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Otsego Local Schools returning to full in-person learning

In order to keep the plan throughout the academic year, leaders say students and staff will have to follow very strict safety guidelines.

TONTOGANY, Ohio — Otsego Local Schools leaders announced Monday to families that staff and students will be back in the classroom all five days of the week. 

Although in order for the plan to be in place for as long as possible, leaders in the district say there will be very strict safety guidelines

"We're going to have face shields and masks available for our kids. All of our staff will have masks on and social distance as much as possible," Superintendent Adam Koch said.

There are two critical factors to make sure students and staff are back in the building Monday through Friday, according to the superintendent. Those are making sure the number of infections is down and staffing levels are up. 

If not, plans will have to change.

"We've instructed our parents that we're going to have to pivot on a dime in the next couple weeks. We will closely monitor the cases in our community and see where it goes," Koch said.

Right now, the superintendent says they are rearranging all the rooms for social distancing and adding table dividers to the elementary classrooms.

Other changes for the district include daily temperature checks and extra lunch periods. Additionally, leaders will encourage families who can get to school with their own transportation to do that instead of busing.

To keep in-person, everyday classes happening, Koch says that requires everyone to be understanding and flexible.

If the county's coronavirus levels increase, the district could have to change course.

"The level three or the red is going to trigger a conversation (with the Health Department) and collaboration to determine if we need to switch to a hybrid model and maximize our social distancing and reduce the number of kids in our classrooms," Koch said.

The superintendent says constant monitoring of the county's levels and their district's levels will be key to making sure they can continue going to class in-person. 

Wood County recently moved down to orange in the state's COVID-19 mapping system.

A link to the district's full reopening plan is available here.

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