Reported below are the 2021-22 weekly totals of positive COVID cases within the district (students and staff) confirmed by the Lake County General Health District, and weekly totals of individuals requiring quarantine due to experiencing a close contact while at school. Numbers are updated daily.
While there remain strong feelings around several different aspects of the COVID pandemic, what we can all agree on is that we want our kids to be safe and to get the greatest benefit out of their school experience as possible. We have been carefully monitoring conditions and making necessary adjustments to our opening plan on an ongoing basis. At this point, we are too close to the opening of the school year to have uncertainty and to be operating under tentative plans.
As stated clearly as a priority by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we seek to engage--and keep engaged--students in high-quality in-person instruction proceeding as safely and prudently as possible. The district’s approach is to reinstate as many “normal” school experiences as possible, while layering in as many protections as possible to keep students and staff safe and to minimize the need for quarantine in the event of a positive COVID case. Among the layered protections which will be in place are symptom screening, cleaning/disinfecting, social distancing, and general hygiene and respiratory etiquette practices. Additionally, universal mask usage has become a necessary component of this strategy. To open the 2021-22 school year, all students, staff, and building visitors (regardless of vaccination status) will be required to wear a mask.
Students will be required to wear a mask while riding a school bus/van, as well as any time indoors, with the following exceptions:
These masking practices achieve two goals: 1) they provide effective learning conditions across the full instructional program, and 2) they provide conditions under which the likelihood of close contact requiring quarantine are significantly reduced. While some opportunities for exposure still remain, the vast majority of students will be protected from the possibility of quarantine for the vast majority of the school day.
We understand the public fatigue with mask use, the general appetite for returning to normalcy, and the strong hope that we would be able to open the school year largely under “pre-pandemic” conditions. However, preventative measures are only valuable if they are enacted in time; if we wait for things to get worse, we miss our opportunity to reduce potential damage and disruption. With the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Department of Health, and Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) all strongly recommending universal masking in schools at this time, it is a prudent measure which gives us the best opportunity to keep students in school.
Students should be prepared to operate under these masking practices for the first quarter of the school year (until October 15). We will continue to monitor community spread and the ongoing guidance from the LCGHD, with the hopes of returning to normalcy as soon as is safely possible. We will, however, continue to prioritize safety while offering as many student experiences and opportunities as possible. As has been the case all along, this is a continually changing situation, and we will communicate any changes as they occur. However, please know that we will be opening the year as described above. Please see the district website for the full return-to-school plan. We are extremely appreciative of your patience and understanding.