SLSD Announces Re-Opening Plan For Fall 2020

Thursday, July 9th, 2020 3:12pm

By Southwest Local School District, John Hamstra, news release

Parents will need to speak to their intent for schooling and how their child will receive instruction for the first semester of this coming school year by July 17.

(Harrison, Oh.) - Today, Southwest Local Schools Superintendent John Hamstra announced the plans for the upcoming school year: 

Greetings, SLSD Parents and Guardians;                                                                                                                          

We appreciate both your patience and support as we have spent the last several weeks assembling our “Back to School 2020” plan for this fall. As we have worked through countless scenarios, it became apparent, rather quickly, that there is no PERFECT Plan.

We also appreciate the over 2,500 parents that took the time to provide input with our survey in late June. Attached below is our plan to bring both staff and students back safely to school this fall. The plan has two primary options for families:  in-person / traditional school, and a virtual route for those not comfortable sending their student(s) back yet.

You will need to tell us your intention, by July 17, 2020, of which option you are choosing for each school-age child in your home.  This will be done in Final Forms on a form called "Reopening of Schools," available by clicking HERE.  To complete the "Reopening of Schools" form, click on the "Incomplete Forms" button, or just click on your student’s name, and complete all forms including the "Reopening of Schools" form.  Be sure to type your name in the Parent/Guardian Signature line of each form and click "Submit Form" on each form.  It is important that you update any contact or address info to assist us in communicating with you.  

To better assist you in your decision making for the two instructional options available for this fall (in-person or 100% virtual), please see the Virtual Instruction Model page on our district website for more information about that option.  That page can be accessed HERE

Our first and most important goal every school year is safety, again, for both staff and students. This fall, that focus will be heightened exponentially. Our mission must also be lived – “Academic and Social Growth for ALL students, every day!” We believe our plan, which was shaped by parent input, the Ohio Department of Health, the Hamilton County Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Ohio Department of Education and numerous Hamilton, Butler and Warren County School Districts, balances both the added safety precautions and our mission.

It’s important to note – there are risks associated with any plan, and our two options both carry risks. Bringing staff and students back together, in a traditional school setting before a COVID-19 vaccine is available, creates exposure potential. Keeping kids home, in a virtual school setting, lessens the ability to socialize with peers and teachers in a more personal manner, and hinders the daily structure and food support aspects.

School will look very different this fall, in terms of the safety measures in place:
*Symptom assessment of both staff and students – daily.
*Increased sanitation / cleaning measures conducted throughout the day.
*Social distancing and face coverings.
*Constant risk assessment and mitigation efforts.
*Visitors in the schools will be minimized a great deal. 

We need your help!
Our plan is, and will continue to be, fluid as time moves on. Please be flexible as we work to keep both safety and our mission front and center. We are asking that parents / guardians of Kindergarten to 8th grade students that can transport their child(ren) to school each day, do so. The social distancing expectation hits our transportation efforts the hardest. The new guidelines reduce our bus capacity by 33%. Parents transporting their kids the first few weeks of school will help us greatly. And be please be patient during drop off and pick up – lines will be longer than normal.

Again, parents will need to speak to their intent for schooling and how their child will receive instruction for the first semester of this coming school year by July 17 via Final Forms.

 Some additional items for parents consider for this fall:

  1. Have a plan in place in the event a spike in cases occurs in our schools or in our community.  We may be forced to shift quickly to a remote learning set up, like we did 4th quarter this past school year.
  2. Have a plan in place for your student if they become sick at school.  They will need a ride home immediately, and childcare will need to be provided.  We do not have the physical space to house large numbers of sick children.
  3. Perform daily health screenings on your child – including daily temperature checks.  Any student that has a temperature of 100+ degrees will not be allowed at school.
  4. When a student or staff member is tested and is found positive for COVID-19, a minimum 14-day quarantine will result.

Please be sure to read the attached summation and complete plan below for further details that are location specific.

SLSD Re-Opening - Plan Summary
SLSD Re-Opening - Complete Plan
State of Ohio COVID-19 Health and Prevention Guidance for Ohio K-12 Schools

Thank you in advance, for working with us as we navigate these uncertain times. Together we will get through this and be stronger as a result

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