Greene County schools release common agreement for 2020-2021 school year

Local News

GREENE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – Today, Governor DeWine announced some guidelines concerning the upcoming school year.

Just hours before, Greene County school districts announced their common agreements on practices that they would implement at each agency.

DeWine said Ohio school teachers and staff members will be required to wear a face covering unless it’s unsafe for their job. Children in third grade and up will be strongly encouraged to wear a mask.

“Career techs are different,” said DeWine. “We’ve had many conversations with my friends in those areas, because those in career technical schools face special challenges.”

The superintendent of Greene County Career Center, Dave Deskins, told 2 NEWS in a statement the Governor is right, that career- technical schools have special challenges. His full statement read:

“Governor DeWine was absolutely correct when he pointed out that career-technical schools have special challenges. Our students require hands-on learning and that is problematic with an on-line learning model.  It’s very difficult to teach a future welder, hair stylist or auto technician how to do their jobs through on-line learning. We have great partnerships with all of the school districts we serve in Greene County and will do all we can to ensure that we can offer instruction in a safe environment.”

In Greene County, public school districts, the Greene County Educational Service Center. and Greene County Career Center said they will follow their common agreement guidelines in the upcoming school year. They are as follows:

  1. Each school district will implement recommended health and safety protocols to the highest degree possible;
  2. Each school district will work closely with the Greene County Public Health to promote health safety in each school building;
  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. Each school district recognizes 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 district customization.
  5. Each school district and agency, at this time, is planning to maintain their previously approved start dates for their school calendars with some possible minor adjustments for the student start date to allow for employee professional development.

Daily Self-Monitoring

  • Parents of students should monitor their child’s temperatures and overall health on a daily basis before allowing a student to come to school.
  • Regular washing of hands will be encouraged throughout school day for both students and staff.
  • Greene County School Districts may establish locally developed protocols for daily monitoring of students and staff in conjunction with GCPH.

Student Illnesses

  • A student with a fever of 100.4 F or over should stay home without exception.
  • A student who has the COVID-19 symptoms described below should stay home from school and should see doctor/primary care provider to be assessed for COVID-19:
  • Any of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing OR Two of the following symptoms: fever (measured or subjective), chills, rigors, myalgia, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, gastro-intestinal issues (nausea/vomiting or diarrhea) OR Any of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, fever (measured or subjective), chills, rigors, myalgia, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, GI Issues (nausea and vomiting or diarrhea) AND an epidemiological link to a case of COVID-19

Returning to School after Illness

  • If a student is diagnosed with COVID-19, the student must meet the following criteria in order to return to school. (These protocols may change as determined by GCPH.)
  • 3 days with no fever (without using fever-reducing medication) AND
    • Other symptoms improved AND
    • 10 days since symptoms first appeared
    • To return to school after a confirmed case of COVID-19, the student must be transported to school by the parent and must be checked by the school nurse.
  • Students who have only a fever and no other symptoms and have not had any contact with an individual who has COVID-19 may return to school after being fever-free for 24 hours without using any fever-reducing medications.
  • Any other illness should be handled in the routine manner as prescribed in district policies.

Communication protocol will be developed by Greene County Public Health– not the school district.

A common template will be developed by the GCPH to include the following:

  • Specify to parents which classroom/bus/school/other area the confirmed case was in.
  • More generalized statement to building staff as needed.
  • School will cooperate with GCPH in contact tracing to identify close contacts of COVID-19 case.
  • A quarantine period may be required for any student/staff member who is determined to have close contact with the COVID-19 case as determined by GCPH.
  • GCPH will write a letter for school district usage. The letter will explain/define what is considered close contact to a COVID-19 case that will result in quarantine.

Sanitizing/Disinfecting School Environment

Each school district will follow guidelines as provided by GCPH. Schools will frequently clean high-touch areas, objects, equipment and surfaces such as water fountains and restrooms using cleaning products effective against coronavirus.

Food Service

All districts will offer food service. Logistics for this service will be determined by each district in
compliance with GCPH.

Face Coverings

Each school/district will determine where/when staff and students will wear face coverings. This will be situational and will be determined by each school’s unique circumstances. Face coverings are
recommended for all students and staff particularly if they are within six feet of another person.

Classroom Occupancy

Districts will inform parents that safety protocols are in place but that any person who reports to the
school campus will encounter some level of risk. Districts will decrease the likelihood of infection with hygiene practices, cleaning, and safety procedures. Again, being in a public place has a certain level of risk that cannot be eliminated.

  • Classroom occupancy will be determined based on individual circumstances with the maximum amount of safety considerations possible.

In-School Learning OR Remote Learning

School districts will offer remote learning option(s) for parents who do not wish to send their child to school. (This may or may not include GCESC/GCCC programs as it will depend on the specific program/service.)

Parents/guardians may choose from two options:

  1. Send their child to school in the building (assume some level of risk), OR
  2. Agree to remote learning from home for child for one semester at a time. Students will not be permitted to come in and out of remote learning within each semester.

Visitors/Volunteers

There are different levels/types of school visitors, and each district will make decisions for each situation.

  • Safety protocols such as taking temperatures may be implemented for all visitors.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors are generally discouraged from being in school district facilities.
  • Masks may be required of visitors.

Transportation

  • Greene County schools may allow multiple students per seat depending on the situation.
  • Districts will attempt to seat siblings together.
  • Seating charts are recommended to assist with contact tracing if that is needed.
  • Face masks may be required for drivers and may be required for students. If a district requires students to wear a mask on the bus, the district may refuse to transport a student who refuses to do so.
  • 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/Other Activities

  • 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.
  • Students must sanitize their hands after recess.
  • Schools may develop specific plans around field trips, assemblies that are unique to their
  • specific situations.

A few Greene County School Districts told 2 NEWS they would release district-specific guidelines next week. 2 NEWS will provide those updates when they’re made available.

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