Communication sent via email: March 4, 2020
From: Superintendent Dr. Adam Fineske
Dear parents and Village residents:
As you know, there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ohio. But to prepare for that possibility and its impact on our district and others nearby, superintendents from across Lucas and Wood counties met today with the top public health officials in both counties.
We committed ourselves to sharing best practices and student absentee data to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. Here is a summary of actions from that meeting, as well as steps our district has taken and will soon undertake to stay ahead of this emerging health crisis.
DISTRICT ACTION STEPS:
- Effective immediately and for the foreseeable future, as superintendent I will receive daily attendance reports for both buildings regarding absences by students, faculty, and staff.
- On the recommendation of the Ohio Department of Education, districts are reviewing school safety plans and how those plans address widespread flu and pandemic disease outbreaks. We have started such a review.
- Reviewing our emergency operations plans in collaboration with local health departments and other relevant partners.
- Assessing our continuity plans for teaching and learning, including the use of e-learning and digital or distance-learning options as feasible and appropriate.
- Reviewing all relevant and applicable Board of Education policies and internal administrative guidelines regarding communicable diseases.
- Convening a planning/safety team this afternoon to ensure key individuals are aware of the steps being taken and to rely on this group going forward to identify possible next steps.
- Reviewing resources offered through the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools' Technical Assistance Center, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Supportive Schools.
- Reviewing attendance policies to ensure absences are reported timely and accurately. Going forward, if you are calling in an absence, please state the reason when leaving your message.
- Sharing trends with local health departments particularly if absences appear due to respiratory illnesses.
- Reviewing attendance and sick-leave policies (encouraging students and staff to stay home when sick, using flexibility to allow staff to stay home to care for sick family members)
- Identifying critical job functions and positions and plans for alternative coverage by cross-training staff.
- Planning for Agora – our biennial week of beyond-the-classroom explorations at the Junior/Senior High School – is continuing. The topic of overseas travel will be covered at the April 2 meeting for parents of current sophomores and juniors.
DISTRICT CLEANING PROTOCOLS:
- Moving forward, our custodial crews will scrub the tops of every student desktop in both buildings daily.
- Similarly, those crews will increase the use of the Clorox Total 360 electrostatic disinfectant system, which covers every surface in a classroom quickly with a mist that kills whatever pathogen is present.
- Work with our vendors to ensure we have appropriate cleaning supplies on hand.
- Expand cleaning regimens to increase focus on frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs, light switches, countertops).
KEEPING OURSELVES AND FAMILIES SAFE:
- Use appropriate hand-washing strategies: soap and water for at least 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol (if soap and water are not available).
- Keep your child home from school if he or she is sick.
- Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces.
- Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If you do get sick, stay at home until you are well again so you don't spread more germs.
We continue to monitor and receive advice from the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Ohio Department of Education, AASA | The School Superintendents Association, the Ohio School Boards Association, the National School Boards Association, legal counsel and others.
We will share the steps above with the YMCA of Greater Toledo, which runs our fee-based after-school program at the Elementary School, as well as leadership of the Village of Ottawa Hills/Office of Village Life. Village leadership is also meeting today with local governmental counterparts and officials from health departments.
We will continue to update you as new information becomes available. Thank you for supporting our students and this district.
- Dr. Adam Fineske
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