LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio — Editor's note: The above video originally aired Jan. 3, 2022.
As winter break comes to a close for schools across the state, many districts are implementing new safety plans as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.
During a press conference Wednesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urged school leaders and parents to consider masking up in an effort to combat spread, stopping short of issuing any such orders.
Here's a look at what some northwest Ohio schools are changing to ensure students can stay in the classroom.
HORIZON SCIENCE ACADEMY
Horizon Science Academy Principal Rachel Snyder announced the academy will remain closed for the remainder of the week.
This decision is said to have followed a 78% attendance on Tuesday which was impacted by COVID or students needing to isolate due to COVID exposure.
The principal also stated that during the closure, "staff will work to create sustainable plans to provide instruction remotely should a longer school closure prove necessary."
PERRYSBURG LOCAL SCHOOLS
AS OF Tuesday, Jan. 18: Classes will be in-person, and masks will be required
Perrysburg Local Schools Superintendent Thomas L. Hosler sent a letter home to parents Monday, stating that students were expected to return to class in person on Tuesday, Jan. 4 with masks required, until the district sees a decrease in the number of cases in school buildings.
Hosler cited the following data points as the district leaders' reasoning for the decision to return to masks:
- For the week of Dec. 27 - Jan. 2, 55 students and 24 employees were reported as having COVID-19. Hosler said this was a significant increase from the week prior, where just 12 students and seven employees were reported to suffer from the virus.
- Wood County last week saw a 35% increase in COVID-19 cases (and at the same time, a 30% drop in hospitalizations).
- Wood County last week averaged 140.5 cases per day.
- Wood County last week had 560.32 cases per 100,000, demonstrating high transmission in the community.
- In the 43551 zip code, there were 511 cases in the last two weeks and 1,315.7 cases per 100,000, meaning the spread of the virus in that area is nearly 2.5 times the county average.
Hosler also detailed changes in protocol that took place over winter break:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its isolation and quarantine guidance, later followed by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The Wood County Health Department has since adopted that guidance, which Hosler said the district will continue to follow.
- The district will also be following the ODH flow charts linked here regarding exposure to and diagnosis of COVID-19.
A summary of the COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing guidelines is provided in Perrysburg's Continuity of Service Plan, which is available on the school district website under the "Info, Parents and Staff" tabs, by clicking COVID-19 Information.
A few reminders from Hosler:
- Families and employees are asked to continue to report any diagnosis of COVID-19 and contact with individuals who are positive by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To help streamline the contact tracing process as much as possible, the district continues to encourage families and employees to submit student/employee vaccination information to the school district by emailing an image of the immunization card to email@example.com.
- Students or employees may request a school district-provided KN95 mask using the following link: https://forms.gle/zEvs5zYKA4iokzgM8
- Here is a link to the Wood County Health Department’s list of current vaccine clinics.
"There will be some challenges ahead. As we have seen locally, as well as across the state and nation, schools and businesses have struggled to remain open or to fully staff critical positions to maintain necessary service levels," Hosler told parents Monday. "This week, at the moment, we have enough classroom teacher substitutes or building plans to cover teachers who are out. However, we know we do not have enough substitute drivers to cover all bus routes."
Hosler said Perrysburg's transportation department would be communicating with families should their route be combined or otherwise adjusted.
SPRINGFIELD LOCAL SCHOOLS
Kindergarten through 5th grade should will in person and 6th-12th grade will attend remotely on Jan. 18th. But then all Kindergarten through 12th grade will be in-person on Wednesday, Jan. 19th
TOLEDO PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Will be in-person with masks required as of Tuesday, Jan. 18.
The latest COVID-19 surveillance report shows that 1 TPS employee is currently in quarantine. 35 employees are isolated; a change of +29 from the last reporting period.
No students are quarantined or isolated.
TOLEDO SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS
Toledo School for the Arts is delaying the return from winter break to Monday, Jan. 10.
Students will remain off Wednesday through Friday and no instruction will be provided.
All extra and co-curricular activities (including rehearsals and First Friday) will also be canceled this week and will commence on Monday, January 10th.
OTTAWA HILLS SCHOOLS
Ottawa Hills made the following adjustments to its COVID policy on Thursday:
Students who test positive for COVID-19 must be out of school for five days. Students can then return if they do not have symptoms.
Those students must wear a masks for five days upon return to school. A COVID test is not required to return.
Students exposed to someone who tested positive must quarantine for five days and follow the above protocol.
WASHINGTON LOCAL SCHOOLS
Classes are in person, and masks are required as of Tuesday, Jan. 18.
The week prior to winter break, WLS reported five employees in quarantine, 56 students quarantined from home exposure, 69 students exposed to a confirmed positive case at school and allowed to remain in school masked while quarantining when not in school, nine COVID-positive staff members and 56 COVID-positive students.
Sylvania Schools returns Tuesday with in-person learning.
On Wednesday, the district announced masks will be required for all students and staff. The policy will be re-evaluated at the end of the month.
The district's last posted COVID-19 report for Dec. 10-16 lists 29 new positive cases among students and staff combined.
OREGON CITY SCHOOLS
According to a Jan. 3 email to families from Oregon City Schools Superintendent Hal Gregory, masks will remain optional when students return Tuesday for in-person learning. Quarantine procedures will be adjusted to match the Ohio Department of Health's current guidelines.
From Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, OCS reports eight students positive for COVID-19, 12 staff, 10 students and 18 members of staff quarantined or requested to stay home or masked.
"If we start to see significant COVID spread within our schools, we will revisit the mask optional policy," Gregory writes. "We will let the data drive changes to our procedures."
ANTHONY WAYNE LOCAL SCHOOLS
Students return Wednesday for in-person learning with masks optional.
AWLS' latest COVID-19 reporting as of Dec. 31 lists 11 students and three staff in isolation, seven students and three staff quarantined, 12 students and 3 staff positive for COVID-19 and 19 total student cases and 6 total staff cases.
MAUMEE CITY SCHOOLS
Returning to in-person learning on Wednesday with masks optional.
For the week of Dec. 20-17, 12 new student cases and eight staff cases were reported, plus four staff cases due to a lag in reporting.
BOWLING GREEN CITY SCHOOLS
Classes are in-person and masks are required as of Tuesday, Jan. 18th.
In November, BGCS' mask requirement was reinstated.
From Dec. 13-19, zero staff and students were quarantined due to school-related exposure to COVID-19. Two staff and eight students were in isolation, meaning they had tested positive for school-related COVID-19.
Two staff and 14 students were quarantined due to outside-of-school exposure.
TOLEDO PREPARATORY ACADEMY
Will be closed Tuesday, Jan. 18th, and then be open again on Wednesday, Jan. 19th.
FINDLAY CITY SCHOOLS
Returning to in-person classes on Wednesday, Jan 19th.