning pathways should read this communication. While there are details for all pathways, Pathway A families need to read more closely than others.
Dear Bulldog Community,
In a communication sent on December 17, I described a two phase approach that outlined how the district would increase student-to-teacher, in-person instructional time. On January 11, 2021, the district began the first phase of that model. I am writing to you today to provide you with more information related to Phase 2. While the launch date of Phase 2 has not been set, getting valid and reliable data from our families will help us with the decision making process. As a result, we will be releasing a specific survey to the primary email that families have on file with the district.
As it relates to vaccine distribution, a few weeks ago the level of coordination at the regional, state and federal levels was embarrassing. There was no plan from the top down and those of us at the local level were unable to answer the questions being presented. That has changed and what I am now seeing is a more coordinated effort on all levels. Districts are collaborating with the Governor’s Office and Cuyahoga County Board of Health to determine who they can partner with to establish a more coordinated vaccine deployment to teachers and other school personnel. The purpose of providing educators with the vaccine before other populations is so that they can remain virus free and are able to deliver instruction to students in person. It remains to be seen if they can successfully deliver the vaccine to school districts in February.
Why Can’t We Do What They Do?
As other districts are shifting to more in-person schooling, I recognize that our families are anxious and that our kids deserve the same consideration. While I’ve received questions like, “Berea is going back in, why can’t Olmsted Falls,” I want you to know that I cannot account for the decisions that are made by other superintendents or non-public schools. I will say that every district and school is working with a different set of physical classroom parameters and class sizes vary widely. Some districts have students on a modified schedule and do not serve lunch, while others have resources to hire more teachers to reduce class size. While our rooms at the intermediate school are all 900 square feet, there is considerable variability across the other buildings. For instance, classroom sizes at our high school range from 700 square feet to 1,150 sq.ft. I know that our decision making has caused some families to be frustrated; nevertheless it has been logical, unemotional and consistent. I simply will not take on the level of risk that some of my colleagues have chosen to take on. Yes our approach has been more conservative and I do believe that we will get there soon.
In order to plan for quite a number of things, we need our families to indicate what their intentions are should the district transition to a 4 or 5-day a week, in-person learning model. You should know that when we bring more students into the building for 4 or 5 days of in-person instruction, in most instances, students will be about 3-feet from one another in the classroom (there will also be variances across and within buildings). Later this afternoon you will receive one email with a link to a survey for each child you have attending a school in the district. We will use the same process we used when we collected information about the learning pathways that you chose for your student(s). We would ask that you complete the survey for each of your students by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26.
If you do not receive a survey link on Friday, January 22, please contact your building principal immediately. The email links below are for your convenience.
Pathway B & 6th-12th Grade Edmentum Students
These changes will not impact the instructional model for Edmentum students.
For those families continuing to opt for Pathway B, you will receive a follow-up correspondence from the district to get some additional information on what full remote learning will look like in this next phase. It will be important for this group of families to understand that with more students in the classroom, it will present a greater challenge for our 4th through 12th grade teachers to fully engage students online.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information and please keep a look out for the survey.
Jim Lloyd, Superintendent
Olmsted Falls City School District
26937 Bagley Rd.
Olmsted Township, OH 44138