Ohio State Board of Education gives glimpse of what schools could look like this fall

Ohio State Board of Education gives glimpse of what schools could look like this fall
(Source: WAFB)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Ohio State Board of Education shared a draft of their Reset & Restart-Education Planning Guide for Ohio Schools and Districts, which provides a framework for what the 2020-2021 academic year could look like amid the coronavirus crisis.

The state board said the guide was developed with input from educators and education-related organizations, parents, and students to be used as tool for educators to prompt and inform thoughtful local conversations and plans for resetting and restarting school.

The guide will continuously be revised over the coming weeks and months as the State Board of Education collaborates with health experts and receives feedback from education stakeholders, according to the draft.

Once the guide is finalized sometime in the future based upon the latest COVID-19 pandemic information at the time, its purpose is restoring educational achievement of each Ohio student so that they are each on track to attain the One Goal in Each Child, Our Future, Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education.

However, the draft said “returning to school will look different than it did before March 16, 2020” as “the coronavirus remains with us, and Ohio will not likely return to normalcy until there is a vaccine or a cure.”

In the draft, the state board gave the following daily precautions recommended by the Ohio Department of Health for schools to practice:

  • Daily Health Assessments which require students and staff to take their own temperature before reporting to school, and have them stay home if their temperature is above 100 degrees, or they are experiencing other symptoms.
  • Showing symptoms of COVID-19 at school should be treated by wearing a face mask while being placed in a separate isolation room overseen by a school personnel who is also wearing a mask until the ill person goes home.
  • Physical/Social Distancing will have all persons on school grounds and school transportation remain at least 6 feet apart. This could be done by placing markings on floors for visual cues and creating transition schedules that minimize the number of students and staff in common spaces, like hallways and the cafeteria.
  • Face Masks would be required for all persons on school grounds and utilizing school transportation. School nurses and personnel who care for the sick should utilize the appropriate PPE. However, the guide puts in question if the face masks should be provided by districts/schools, or if employees will be expected to have their own. The guide also questions what standard should the face masks have to meet.
  • Good Hygiene Practices should be implemented by making hand sanitizer with a 60-95% alcohol base and sanitizing products available to personnel and students, especially in high traffic areas like each school entrance and every classroom.
  • Clean and Sanitize surfaces frequently with extra attention to high-touch areas like books, chairs, computers, counters, desks, door handles, lavatories, stair handrails, and tables. Cleaning and disinfecting should be done after each group of students leaves the classroom or facility, such as class changes, between cafeteria groups, and after each school day. Supplies should be limitedly shared.
  • Student Learning about age-appropriate COVID-19 control strategies for students should be taught. This includes on-going reinforcement on the importance of appropriate use of face masks, cough and sneeze etiquette, hand washing, physical distancing, and importance of staying home when sick. Schools should also have posters promoting infection control strategies.
  • Employee Training must be provided on how to properly put on, take off, and dispose of PPE. The district should also adequately educate all school personnel to know and recognize the most likely symptoms of COVID-19 and how to protect themselves and students from transmissions.
  • Visitors should be prohibited or limited to emergency situations and enrollment. Those who are granted access must have their temperature checked and have symptoms checked.
  • Diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19 requires families and staff to notify the school and are quarantined or presumed positive. Personnel and students with known exposure to someone diagnosed or presumed positive for COVID-19 must self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
  • Traveling out of state or to a location with known community spread will require the personnel or student to self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
  • Returning to school following quarantine means you met the following conditions: persons with a confirmed COVID-19 case may return after fever is resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication and respiratory symptoms improve and they have two negative COVID-19 test results. Those with a presumed positive case of COVID-19 ay return after at least seven days have passed since symptoms started and 72 hours after fever resolves without the use of fever-reducing medication and respiratory symptoms improve.

The State Board of Education and Ohio Department of Health also recommended that no field trips take place.

The guide draft also touches on attendance, saying students should be recognized for consistent attendance, rather than perfect attendance in the current pandemic environment where keeping students and staff healthy is a priority.

According to the guide, summer practice and fall sport routines will be discussed by state leaders.

Again, the attached document is only a draft of what is being considered:

The coronavirus pandemic prompted the Governor in April to close all Ohio schools to on-campus learning for the remainder of the academic year.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine already said that he is uncertain what the 2020-21 school year will look like for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“I think everyone would like to see schools back in session in August, whatever date they have when they’re going back in, but we’re just going to have to see where we are,” Gov. DeWine said back on May 5.

The Governor also previously mentioned that schools statewide are already preparing to continue remote learning if needed for next year.

He added during last Tuesday’s regular coronavirus briefing from Columbus that another option being considered is “two-day, two-day” plan.

The option would mean one group of students would attend school on two specific days and another group would attend on two different days, all while continuing remote learning, Gov. DeWine explained.

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