December 2, 2020
Dear staff, students, and parents:
Last night at our December Board of Education meeting, the administrative team and I made the recommendation to our Board members asking them for approval to extend our hybrid instructional model.
The latest case numbers we have received from the Putnam County Health Department are showing improvement, but they are still extremely high. The number of students and staff being affected by contact tracing through school interactions has dropped, and the number of staff and students being quarantined or testing positive due to community exposure has decreased, but the county rate is still over 1,000 per 100,000 people. We currently have thirty students/staff out due to contact tracing, and two students/staff out due to testing positive for COVID-19. We are definitely heading in the right direction, and we want to continue that trend. I have attached a chart with the most up to date information from the Putnam County Health Department on November 30, 2020 as an example of where Putnam County stands.
The combination of students and staff being quarantined, and most importantly the high levels of community spread make it necessary to continue hybrid instruction through January 15, 2021. The administrative team will continue to monitor the data we receive from the Ohio Department of Health, the Putnam County Health Department, and our own attendance information between now and January 15, 2021. If our numbers continue to improve, and we do not see a large spike in cases after Christmas break, we plan to return to full in person instruction on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. We know the best thing for our kids is to get back to full time instruction, but we also need to be able to do that safely and in a manner that does not create large numbers of students being pushed into quarantine through contact tracing.
In addition to the continuation of the hybrid model, at the meeting we also discussed the use of calamity days while we are on the hybrid model. At this time, if school needs to be canceled due to weather, the district will have a full virtual instructional day for all students. The goal is to further minimize any loss of instructional time. Staff and students will be expected to continue with lessons, instruction, assessments, etc. So while we may not be providing transportation due to weather, we will move forward with a full instructional day online. Students will be expected to log in and make contact with their teachers, and over the next few days they will receive additional information from their teachers regarding individual classroom procedures for virtual instruction on calamity days.
Finally, I want to thank our staff, students, and parents for their help and cooperation during this incredibly difficult and challenging time. We hope to be back to full in person instruction soon, and that success will depend on your continued cooperation and hard work.