To: Staff, Students, Parents, School – Community Members Fr: Kevin Smith, Superintendent Su: Return To School Plan
From the launch of the school year, our goal has been to provide the opportunity for in – person instruction, while minimizing the need for the use of our E–learning process. Obviously, there are many variables that play into whether or not our schools can remain open in a safe and effective manner. These range from the level of impact the COVID-19 virus may be having on our schools, at any given point in time, to the availability of personnel to meet the needs required to sustain facility operations. We have seen a wide array of the referenced variables play out, creating the recent need for E–learning instruction.
While recognizing our desire to return to in – person learning as soon as possible, the school corporation values the importance of understanding where the current COVID-19 situation stands, prior to re-opening our facilities. Our goal is to return to the classrooms by no later than Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
On Monday, October 19, CCSC will operate under our E-learning protocol, with my team and I analyzing data for the period covering our fall break. We will review this data and discuss with the Fountain and Warren County Health Department. It is possible we may resume in person schooling on Tuesday, October 20. If this occurs, notification would be made early Monday evening.
In conjunction, and with a plan for return in place, the suspension of our extra – curricular activities has been lifted.
The decision to return to school in the above manner was made after much deliberation, collaboration, and analysis of data. While we (the board and I) believe our plan to be in the best interests of the child, we understand there may be, not only disagreement, but questions around how we arrived at this decision.
The following was used to help aid the decision – making:
+ The fact that our children need to be in school, with in–person instruction providing the best educational opportunity for growth and development; + We believe in a well-rounded educational curriculum; + The school corporation took precautionary steps by moving to E-learning for the period of October 7-14, including limiting athletic events during the previous eight days; + The school has not been identified as a significant source for the current spread of the virus, an indication our protocol, when adhered to, is working; o When violations of the school corporation protocol are noted, they are addressed in an immediate fashion; + Our students, instructors, administrators, and coaches have set an example for all of us, through their flexibility, understanding, and patience as we have faced a challenging time. We have full confidence in their continued support and adherence to the requirements that have allowed us to be in class and on the field. + Contact tracing has been performed, with individuals impacted by possible exposures to positive cases placed in quarantine; o 82% of the individuals involved will end their quarantine period on October 19, 2020; + Events originally scheduled to be hosted in Covington have been re-located from the community; + Health screenings are continuing with our students, student – athletes, and staff, with those not passing, being restricted from attendance and/or participation; and + Input provided by the Fountain and Warren County Health Department.
Our decisions are being made with the understanding that they are determined at a respective moment and time. The next moment may well require a different decision. The school corporation, as has been the case since March, continues to monitor the situation, as it relates to sustaining in – person instruction. When a need to modify our operational schedules arise the information will be shared with students, parents, and staff members.
As always, for the school corporation to sustain our operations we need the cooperation of not only those in the buildings each day, but also the school-community. Regardless of our individual opinions of COVID-19 and strategies to combat it, the reality is for our school to have the best chance of remaining open it is important that we all respect opportunities to ensure a healthy and safe environment. This includes, whenever possible, avoiding high risk travel and activities that may perpetuate an impact within and around the school.
Please know, this is not my attempt at telling anyone what to do, rather it is the superintendent of the school corporation sharing what we need help with, if we are to get back into the school buildings and sustain operations. For this to occur, the sooner the current spread is halted, the greater our opportunities of long term in–person instructional success.
Moving forward the school corporation will continue to work closely with Dr. Sharma and the Fountain and Warren County Health Department in a cooperative manner, with a shared goal of identifying the best approaches for keeping our schools open for learning. The county health team has a tough, tough job, a no-win in just about every aspect. I appreciate and thank them for continuously working in the best interests of the safety of our children.
In closing, I hope that everyone has been able to gain some enjoyment from our fall break. I want to thank students, staff, parents, and school – community members for the continued support provided on behalf of our children. I know the past two weeks have not been an easy time, but please rest assured your unyielding love, care, patience, and support is appreciated.