Marysville students will be in class two days per week to start the school year as officials announced Monday that the district will open on Aug. 24 under a hybrid schedule.
Students across all grade levels will be placed into two groups, listed as either red or blue sections. Students in the red section will attend class on Monday and Tuesdays while blue students will attend on Thursday and Friday. A third group of students, defined as vulnerable by the Ohio Department of Education, will be in school each day.
“Our model allows us to balance in person instruction and meet the safety guidelines recommended by local, state and nation health officials,” Superintendent Diane Allen said today.
When not attending class in person, students will receive instruction through remote learning. Sanitizing buildings will be a priority on Wednesdays when only the small population of students are in class.
An email sent to parents, Allen stressed that the situation surrounding the virus remains fluid and could require the district to adapt during the year.
“If our situation changes, it is likely our plans will have to change to a more restrictive learning model,” the email states.
The new district calendar for the hybrid model includes the entire upcoming school year. All students will also fall under remote learning from Thanksgiving through Jan. 15, a move meant to limit possible outbreaks of the virus created by holiday travel.
Allen said the results of a recent parent survey about the upcoming year showed that parents were in favor of a full reopening, with students in school five days per week. She said the district looked at ways to make that happen but social distancing guidelines made that impossible.
Even after removing students from the buildings who chose to take part in the district’s completely online Virtual Academy, the district did not have room for 6-foot social distancing in the classrooms, Allen said.
“There is nothing I want more than to have all kids back in school all day every day,” Allen said. “But safety comes first.”
Allen said the district has already worked with teachers to ensure enough were available to start the school year safely. She said originally about 20% of the 350 members of the teaching staff requested leave this year, but after making some workplace accommodations, that number was reduced to 10 percent. Allen stressed that these are legitimate requests for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Allen said about 4% of the support staff have made similar requests for leave.
The superintendent added that the reduced staffing issue is the baseline, so any COVID-19 related exposures, or regular sicknesses, could amplify the situation.
Extracurricular activities, including sports, continue to be a closely monitored factor of the reopening of schools. Allen said the district will continue to follow guidelines set up by the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the governor’s office in regard to extracurriculars.
She said the district must also monitor the decision of other schools regarding extracurriculars as they would impact Marysville’s scheduling.
Allen also explained that the plan for remote learning from Thanksgiving through January would still allow winter sports to take place, because it is a voluntary move and not one forced by the state.
Other details of note:
•There will be no staggered start or freshman day for the coming school year.
•The district is helping to compile a list of childcare providers who have openings. The district stressed it is not vetting the individuals and the responsibility for interviewing and screening providers would fall to the parents.
•The district’s School Age Child Care (SACC) program will be in operation before and after schools. Also, 54 families on each of the red and blue sections will be able to take advantage of full day, off day programming. This option does not include Wednesdays.
•A hospital-grade disinfectant called Rejuvnal will be used daily to by teachers and the custodial team. Custodians will apply the agent to all surfaces with a no-touch mist when students are not in the buildings.
•Numerous other cleaning protocols will be put in place and the fresh airflow through the buildings will be monitored and could be increased.
•Breakfast will be a grab-and-go meal and lunch will be limited, with one hot and one cold option. There will be no self-serving and principals will determine where students eat.
•Because of the remote learning component, a list of free internet access locations has been compiled. Outdoor WIFI access points have been set up in the parking lots of Raymond, Mill Valley, Navin, Edgewood, Creekview, Early College High School, the high school stadium and at the high school near the weight room.
•Masks are to be worn by staff and students but an appeal process has been set up.
•The number of students allowed to enter bathrooms will be limited and monitored.
•In terms of busing, no more than two students will share a seat and they must wear masks. The windows on the bus will be left open to promote air circulation. Transportation schedules are expected to be released by Aug. 17.
•Visitors and volunteers will not be permitted in the buildings during the school day.
•PTOs are being encouraged to hold virtual meetings to start the year.
•Parent teacher conferences will take place on a virtual platform.
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