Greetings Tiger Nation!
I hope this letter finds all of you well. We are deep in the heart of summer at this point, and just like during any summer, we have been working to prepare for the start of the school year. Of course as we all know, that preparation looks very different from the norm. Quite honestly, I never would have imagined writing a letter like this one during my first full summer as superintendent. It is certainly a “back to school letter” that will not be forgotten.
Our Task Force has been working diligently for weeks to prepare for our reopening. Throughout the process, we have kept the following big ideas in the forefront of our planning.
Good health and safety of our students
Good health and safety of our staff members
Children learn best in a face-to-face classroom experience.
Attending school on campus provides opportunities beyond academics, such as for meals, social emotional support, and personal interactions with staff and other students.
In complete transparency, much like the reopening of businesses and facilities across the state of Ohio, there is some level of risk present when students and staff return to occupy our facilities. We recognize this risk and ask that you carefully review not just our reopening plan summary, but also all of the details of the official plan. Although lengthy, you will quickly notice that the official plan is laid out to cover the roles of ALL of us in many components of the educational experience. You see, the only way that we can successfully make it through this situation is as a TEAM. As a district, we commit to the following as a member of this important team:
GEVSD will implement safety protocols to the best of our abilities to minimize risk.
GEVSD will continue to work collaboratively with the Highland County Health Department to promote safety in each of our buildings and with families.
GEVSD will continue being transparent with ALL stakeholders and will communicate new information as it becomes available.
GEVSD will review safety protocols on a regular basis in order to continue to meet the health and safety needs of our students and staff.
We know that you may have questions or concerns that are not addressed in the plan. Please communicate those to us. You will notice that a topic that is not addressed in the plan is what will happen regarding communication, isolation guidelines, and quarantine guidelines that will be implemented when either a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. Our public health region is working on these guidelines, and when we have access to those, we will add them to the plan.
If you review the details for Option 1 and do not feel comfortable with them, details for Option 2 (our virtual educational program) will be included in the plan as well. The deadline for submitting the application for Option 2 is July 31 in order to ensure that we have time to plan accordingly. It is important to remember that if choosing Option 1 for your child(ren), you are committing to a possible shift to blended or remote learning. The Ohio Department of Health has developed a health advisory system that we will utilize in conjunction with guidance from the Highland County Health Department to make changes in our mask policy (at school or on the bus) or in our instructional methods. A shift could occur with little notice, but together as a team, we can make the transition as smooth as possible.
Finally, as we proceed on this journey together, I ask that you consider these words as we all work to relay information to our children as positively as we can.
"You help to determine your child’s outlook. If you’re frustrated, share that in private. Don’t share your frustration with your kids. Set them up for success by teaching them to make the best of it. Stay positive and help teach them resilience and perseverance." - Dr. Chris Peltier, MD, President-Elect, American Academy of Pediatrics - Ohio Chapter
We are excited to welcome our students back for the 2020-2021 school year! We miss them!! It is our hope that we can provide an educational experience as “normal” as it can possibly be with still implementing safety protocols that protect our students and staff. Together, as a team, we can make this work!
Quincey Gray, Superintendent