Friday, Nov. 20, 2020
Hello, Yellow Springs Students and Families!
I hope everyone is keeping well!
I want to talk to you about our educational approach and the upcoming holidays.
As you know, we have been 100% virtual since the beginning of the year. As part of our second quarter plan, we are bringing students into the building in limited numbers on Wednesdays.
For the past two Wednesdays, Mills Lawn School had 120 students in the building (including those in Safe Centers) for half-day sessions. This is approximately 34% of the Mills Lawn student body.
The first Wednesday at the middle school/high school, roughly 27% of the student body participated in academic tutoring and 6% participated in afternoon club/social activities. The following Wednesday that increased to 35% for academic tutoring and 17% in club/social activities.
What an indication of the need our students have to be connected! I want to give a huge shout out of recognition to our teachers, administrators, and staff for their hard work in making this happen in a very safe way.
We might actually consider these Wednesdays test runs as we make plans for an eventual return to in-person learning at 50% capacity. At present, we are in a 100% remote learning approach until the end of the first semester, January 15, which was detailed in the Bulldog Blueprint 2.0 at the October 8 board meeting. In that plan, it was also noted that a transition workgroup would develop a plan for our return beginning the second semester, which I will recommend to the board at the December board meeting.
It is critically important for everyone to understand that, even though COVID-19 numbers are incredibly high right now, we still need a plan, even if we must remain completely virtual at the start of the second semester. The criteria for HOW we return in-person and WHEN we return in-person will be clearly articulated in our plan that I will recommend to the board in December.
Finally, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I ask all of us to continue to do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
What does this mean?
Greene County remains at Level 3 under the Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System, meaning we are experiencing very high exposure and spread of the virus.
The risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases in the following ways:
- The lowest risk is virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.
- Slightly more risky activities are smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area.
- Higher risk activities are medium-sized in-person gatherings where people may be 6 feet apart and wearing a mask, but those at the gathering come from outside the local area.
- The highest risk activities are large in-person gatherings where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, those at the gathering are from outside the local area, and not everyone consistently wears a mask.
WHAT CAN YOU/WE DO?
We must rethink how we do upcoming holiday gatherings – think small, immediate household family members only. Think outdoors if possible.
We should travel only when essential, particularly if we are traveling out-of-state.
We must wear a mask if we are with ANYONE not in our immediate family household. Your brother who lives in another city who visits you may be your family, but you have no idea what contact he has had with others.
On the table Positivity Rates 11/19/20, states highlighted in boldface are on Ohio’s Travel Advisory List. The Ohio Department of Health advises that if anyone travels to states reporting positivity rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19, they self-quarantine upon return for 14 days. One might also assume that this works in reverse for family members coming to visit you from out-of-state. The other states listed on this table are all states that border Ohio and their corresponding positivity rates. In general, the upper threshold for positivity rates should be below 5%, according to the World Health Organization.
This graphic The Bubble You Think You Have from the Ohio Department of Health details knowing the size of your bubble. All of our circles/bubbles are much larger than we think. This graphic, and additional information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and our role in preventing its spread, will be posted on our website.
The Board and I are thankful for the tremendous support shown for our schools by our students and families. As superintendent, I am so grateful that I work with the talented and highly dedicated staff of Yellow Springs Schools.
Personally, I give thanks every day that I am here in this wonderful community with residents that understand the value of science and the responsibility we all bear in keeping each other safe.
While I am disappointed and sad that I will not see my family in Cincinnati and Philadelphia next week, I am grateful they are safe and healthy. I imagine many of you will be in the same situation and feeling the same way.
I wish all of you a safe, healthy, and blessed holiday.
Together we will get through this.
Dr. Terri L. Holden