Happy Thanksgiving! I have several items for you today in this long but important message.
1. This week, Summit County Public Health (SCPH) released an advisory recommending people only leave their homes to go to work, school, or for essential needs such as food and medicine. The advisory ends December 16, 2020. Accordingly, effective immediately we are not allowing spectators to school athletic events or community use of our facilities during this time period.
2. All students are on Thanksgiving break from Monday, November 23 through Monday, November 30. Students will return to school on Tuesday, December 1 under their current plan. That means students at Ledgeview, Northfield and Rushwood will attend five days per week, and students at Lee Eaton, Nordonia Middle School and NHS will be on the hybrid plan. Because Monday, November 30 is a day off for all students, Nordonia group students at the hybrid schools will attend Wednesday and Friday, December 2 and 4.
3. Student and staff safety is our highest priority. As we have seen the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 increase, some are wondering at what point we will move to a completely remote learning situation, or if a threshold exists that we must meet before making that determination.
We are not yet at the point where remote learning makes the most sense for us. Currently, less than 2% of our student body at NHS has tested positive, around 1% at the middle school, and the positive rate at our other buildings is a fraction of a percent. With the help of Summit County Public Health (SCPH), we trace the contacts of every positive case, and we have consistently found that students and staff are not catching the virus at school. Rather, they are contracting it through community spread, either at a large group gathering or from their families, who may have contracted it from work, church, or other gatherings.
I meet with SCPH every week, and they continue to advise us to stay the course, that school is the safest place for kids to be because when they are here we know they are socially distancing, wearing masks, washing their hands and avoiding large gatherings.
We will consider moving to remote schooling if we begin to see the spread of COVID-19 within school; if staff absence rates are such that we can’t responsibly operate a building; student absence rates are so high that opening school would not make sense; or state or local health officials either mandate or recommend moving into a remote learning model.
Until then, we ask that you continue to avoid large gatherings, maintain space around others, wear masks, and wash hands frequently. In addition, please do not allow your children to attend or host parties, sleepovers, or other sorts of events, and please keep your children home if they are exhibiting any symptoms of illness.
I wish you all the happiest and safest of Thanksgivings. Thanks for your continued support of the Nordonia Schools, and Go Knights!