The one thing that has remained constant with COVID-19 is that we continue to learn more as time passes. You may have heard of new guidance coming from the Ohio Department of Health based on a study conducted by The Ohio State University regarding quarantining students and school employees who are exposed to those who have tested positive for COVID-19. A person is considered a close contact if they were closer than six feet to an infected person for at least 15 minutes during the period beginning 48 hours before the infected person developed symptoms through the time the infected person began quarantine. Until now, these close contacts had been required to stay home from school for ten days.
However, under new guidance, those wearing masks who were three feet or further away from a person at school who tests positive are no longer required to stay home from school for ten days.
In practical terms, that means if a student or staff member contracts COVID-19, the number of those required to stay home will be reduced to almost none (except for the infected person himself). This is because, as the Ohio State study affirmed, the likelihood of in-school spread is miniscule. Take Nordonia as an example: of the 133 students and employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the school year began, we have evidence of only two of those cases being spread at school. The rest of the cases were contracted through community spread. We also know that we can ensure our students and staff are at least three feet away from each other and are required to wear masks. What we have continued to find, and what continually has been reaffirmed by Summit County Public Health (and now The Ohio State University), is that school is one of the safest places for students and staff to be because of the protocols we have in place.
Some additional details:
These guidelines are only in place for students and staff who are contacts of positive cases in a school setting, which includes classrooms, recess, gym, band, choir and buses.
These contacts should still follow regular quarantine protocols when not at school (i.e., isolate from others). That means these contacts may not participate in any extracurricular activities.
These contacts should continue to self-monitor for symptoms and stay home if they have any.
Those who are contacts of positive cases outside of school (e.g., at a family gathering or other event) are still required to quarantine for ten days away from school.
Considering our new knowledge, the Nordonia Schools will be operating under the following model moving forward:
Option 1 Students
January 11-15: Ledgeview, Rushwood and Northfield students attend daily. Lee Eaton, Nordonia Middle School, and Nordonia High School students attend on the hybrid model (Nordonia group Monday/Wednesday, and Knights group Tuesday/Thursday).
January 18-22: Ledgeview, Rushwood and Northfield students attend daily. Lee Eaton, Nordonia Middle School, and Nordonia High School students attend on the hybrid model. (Because January 18 is MLK Jr. Day and schools are closed, Nordonia group attends Wednesday/Friday and Knights group Tuesday/Thursday).
January 26 forward: All students K-12 attend school five days per week. This is the start of the second semester and a natural starting point to make this change. (Note that January 25 is Records Day, and students are not in attendance).
Option 2 Students
Continue remote learning through the end of the year.
Our hope is to remain open five days per week for the rest of the school year. To do that, we must remain diligent in doing all we can to prevent community spread. This means avoiding large gatherings, staying home as much as possible, wearing masks, and washing hands often. In addition, if your child is exhibiting symptoms of illness, even if you think it is minor, keep them home. I have heard dozens of stories from people who tested positive after thinking they initially had a sinus infection or a migraine. If we see spread within the buildings, or if we are unable to staff our buildings, we will be forced to return to either a hybrid or remote model.
As always, thank you for your continued support of the Nordonia Schools, and Go Knights (and Browns)!