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Perrysburg Schools News Article

COVID-19 Update 11/21/21

Dear Families, Employees and Community Leaders,
 
I want to begin by saying thank you for your patience and understanding this school year. As we approach the holidays and the end of the semester, we are grateful that this school year has brought so many positive experiences for the nearly 5,700 students who we serve. This is not to say that there have not been some challenges that we have had to overcome together. Unfortunately, the next few weeks may prove to be the most challenging we have yet to face this school year.
 
In the last week and a half, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased sharply in Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg and in our schools. The purpose of this message is to provide families and employees with this week’s data and share what this means to our plans moving forward. 
 
The Board of Education’s collective goal is to keep our students and employees healthy and our schools open so learning may continue in a face-to-face environment. This goal has remained unchanged throughout this school year. To that end, we have and must remain flexible and take the steps necessary to achieve our goals. Adapting to these changes may be frustrating to some students, families and employees, however, these adjustments are necessary to achieve our goal. 
 
I feel it necessary to share the following information at this time since things in our community and schools may change rapidly.
 
As of Friday, November 19, 2021:
  • 67 positive COVID-19 cases have been confirmed for the week as of noon Friday in our school district. 
  • There were 70 emails in the Covid Team’s mailbox on Friday at 5:00 p.m. that have yet to be processed that may yield more positive cases. 
  • Last week, the school district had 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • The 67 confirmed cases this week exceeds the previous highpoint this year, which occurred during the week of 11/1 to 11/7 with 35 cases, by 191%. 
  • The 67 positive cases this week exceeds the highest weekly total from the 2020-2021 school year, which occurred during the week of Nov. 13-19, 2020, with 38 cases, by 176%. Schools went virtual during this week last year (11/17/20).
  • Current contact tracing and notifications cannot keep up with the rising number of cases in the schools. This creates a scenario where students are in the schools after being exposed in a school setting to COVID-19 without masks for several days before being notified. This leads to further spread in the school setting.  
  • Since masks became optional on 10/27/21 (3 weeks ago), there have been 158 positive cases. In the 10 weeks prior with universal masking, we had a total of 195 cases.
 
This week’s cases (67) nearly double the number of positive cases we have seen in a week’s time throughout the entire pandemic.  
 
We are hearing from families and employees alike that the inability to effectively contact trace and notify families in a timely fashion is creating significant problems for families to manage their child’s health and make timely health decisions. Recent conversations with the Wood County Health Department, where district leaders shared their concerns about the inability to keep up with cases, provided no immediate relief as cases are surging across the county. The school district is working on behalf of the health department because it can more quickly contact trace and notify families of exposure.
 
The decision three weeks ago to return to masks being strongly recommended was made when cases fell to 16 per week and the quarantine guidelines issued by the Ohio Department of Health changed to allow students and employees exposed to COVID-19 in a classroom setting to remain in school while wearing a mask. This kept students in the classroom and presented the district’s Covid Team with the ability to effectively manage the declining number of COVID-19 cases. Today, circumstances have changed dramatically. 
 
Because of these factors, effective Monday, November 22, 2021, all employees, students and visitors will be required to wear a mask while inside any Perrysburg Schools facilities regardless of vaccination status through Thursday, December 16, 2021. The COVID-19 data for the school district and community will continue to be evaluated regularly and it is our hope that the data during this time and over winter break will see a significant reduction in cases. The school district will communicate with families and employees over winter break if there will be a change in the school district’s masking status.
 
A summary of the COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing guidelines is provided in our updated Continuity of Service Plan, which is available on the school district website. This information may be found on our website under the Info, Parents and Staff tabs, by clicking COVID-19 Information. 
 
It is clear that action is needed at this time to avoid further spread. Last year, school buildings were closed due to the high levels of employees needing to isolate and/or quarantine. The substitute pool remains seriously understaffed and from a pure desire to operate schools and keep our doors open, wearing a mask now and getting the vaccine are schools’ best chance to do just that. We will continue to monitor the situation as we have in the past and are looking forward to easing protocols and ultimately returning to a place where masks and other precautions are not needed. 
 
Again, thank you for your understanding, patience and grace. I hope that each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving break. 
 
Peace,
Tom H.
 
Thomas L. Hosler
Superintendent
Perrysburg Schools
419-874-9131 ext. 2103
 
 

Posted Sunday, November 21, 2021
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