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Scioto County COVID-19 School Reopening Plans

Scioto County COVID-19 School Reopening Plans

All Ohio schools closed for the remainder of the school calendar beginning on March 17, 2020, by order of the Governor and State Health Commissioner in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early June, little guidance was available from Ohio Department of Education regarding guidelines for school re-opening for the 2020-21 school year. School district superintendents from each school district in Scioto County, Adams County (Manchester), Jackson County (Oak Hill) and Ross County (Paint Valley) along with the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center, came together to identify common practices for school re-opening in the SCOESC  Membership. With collaboration from the Scioto County Health Department and the Scioto County Prosecutor’s office, the schools listed above developed these general principles that will guide each school district as they move forward with re-opening schools
throughout the SCOESC Region:

1. Each school district will implement recommended safety protocols to the highest degree possible;
2. The SCOESC will work closely with the Scioto County Department of Health to promote safety in each Scioto school district. The three members outside of Scioto County will work with their County Department of Health.
3. Each school district will be transparent with all stakeholders that some level of risk will always be present when children and school district employees occupy school district facilities.
4. School districts recognize the need for consistency in areas of operations while recognizing that individual differences in classroom sizes, school facilities, and building operations may lead to some inconsistencies; therefore, the schools in Scioto County will operate using a risk level color chart to remain consistent.

Communications when a student/staff member with a COVID-19 positive diagnosis:
• Communication will be developed by the Health Department, not the school district. A common template will be developed to include the following:
* Specify to parents which classroom the confirmed case was in (ex. Mr. Smith).
* The school district will cooperate with the Health Department’s work with contact tracing.
* The Scioto Health Department will write a letter for the school district to use and the letter will explain/define what is considered “exposure” to COVID-19 that will result in quarantine.

Food Service:
• All districts will offer food service. Logistics will be determined by each district in compliance with Health Department based on:
* The capacity/occupancy of the school cafeteria following risk level color chart
* No self-service
* Individual condiments

Classroom Occupancy:
• Districts will inform parents that safety protocols are in place but any student who attends school will incur some level of risk. Districts will decrease the likelihood of infection with hygiene, cleaning, and safety procedures, but being in a public place has
a certain level of risk that cannot be eliminated.
• Classroom occupancy will be determined based on each individual circumstance with the maximum amount of safety considerations possible within the level of the risk color chart.
• School employees will be required to use a face covering when they are within six feet of students. It is recommended that school employees wear both a mask and a face shield offering a level of protection that puts them at a low risk.
• No vocal (singing) or instrumental music (playing) inside buildings.  Vocal and instrumental music may sing and play outside while maintaining a social distancing of 10 feet or greater.  

Student Learning:
• School districts will offer an online learning platform for parents who do not wish to send their child to school.
• Parents may choose two options:
1. Send their child to school following district protocol for color level risk which will involve some form of remote learning combined with face to face at school, or
2. Agree to online learning from home following district protocols established.

Visitors/Volunteers/Parties:
• There are different levels of school visitors, and each district will make decisions for each situation.
* Visitors are generally discouraged from being in school district facilities.
* Safety protocols such as taking temperatures will be implemented for all visitors.
* Districts will determine the level of “extra” activities allowed.

Transportation:
• SCOESC Member Districts will allow two students per seat (skipping the first row behind the bus driver) and in some instances three students if the children are younger and therefore smaller.
• Districts will attempt to seat household members together.
• Seating charts are recommended to assist with contact tracing if that is needed.
• Face shields and/or masks are required for drivers and masks are required for students. If a student refuses to wear a mask the district may refuse to transport.
• In the event State policies require school districts to use alternative schedules districts may adopt minimum requirements for transportation to reduce the number of students who are eligible for school district transportation.
 
Recess:
• School districts will make every effort to maintain consistency with other safety procedures.
• This may mean that districts limit student access to certain pieces of playground equipment
and restrict activities that are “high touch” and difficult to clean or maintain social distancing.
• All districts will work toward “structured” recess activities such as nature walks that limit students’ physical contact with others.
• Students must sanitize their hands after recess.
South Central Ohio ESC

522 Glenwood Avenue
New Boston, OH 45662
Phone 740-354-7761
Fax 740-354-6778
Where Service is Central
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