Letter From The Superintendent: Planning for the second semester

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December 8, 2020
 

Dear Boone County Families,
 

As we enter the final two school weeks of 2020, I want to share a draft of what we are planning for our second semester of the school year.  This framework for the winter and spring months is designed so that you may anticipate how we plan to move forward.  Of course, any planning that we do may need to be adjusted for the situation at the time.
 

First, I want to remind each of you of the TriState Strong: Getting to Zero program that will be broadcast at 7 pm, Thursday, December 10th(Event press release)

This program is produced by The Regional COVID Communications Center (RC3) and generously supported by Procter & Gamble.  The program will be shared on TV by WCPO 9, WKRC Local12 and CETConnect/Think-TV. It will stream on The ENQUIRER/cincinnati.com, and 91.7 WVXU Cincinnati Public Radio, wvxu.org.   Radio One stations (101.1FM The Wiz, 100.3FM Cincinnati’s R&B station, and The Buzz 1230AM and101.5 FM) are also in partnership with this initiative.  This first-of-its-kind media event convenes leaders in business and healthcare, plus front-line hospital workers, local celebrities and respected voices in education, sports, the arts, and faith-based organizations to share an urgent message with the public.  The unifying message:  Everyone can do something to help reach zero positive cases, zero hospitalizations, zero closures, zero deaths.  Additional participants will include staff and patients from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center/UC Health, and St. Elizabeth Healthcare.  The program includes no politics and no hype, just well-known local people sharing their experiences and advice. Among them are Radio One’s Lincoln Ware and WLW’s Mike McConnell, the Rev. Damon Lynch III, Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, Cincinnati Reds COO Phil Castellini, and iconic West-side restaurateurs Mike and Mark LaRosa.
 

Unfortunately, it appears that we will have a long and challenging winter with COVID-19 as the case numbers in our community and region are extremely high.  Several medical experts have expressed their concerns that COVID-19 numbers and the general healthcare situation across the country may only worsen during the winter months.  Therefore, we must emphasize the support and improvement of virtual instruction and mental health activities across the district and also be prepared to transition to in-person instruction when the conditions are appropriate.  Navigating through the 2nd semester we will use our updated decision-making criteria for opening and closing, see below.
 

Boone County School District
COVID-19 District & School Status Decision-Making Criteria

The Boone County School District is working very closely under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kentucky Department of Education and Northern Kentucky Health Department to develop on-going plans for the 2020-2021 school year.  In addition to these government entities, we regularly collaborate and learn from regional healthcare providers to ensure that we balance the needs of our students, which include socioemotional health, school participation, and academic achievement. 

As a district, we may have to close a portion of a school, a single school, or multiple schools; however, we will refrain from closing the entire school district if at all possible.

When making decisions about the status of our district and schools, we will consider multiple measures of the safety and health of our students and staff.  These important decisions are made in the context of each individual school situation using the following information:

·         Health & well-being of students and staff

·         Academic and socioemotional performance and needs of students

·         Incidence Rate (daily new cases per 100K population, 7-day rolling average)

·         Trend line of daily new cases per 100K population

·         Infection rate

·         Quarantine data and its impact on schools

·         Successful implementation of school health & safety protocols

·         Directives from the NKY Health Department, KY Department of Education, and KY Governor
 

Here is the draft general framework and schedule for the 2nd half of the year:

  1. Return after Holiday Break (week of Jan. 4th) – we will return from the holiday break providing virtual instruction for a period of two weeks, pending COVID-19 metrics in our schools and county.  This buffer period is necessary to allow potential cases from holiday gatherings to be identified.  This two-week window is a time where we need your help in returning to in-person instruction by the limiting of social gatherings and following the same safety protocols we use in our schools: wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands often, and cleaning common surfaces.
  2. Begin the return to In-Person instruction using the Hybrid model on Tuesday, January 19th – after the MLK holiday we will return on Tuesday, pending COVID-19 metrics in our schools and county, using our A/B hybrid schedule to reduce student numbers in the schools after the buffer period.  We will use our school & district decision making criteria to open or close during this time.  This model would reduce student numbers and provide additional social distancing during the winter period.
  3. Transition to 4-days a week of In-Person Instruction the end of the 3rd quarter on Thursday, March 18th – Pending COVID-19 metrics in our schools and county and our decision making criteria, this is our target date for the preferred instructional model.  However, we may need to move this date as appropriate based on the current conditions.
  4. Return from Spring Break on April 19th using the Hybrid model for one week – this would reduce student numbers and provide additional social distancing after a potential period of student and/or family travel during the break.  After this week, the district would transition back to 4-days of instruction per week pending COVID-19 metrics in our schools and county and our decision-making criteria.
  5. Complete the 2020-2021 School Year – we will celebrate the accomplishments of our students and staff at the end of the school year, hopefully in-person.
     

I cannot emphasize enough this is a rough draft of a general framework of the semester.  The goal is to communicate a general plan of action to everyone with full knowledge that we will have to make adjustments based on the current situations but that we will limit transitions as much as possible as they are stressful, difficult, and challenging for everyone.  As many schools are still working hard to get parents’ decision–making completed for the 2nd semester, I ask that you contact your child's school if you wish to change their mode of instruction to in-person instruction or virtual instruction.
 

Take care of yourself, your family, and your community.

Sincerely,

Matthew L. Turner
Superintendent

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