School reopening plans for 2020-2021 year released

School reopening plans for 2020-2021 year released

by Craig Lovelace

By this time, you may know that each school district in Pickaway County has released its version of how they will operate in the coming year amid the still spreading COVID-19 and unforeseen state mandates addressing the pandemic that has wrapped itself around Ohio and the nation since early this year.

At the bottom of this article are links to the individual plans of Circleville City School District, Logan Elm Local School District, Teays Valley Local School District and Westfall Local School District. As of Monday, Pickaway-Ross Career & Technology Center, which serves Pickaway and Ross counties, had yet to release a plan.

There are several items in common among the individual plans. The most consistent is what method of teaching will get used. The approach is one district superintendents, Pickaway County Educational Service, Ohio Department of Health and Pickaway County Public Health agreed upon following multiple collaborative meetings.

The tiers include face-to-face where students are on campus five days a week as normal, and which each school plans to open under; a staggered schedule where half the students attend on two consecutive days of the week, with alternating Fridays for each; and online learning only.

Which one should schools use? That is tied to the state’s COVID-19 alert system, of which there are multiple levels. Levels 1 and 2 mean students are in class as normal five days weekly; Level 3, which Pickaway County was under as of July 20 leads to a split schedule for students; students would learn online in anything above a Level 4.

Though face-to-face is the chosen method to open schools that could change by the time they do. Starting dates for students are Circleville, Aug. 25; Logan Elm, Aug 20; Teays Valley, Aug. 18 and Westfall, Aug. 26.

There are also similarities in social distancing requirements, temperature taking; mask wearing (most will be required to wear them except in class if social distancing is employed); and parents can choose to keep their children out of the physical classroom and study online only.

Westfall Superintendent Jeff Sheets wrote to parents saying that more information will get disseminated via electronic communications.

“I have chosen not to go into several ‘what-ifs’ in this notice. Now that you have received this, I will post information on the district website and Facebook page. I know you will want to know more about how we will react to positive COVID-19 tests within our staff or students. We will keep in constant communication with the Pickaway County Health Department and follow their directions. They will establish who was exposed, who should be quarantined, and what steps will be taken.”

The districts arrived at their plan with input from multiple stakeholders including teachers, staff and parents.

Robin Halley, Teays Valley superintendent, said nothing is 100 percent certain going into a new school year that was anything but normal toward the end of the previous year.

“This plan is a plan that nobody is happy about,” Halley said. “It took a lot of time and effort and for the past month we have been fine tuning it.”

Asked what worries him most about the coming year, Circleville Superintendent Jonathan Davies said it isn’t anything local.

“My biggest worry does not come from the local level, but more from the state and federal government dictating what seem like daily changes and guidance that have major impacts on how we provide service to our students and community.”

He also sees the possibility of building upon what the district did in the spring when the coronavirus shut down the classrooms and relegated students to remote learning.

“We have surveyed families and they have requested more options for their child’s learning experience, and we have provided them. There will be some growing pains in this venture, but I’m excited for the opportunity to expand supports and work in further tandem with families on their child’s development.”

Circleville City Schools District

Logan Elm Local Schools

Westfall Local Schools

Teays Valley Local Schools

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