*This email contains a general announcement at the beginning and many more details for those that care to read on. It is comprehensive.
February 3, 2021
Dear Bulldog Community,
The district appreciates the patience and cooperation of our families and staff as we work diligently towards a full return. While the decision was not an easy one, after considering multiple variables, the district plans on providing a 5-day per week model of instruction for grades 1st through 12th beginning on Monday, February 22nd. The current hybrid instructional model will be discontinued for those grades after the school day on Friday, 2/19. The instructional model for our Preschool and Kindergarten programs will remain the same as it has been, continuing in the half-day model of instruction. Those families who have concerns and are uncomfortable sending their students to school 5-days per week may have their students attend school virtually and the student should follow their current schedule for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. Specific questions should go to the building principal. Also, the Edmentum Pathway will continue to be in place for this school year for grades 6-12. The remaining contents of this communication explain in more detail how this decision was reached, and also describes some limitations of what the district is able, and not able to accommodate.
**Please also note that there will be two additional follow-up emails sent to families later this week confirming pathway selections and transportation status for your student(s); these emails will include instructions for how to make final adjustments before the February 22nd transition if needed.**
Student Learning Pathways
A switch to a 5-day, in-person model will require us to immediately phase out the hybrid model that we have been using since the beginning of the year in grades 1st through 12th. The following instructional models will be instituted on February 22nd:
- Pathway A: ALL Students will come to school 5-days per week and receive in-person instruction. The Blue and Gold group designations will no longer be needed with a 5-day in-person model for grades 1st through 12th. Students in Pathway A need to attend school 5-days per week. For instructional consistency for both teachers and students, it is important that students fully attend school. Students do not have permission to remote into classrooms at their leisure.
- Pathway B: Students who are in grades K-3 and in the full virtual model will continue in that model for the remainder of the year. Students in grades 4-12 who are remoting into classrooms will continue to have this available. Those families who choose Pathway B have the option to reconsider Pathway A. The district asks that the family work directly with the building principal in order to facilitate this change.
- Pathway C: The Edmentum pathway for grades 6 through 12 will remain in place for the 2020-2021 school year.
The district is partnering with Giant Eagle on vaccine deployment. Other than the vaccine will be provided to our staff the week of February 15, we do not have more specific details as to the exact date our staff will have the vaccination available. Parents should know that once the district is made aware of the vaccination date, we will cancel school for students in grades PreK through 12 in order to allow us to efficiently administer the vaccine to staff. The day will remain a work day for staff and it will be used to prepare for a 5-day model of in-person instruction. We may not have a great deal of lead time to make this decision, but will try to get the school cancellation notice out as quickly as possible.
Data from the Family Survey
The tables below contain more detailed information related to the parent survey.
Here are some highlights:
- 80.83% of families indicated “yes” to a return to school of 5-days per week.
- 72.24% of families indicated “yes” to a return to school of 4-days per week.
- 98.43% of families indicated “yes” to having a reliable internet connection.
- 65.97% of families indicated that they need district transportation to and from school.
By Grade Breakdown of Families Indicating “Yes” to a Return of 5-days Per week
Details Related to Classroom Spacing, Quarantine and Close Contact
Quarantine & Close Contacts
Alterations to the quarantine and close contact guidelines make more in-person learning feasible. The table above shows the number of students by grade level who have elected to attend 5-days per week of in-person school (NOTE: There will be no changes to the current Preschool or Kindergarten model of instruction).
What were the previous guidelines? A person was deemed in “close contact” with an individual who has COVID-19 if the person was within 6-feet or less for at least 15 minutes with or without mask usage.
What ARE the current guidelines? The Ohio Department of Health revised the quarantine guidelines based on experience and data that demonstrates the effectiveness of facial coverings (see reference #1). Students and adults in K-12 school may continue to attend in-person school if exposed to a person that is COVID-19 positive if the district has COVID-19 prevention policies that include:
- Universal mask wearing, social distancing at least 3-feet, hand-washing, identification and management of students exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols. (see reference #2).
- The exposure occurred within a classroom environment or while on required school transport (e.g., school bus).
- The current guidelines apply only to classroom settings. Students should not attend in-person school if they are exposed to COVID-19 outside the classroom, including during sports and other extracurricular activities, regardless of masking.
Based on the data provided by our families, we know that about 80% of students will be returning to school 5-days per week. The district will maintain 6-foot distancing when students eat lunch and will do so by making some building specific adjustments.
While the district will not be able to provide distancing in all classrooms at 6-feet between students, we will make every effort to provide distancing at 3-feet. Parents should know that there will be wide variability of distancing within buildings (e.g. grade to grade) and across buildings (e.g. OFIS v. OFMS). At the same time, parents should keep in mind that student capacity within classrooms will be less than it would be under non-pandemic circumstances.
Obviously there are many moving parts to turning school back on at 5-days per week. Over the course of the next few weeks our building departments will be moving furniture back into classrooms to accommodate more students. Our mitigation techniques will continue to remain in place and in some instances, we will be adding some. This includes having facial coverings be mandatory unless an exemption exists, utilizing desk and table shields, continuing with our disinfecting protocols, limiting the exchange of student materials, and limiting student contact as best as we can.
Again, please be on the lookout for the follow-up confirmation emails verifying pathway selection and transportation status later this week.
If you have specific questions related to items in this email, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions related to the operation of your child’s building, please contact the building principal of your child’s school.
The district has created a frequently asked/anticipated questions document that can be accessed here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information and for your patience. This has been difficult on everyone. Everyone has done tremendously, but our building administrators and teachers have risen to the challenge and have been exceptional. If you get a moment I know that it would go a long way if you reached out to them.
Jim Lloyd, Superintendent
Olmsted Falls City School District
26937 Bagley Rd.
Olmsted Township, OH 44138
Some of the Sources Used to Make These Decisions:
- Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation (Final Report)
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet: K-12 School Quarantine Guidelines
- COVID-19 Local and Regional Metrics
- Cuy Co Board of Health School Guidance Update