On July 14, the county school districts, the Putnam County ESC, and the Putnam County Health Department released a general plan and set of guidelines for reopening schools. At that time, each local district then began work on adapting these general guidelines to fit the needs of their local communities. Since then a team of Ottawa-Glandorf school personnel have been working to develop local guidelines and procedures for reopening our schools. The goal is to have a draft ready by August 7th to share with the full staff and the community, before presenting the plan to the Board of Education at our August 11, 2020 Board meeting. If the last few months have taught us anything it is that the best laid plans can change at a moment's notice. The recommendations and requirements we will present to the Board of Education are subject to change and likely will evolve as the situation progresses.
If you go to the district Facebook page and read the county guidelines you will be able to see many of the things the district will be working on to keep staff and students safe during the school day. One thing we will do is to require all students to bring a mask with them to school every day.
There will be different mask requirements for students depending on the activity and grade level, but there will be times during the day which will require all students to wear a mask. One such time is while riding the bus to and from school, or to athletic events. Every student who rides the bus will be required to wear a mask. We will also seat students by family groups, babysitting groups, and/or neighborhood stops to help limit interaction between students, and to make contact tracing easier if it is needed. The district will be emailing a survey to every family asking for information regarding transportation plans for the 2020-21 school year. Please look for that email coming in the next few days. Parents should also go to the district and building websites to review the school supply lists for the upcoming year.
While I know many of our parents, students, and staff are anxious about the reopening, and would like to have a full plan presented now, please be patient. The district reopening committee is diligently working to make sure we have put a comprehensive set of plans, procedures, and policies in place for the district.
Please remember that the practices we engage in now and over the next few weeks will determine whether Putnam County school districts can allow our children to go back to school in late August which is where we all know they need to be.
Enjoy the rest of the summer and stay safe!