SYLVANIA, Ohio — Leaders with Sylvania City Schools announced Wednesday their plan to get elementary kids back to the classroom under their "Green Plan" starting Oct. 26.
After starting remotely under the "Red Plan" for the first two weeks of school, district leaders moved toward a hybrid "Yellow Plan" and committed to that through the end of the first quarter.
"This gave our students and staff time to adjust to new safety procedures related to the pandemic. It has also allowed the district time to assess these protocols as well as changing novel coronavirus case numbers."
The release cited a number of factors as to why the decision was made, including:
- Drop in Lucas County’s novel coronavirus numbers
- Drop in Ohio positivity numbers
- Need for more in-class instruction and socialization
- Assertion by medical professionals that it is best for kids to be back in school
Lucas County’s case numbers have decreased since the mask order went into effect. Case numbers were at a high of 287 per 100,000 residents in the week following the mask order and 110 per 100,000 when the district started school, but those numbers have since steadily declined to 65 per 100,000 residents as of October 8.
However, it should be noted that Ohio's positivity rate is actually increasing once again. DeWine said on Tuesday that the seven-day average positivity rate was at 3.9%, a jump from late last when it had hit below 3%. But, this is still below the World Health Organization's threshold of 5% positivity.
For the most recent Ohio Department of Health COVID map, click here.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
District leaders said students will attend school in person four days per week, based on their current in-building daily schedule.
If Lucas County remains within the district's "green" threshold, elementary schools will begin to reopen under the "Green Plan" on Monday, Oct. 26.
However, if Lucas County experiences 100 or more new cases per 100,000 people in a two week period and/or 8% to more than 10% RT-PCR positive tests in that time period, the elementary will remain on the hybrid plan.
The district's thresholds for each color-coded plan is based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.
The release sent to parents Wednesday stated that Sylvania schools don't have the space to consistently meet the CDC guidance of six feet social distancing.
"Our school buildings vary in age, size and enrollment," the statement read.
Classrooms will instead inconsistently exercise three feet of less of social distancing among students.
However, there are a number of other safety strategies enacted by the district, including:
- Consistent and correct use of masks
- Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Contact tracing with help of local health dept.
- Plexiglass barriers in many classrooms and common areas
- Proper isolation/quarantine protocols for students and staff
- Ongoing attention to Toledo-Lucas County Health Dept., Ohio Dept. of Health CDC orders and recommendations.
With winter on the horizon, it will be more difficult to distinguish COVID-19 from colds, allergies and the flu. TLCHD leaders created a flowchart to help navigate the identification of COVID-19 symptoms.
Parents are asked to follow this guide when assessing any symptoms their child is experiencing. Of course, if your child is sick, they should stay home.
For more information on COVID-19 symptoms, click here.
Leaders with the district also announced on Friday that if Lucas County remains within its Phase II Reopening plan "green thresholds," the district's secondary schools will reopen on Monday, Nov. 9.
The original plan was to have students in grades 6-12 return the same day as the elementary students, however leaders say due to the need to purchase additional PPE in large quantities, the return was delayed.
The general recommendation to help secondary-level students move forward with in-person learning resembles the general recommendation for elementary students:
- Return to school for four days per week
- 100% student attendance
It's important to note that the Nov. 9 date may once again be modified depending on if district metrics for going green remain the same and if the district has the necessary amount of PPE for staff and students.