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District Calendar Update - 12/15/20

Dear Worthington Parents,

In November we committed to being remote until the end of this week December 18th.  Last night at our Board of Education meeting we determined that we would stay remote the first week back in January and then transition to hybrid learning on January 11, 2021.  

Here is a summary of where we are:

  • Columbus Public Health (CPH) has maintained that in-person schooling is safe for students.
  • Staff quarantines continue to disrupt operations in surrounding school districts.  As of this writing, we have 25 staff members quarantined.  Since we transitioned to Hybrid in September, we have allowed teachers to Zoom into the class if they have tested positive (and healthy to teach) and/or quarantined based on COVID-19.  We have adjusted classified support staff or had teachers during their planning periods assist in the monitoring of the students while the teacher is at home Zooming.  Though not perfect, we have found that it allows the flow of instruction to remain, teachers are able to maintain connections with the students, and it has helped us with the sub shortage, which is awesome!  We are not charging our teachers sick time because they are in fact working, just from home. 

    Currently, Sutter Park and all of our elementary schools have one Permanent Guest Teacher assigned to the building to help with the sub shortage, middle schools have 2, and high schools have 4.  Also, we have 12 "floater" Permanent Guest Teachers that we use when a building needs additional support.  We work every day to find more folks who are willing to join the Worthington Schools as a PGT.  We picked up 3 this week!
  • CPH has followed CDC guidance and reduced quarantine from 14 days to 10.  This will help a little.
  • COVID-19 Analytics and Targeted Surveillance Systems for Schools (CATS) data show that COVID-19 in our community continues to increase.  Current data indicates around 820 cases per 100,000 people. We were around 150 per 100,000 on 10/26.
  • CPH believes COVID-19 will likely continue at this rate until after MLK day where a decrease seems possible.
  • The Ohio Education Association has recommended districts stay remote until January 11th.
  • Anecdotal feedback from many teachers and principals is that they want students in school.  
  • We know that remote learning is isolating and that student mental health is a major concern in remote learning.
  • Providing students food while in remote learning is much more difficult.
  • Most surrounding school districts will be working to bring students into school in at least a hybrid mode.  

Here are the options we considered for January:

  • JANUARY 4 K-12 HYBRID
  • JANUARY 4 K-6 HYBRID / 7-12 REMOTE
  • JANUARY 11 K-12 HYBRID
  • JANUARY 11 K-8 HYBRID / 9-12 REMOTE until 1/15
  • JANUARY 19 K-12 HYBRID

Based on everything we know today, I recommended to the Board that we return to hybrid learning on January 11th K-12. We know we need kids in school.  It's best for kids.  The extra time from the 4th - 11th will allow us to hopefully intercept any students and staff who exhibit symptoms during and after winter break to help circumvent COVID-19 positive spread and corresponding quarantining.   

I expect that January and February will be difficult months both with COVID-19 and the weather.  (Snow days, should they be necessary, will work like any other year.  They will not be remote learning days.)  Once we hit March the weather should get better, being able to be outside should reduce COVID-19 spread and the vaccine will begin to become more readily available.   There are brighter days ahead for all of us! 

Please enjoy your winter break and we look forward to having everyone back in school in January.  

Happy Holidays!

Trent Bowers, Superintendent