Greetings Families and Employees,
I wanted to provide an update on COVID-19 and our plan as to how we will be returning to school. Students will return to school tomorrow, Tuesday, January 4 in-person and with masks required. We are requiring masks for the immediate future, until we see a decrease in the number of cases in our school buildings with the hopes that the amount of spread is receding in our community, and we could potentially return to masks being optional at that time.
Why this path forward? As of today, we have learned the following information:
• For the week of 12/27 to 1/2, 55 students and 24 employees were reported as having COVID-19. This is a significant increase from the week of 12/20 – 12/26 (no students were in school), where just 12 students and 7 employees were reported as having COVID-19.
• Wood County last week has seen a 35% increase in COVID-19 cases (and at the same time a 30% drop in hospitalizations).
• Wood County last week was averaging 140.5 cases per day.
• Wood County last week had 560.32 cases per 100,000, which shows high transmission in the community.
• In the 43551-zip code, there were 511 cases in the last two weeks and 1,315.7 cases per 100,000. This means that the COVID-19 spread in 43551 is nearly 2.5 times the county average.
Here is a quick update on changes in protocol that took place over break:
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their isolation and quarantine guidance, later followed by the Ohio Department of Health. Wood County Health Department has adopted the guidance, so we will continue to follow their lead on all decisions.
• A summary of the COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing guidelines is provided in our Continuity of Service Plan
, which is available on the school district website under the Info, Parents and Staff tabs, by clicking COVID-19 Information.
A few reminders:
• Families and employees are asked to continue to report any diagnosis of COVID-19 and contact with individuals who are positive by emailing [email protected]
• To help streamline the contact tracing process as much as possible, we continue to encourage families and employees to submit student/employee vaccination information to the school district by emailing an image of the immunization card to [email protected]
There will be some challenges ahead. As we have seen locally, as well as across the state and nation, schools and businesses have struggled to remain open or to fully staff critical positions to maintain necessary service levels. This week, at the moment, we have enough classroom teacher substitutes or building plans to cover teachers who are out. However, we know we do not have enough substitute drivers to cover all bus routes. As a result, the transportation department will be communicating with families of students if their route is being combined or otherwise adjusted. As we have experienced with case surges in the past, school district and health department contact tracing and notifications may experience a lag and families should continue to take steps as outlined in our Continuity of Service Plan
We are hopeful that this current surge of cases recedes as quickly as it came. Our priority remains keeping students in the classroom as long as we are able to do so within the current parameters of health officials.
Admiral James Strockdale was the highest-ranking Navy Officer Prisoner of War in Vietnam for nearly eight years. Admiral Stockdale stated:
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
With each of these updates or changes, we recognize that people grow more frustrated. However, as much as we want to hope and have faith that we will return to the life we knew before Covid, we still must deal with the current reality. We remain committed to doing just that and to ensure all students achieve their greatest potential.
Thank you for your continued support.
Thomas L. Hosler