Dear Families of the Whitehall City School District,
At the March 11, 2021, WCS Board of Education meeting, the members approved the superintendent’s plan to transition from a hybrid learning mode to a more traditional mode of instruction beginning on April 5, 2021. It has been a year since the pandemic disrupted the way we delivered instruction. Since that time, a plan was created to safely deliver instruction with the goal of returning to a normal school schedule. I’m happy to report the action taken by the Board gets us one step closer to our goal.
The Ohio Department of Health recently changed their school quarantine guidelines COVID -19 K-12 School Quarantine Guidelines which created a modified quarantine period for students in the classroom and on the bus. Students and staff who have been a close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) to a positive case will still need to quarantine unless that contact happened in the classroom or on the bus where people were a minimum of 3 feet apart and both people were wearing masks. While 6 feet of spacing is optimal both the Ohio Department of Health and the Franklin County Public Health recommend 3 feet of spacing, measured from one person’s mouth to the other’s, is acceptable.
This guidance is supported by recent studies and evaluations, including the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation. This change is important and allows us to return all students to the building 5 days a week. We welcome track C students to return but are not requiring them to return if families want to keep their children in the virtual track until the end of the school year.
We are happy to report no evidence of network (in school) transmission between students or staff since the beginning of the year. At this time our community spread is at the lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic. However, I caution you against letting your guard down. We will continue with all of our mitigation strategies with the exception of the following changes:
- All students are welcome to an in-person education and in order to minimize the number of students in quarantine and protect the students and staff from transition we will practice social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Our goal will be 6 feet in all areas except in the classroom and on the bus, which the goal will be 3 feet.
- In order to expedite drop-off we will no longer be taking every students’ temperature on arrival. We are asking parents to do an assessment at the home before the child comes to school.
We’ve been preparing for this moment the day we started developing our Reset/Restart 2020 plan for the district. We have remained nimble and ready to change course whenever the climate of this pandemic dictated. I’m very proud of our students and our entire staff throughout this very trying year. We are ready meet this challenge and excited to bring our kids back.
Brian D. Hamler