An update from Dr. Philip Wagner, superintendent
At this morning’s special Board of Education meeting, our educational reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year was amended. A summary of the plan is as follows:
• Due to public health concerns and the Ohio Public Health Advisory System’s continued level 3/red status for both Franklin and Licking counties, the entire district will be moved to the fully virtual educational option for the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year. All students will attend virtually through Fri, Oct. 23.
• The first day of school for students remains Mon., Aug. 31, to provide additional planning and professional development opportunities for our teaching staff and families.
• The educational plan choice selected by families in the annual EMA update is slated to go into effect Mon., Oct. 26.
This was a tough decision. Though local case data continues to trend slowly downward, overall the Board of Education felt moving the district to the fully virtual option through the end of our first quarter was in the best interest of education and public health. There is no right or wrong answer, but starting in a virtual environment for the first nine weeks will help contain community spread. The BOE and the administration will re-evaluate the public health situation prior to the end of the first quarter of the school year, and we will keep you informed every step of the way.
Some aspects of special education and other student exceptionalities may be opened, even in a fully virtual setting. Currently, there is no change to fall sports or extracurricular activities. We are awaiting further guidance from the OHSAA and the Governor's office, which could come as early as next Tuesday.
We realize the change to a fully virtual educational option for the first quarter creates challenges for families and we have been working with our local YMCA. The YMCA is available to expand childcare offerings for families for children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. Presently, 54 spaces are available for additional students and the YMCA believes they should be able to expand availability. If you are interested in learning more about YMCA options, please contact Jessica Calvelage at [email protected]
As we prepare for the reopening of the school district in a fully virtual setting, training opportunities for parents to familiarize themselves with our new learning management system, SchoolsPLP, are forthcoming. Our shipment of new Chromebooks, provided through the grant from Facebook, remain delayed due to worldwide fulfillment issues. If you indicated your child(ren) needed a device, we will be distributing as many Chromebooks as we can from our current fleet prior to the start of the year.
We remain in communication with all three of our health departments and are receiving frequent updates. Thank you for your flexibility as we work through these unprecedented challenges.