Preschool students enjoy lunch during their first day back to fully in-person classes Jan. 4. Students are separated by a clear divider while they are unable to wear masks while eating. Triad Superintendent Vickie Hoffman said she is appreciative of the community’s efforts to follow safety guidelines because it has kept cases down and allowed students to continue with face-to-face learning. (Photo submitted)
Triad officials rang in the New Year by welcoming students into school buildings following a temporary move to hybrid learning.
The district returned to school in-person, five days a week when the new quarter began this week.
During Thursday’s Board of Education meeting, staff agreed that employees and students alike are glad to be in the classrooms again.
“I think that COVID cloud just hangs over everyone,” High School Principal Kyle Huffman said of the recent time spent in the hybrid learning model.
He added, “Everyone’s happy just to be back.”
Superintendent Vickie Hoffman, who is currently quarantining, said she appreciates the community following safety precautions because it has allowed Triad students to have largely face-to-face learning.
“If we weren’t all in this together, I know our cases would be a lot higher than they are,” she said.
The district has had a total of 12 staff cases and 14 student cases.
Hoffman cited the most recent case, an elementary school student who tested positive Thursday morning, as an example of how quickly the district is able to respond to new cases.
She said custodians immediately cleared and cleaned the classroom of the positive student. She said it was being cleaned a second time, following the end of the school day.
Champaign County’s local health department has asked Triad staff to handle contact tracing for cases related to the school, Hoffman said.
She said students in the classroom were notified that the case was in their room. However, not all of them may be required to quarantine.
According to guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and the local health department, students taking appropriate precautions will not be required to quarantine if exposed to a positive case in a classroom setting.
In a Thursday letter to parents, Hoffman said students who were more than three feet away from the positive student while both were wearing masks do not need to quarantine. If they were closer than three feet to the student or not wearing a mask, they still must quarantine for 10 days.
As the district works to mitigate the effects of COVID, Hoffman and District Treasurer Connie Cohn said a choice made prior to the academic year has served them well.
The district hired four, one-year positions for the 2020-21 school year to step in as substitutes in anticipation of staff quarantines. The “full-time substitutes” are each housed at the high school, middle school and elementary school, while one assists with reading objectives and online learning.
“Due to the full-time subs the district hired in the beginning, costs are not up near what we thought (they) would be,” Cohn said.
Hoffman said the district is “still short” substitutes, noting that four staff members were out in one building Thursday.
While “one person can’t fix that,” she said “those four people really do help us a lot.”
The district will continue to adapt, Hoffman said, but are looking forward to vaccinating its staff members.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that K-12 staff will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines beginning Feb. 1, with the goal that districts are back to in-person or hybrid learning by March 1.
Hoffman said she has surveyed Triad staff members and 60 individuals have said so far that they will choose to receive the vaccine.
Once the shots are distributed, she said she expects a staff vaccination clinic will be held in the Triad community room.
She emphasized that it will happen after the school day is over and students will not be vaccinated.
In other business:
– Hoffman said “some vandalism” occurred over winter break at the new field house.
She said three young men were caught on video driving around light poles, dragging mud throughout the area and creating large divots in the field.
Hoffman said all three were identified and only one is a Triad student.
She noted that each person has “been very respectful so far” and has said “we’re going to do whatever we can do to make it right.”
“Kids make mistakes and they learn, and we’re going to learn something from this,” she said.
She said the damage should be fixed within a couple weeks.
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