Good Afternoon Families,
I hope this letter finds you well.
I am writing today to share with you changes that have been occurring in the school district due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, Perrysburg Schools is planning to continue operating in the current hybrid plan, however, we are closely monitoring the troubling COVID-19 trends in the community. In August we shared with the community and families that we will need to remain flexible as the school district responds to COVID-19 in our community and schools. As you may know, Hull Prairie Intermediate School was shifted for today from a face-to-face day in their hybrid schedule to a remote learning day due to the inability to find substitute teachers to fill in for employees who are out for COVID-19 related reasons.
If these trends continue in the wrong direction, the school district is considering adjusting our hybrid model during the week of Thanksgiving and the week after. This adjustment would make the scheduled school days during these weeks remote learning days for all students. Monday, November 23 would be converted into a teacher workday for planning purposes and would not include remote learning for students. On Tuesday, November 24, remote learning would take place and teachers would be available remotely from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There would be full remote learning the week of November 30-December 4. Teachers in grades 5-12 would provide the schedule for classes to meet virtually following a specific bell schedule November 30-December 4 and elementary teachers would record or link lessons to post to Schoology, post work via Schoology and offer students/families optional “office hours/class/small group meetings” daily during their work day.
Despite the warnings from health officials and Governor DeWine, groups of people will be gathering for the extended Thanksgiving weekend. Some of those gatherings will be indoors and some people will not be social distancing or wearing masks. There is concern that, as a result of these celebrations, there will be more spread of the virus. We know that most people with COVID-19 show symptoms within 3-7 days in the 14-day window after being infected. If there are just 10% more employees quarantined than what we have experienced in the last two weeks, for example, we will not be able to operate some or all schools as we do not have enough substitutes to replace them. After Thanksgiving and the long weekend, it is not unreasonable to anticipate that we will have more employees and students positive for COVID-19 than we had in the last two weeks.
Consider that if we have school in-person the week following Thanksgiving, and just 10% more employees and students are out due to COVID-19 related reasons, then the next two weeks of school may be filled with more employees and students being reported positive, contact tracing, teachers and students being quarantined en masse, and schools being forced to go to remote learning at the last minute with an unknown frequency. I understand that remote learning for a week is incredibly difficult for many families. However, there may be real disruption in the weeks following Thanksgiving as we continue to battle COVID-19.
This potential plan would help ease our current substitute shortage as well as curb holiday exposures from finding their way directly into our schools. It would be our intention to return to our current hybrid schedule for the remainder of this semester. We will notify you on Tuesday if this potential plan for November 23 to December 4 will be carried out, but we wanted to share the possibility now for your planning purposes.
We encourage everyone to continue practicing the recommended steps to help us fight this pandemic: mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing – especially if you plan to spend time with anyone who does not live in your household.
For the first 11 weeks of school, incidence of students and employees having to isolate or quarantine was trending downwards and manageable. Unfortunately, last week and this week saw the number of students positive for COVID-19 triple. This mirrors what the Wood County Health Department is reporting for the area. We are anticipating the lack of teaching and support staff substitutes will continue to impact services across the school district dramatically. In-person instruction may not be sustainable given the anticipated rates of isolation and quarantine among students and employees.
We will do our best to give families and employees as much notice as possible when changes must take place. We understand how disruptive this can be and we are also frustrated that the pandemic is impacting all of our operations and services. Thank you for your patience, support and partnership. We will get through this together.
Please visit this link to view the many student services and supports available to families, from food assistance to mental health resources:
Thomas L. Hosler
419-874-9131 ext. 2103