Jackson Local Schools' reopening models for 2020-21
Restart Jackson: Meeting students, families where they are; giving them learning choices
SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND
The health and safety of our students, staff, and volunteers will be paramount when the Jackson Local School District Restarts for the 2020-2021 school year. The coronavirus pandemic presents unique challenges to schools reopening when factors related to social distancing are considered. However, the American Academy of pediatrics has noted schools are fundamental to the development of children and adolescents. Having students gather in school involves an inherent risk for students and staff. It is not practical — or even physically possible if all students return to school — to expect students to keep 6 feet of social distance in our schools or on our buses. Studies have shown providing 3 feet of social distancing along with wearing a face covering, regular hand sanitization, and eye protection provides some level of protection from COVID-19. However, no approach provides complete protection from the disease. Feedback from our families, students, and staff helped to shape our Restart Jackson Plan, including our Face-covering policy.
The Jackson Local School District will remain vigilant and nimble in responding to COVID-19 developments. However, any signs of a cluster of new cases in a school or the local community will result in a re-evaluation of mitigation strategies working closely with the Stark County Health Department, Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio Department of Education.
In late June, the Lancet, a renowned medical journal, published a systematic review and meta-analysis of available medical information related to the effectiveness of physical distancing, face coverings, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person spread of the virus. What the review confirmed is these non-medicine-based interventions play a key role in limiting transmission of the virus:
- Social distancing
- Face covering
- Eye protection
- Good hand hygiene
Alone, the Lancet wrote, each of these things offer some protection. However, as they are layered together, they provide an increasingly stronger barrier of defense against the virus.
It is IMPERATIVE students and their parents or caregivers conduct daily health checks PRIOR to going to school, which should include temperature checks and assessing symptoms. Anyone with a temperature above 100ºF should stay home. Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. They are:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Loss of taste or smell
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Our school health professionals will follow guidance from local public health experts when students, staff, or volunteers, who start to show symptoms or have a temperature above 100ºF while at school. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or are suspected to have COVID-19 must experience an improvement in symptoms and isolate for a period of time before returning to school. The Stark County Health Department will provide protocol for individuals to follow and work with the Jackson Local School District health professionals.
The Jackson Local School District will clean surfaces frequently and pay close attention to public and high-touch areas and any shared materials. To the extent supplies are available to the district, sanitation wipes, disinfectants, and other cleaning supplies will be available in each classroom. Each evening, our custodial staff will conduct thorough cleanings of our spaces to disinfect high-touch areas such as sinks, filing stations, door handles, tables, and desks.
When possible, students will maximize distance between one another. How much physical distance between individuals is dependent upon the return rate of our students. It is important for students to remember returning to school in 2020-2021 will not be the same social environment as it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. When everyone follows social distancing guidelines, we can maximize our physical distance. However, to expect 6 feet of social distancing at all times is NOT practical.
Students being transported to school on district buses are REQUIRED to wear a face covering over their nose, mouth and chin. Students who live in the same household are strongly encouraged to sit together when necessary. Social distancing on school-provided transportation will be encouraged and maximized as practical. Buses will operate with windows open as weather permits. Enhanced cleaning will take place at the conclusion of each bus transport.
The Jackson Local School District will limit the number of visitors to its buildings during the student day for the 2020-2021 school year. Visitations will be limited to essential visitations and for emergency situations only. Those entities in partnership with the Jackson Local School District, health care providers, local government agencies providing additional wraparound services to students, and staff of those partners will be allowed entrance into buildings following the same precautions as school personnel. Building-level administrators have the discretion to determine essential visitation.
FACE COVERING POLICY
8450.01 -- Protective Facial Coverings During Pandemic/Epidemic Events
During times of elevated communicable disease community spread (pandemic or epidemic), the Superintendent will issue periodic guidance through Board plans/resolution(s) in alignment with public health officials and/or in accordance with government edicts and including any Pandemic Plan developed by the District’s Pandemic Response Team under Policy 8420.
School settings can be a source of community spread. Wearing face masks/coverings is especially important during these times and can help mitigate the risk of exposure from person to person.
As such, during times of elevated communicable disease community spread, all school staff, volunteers, and visitors (including vendors) must wear appropriate face masks/coverings on school grounds unless it is unsafe to do so or where doing so would significantly interfere with the District’s educational or operational processes.
Face coverings/shields will be provided by the District to employees. Alternatively, employees may elect to wear their own face coverings if they meet the requirements of this policy as well as any requirements issued by state or local health departments.
Students shall wear a face covering unless they are unable to do so for a health or developmental reason. Efforts will be made to reduce any social stigma for a student who, for medical or developmental reasons, cannot and should not wear a face covering.
If face masks/coverings are required, and no exception is applicable, students shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct/Student Discipline Code, and in accordance with policies of the Board and/or may be reassigned by the Superintendent to an online/virtual learning environment if the Superintendent determines that reassignment is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or others.
During times of elevated communicable disease community spread, as determined by the Board in consultation with health professionals, all students are required to wear masks while being transported on District school buses or other modes of school transportation.
Cloth Face coverings should:
- Fully cover the mouth, nose, and chin;
- Fit snugly against the side of the face so there are no gaps;
- Not create difficulty breathing while worn; and
- Held secure through either a tie, elastic, etc. to prevent slipping.
Facial masks/coverings generally should not include surgical masks or respirators unless medically indicated (as those should be reserved for health care workers) or masks designed to be worn for costume purposes.
All employee facial masks/coverings shall meet the requirements of the appropriate dress/staff grooming policies. All student facial masks/coverings shall meet the requirements of the appropriate Student Code of Conduct/Student Discipline Code.
- Facial masks/coverings in the school setting are prohibited by law or regulation;
- Facial coverings are in violation of documented industry standards;
- Facial coverings are not advisable for health reasons;
- Facial coverings are in violation of the school’s documented safety policies;
- Facial masks/coverings are not required when the staff works alone in an assigned work area;
- There is a functional (practical) reason for a staff member or volunteer to not wear a facial covering in the workplace;
- Settings where cloth coverings might present a safety hazard (i.e. science labs);
- For individuals who have difficulty wearing a cloth face covering; or
- To assist with communication for hearing impaired students.
The Board may be required to provide written justification to the local health officials upon request explaining why a staff member is not required to wear a facial covering in the school. Therefore, if any exceptions are made to the requirement for facial coverings, the request for such exception must be submitted in writing to the individual’s supervisor, and a decision on the request will be provided in writing.
Face shields that wrap around the face and extend below the chin can be considered as an alternative to cloth face masks/coverings. Some situations where face shields would be useful include:
- When interacting with students, such as those with disabilities, where communication could be impacted;
- When interacting with English-language learners or when teaching a foreign language;
- Settings where cloth masks might present a safety hazard (i.e. science labs);
- For individuals who have difficulty wearing a cloth face covering.
If individuals receive approval from the District administration after discussing their request not to wear a face covering/shield due to a physical, mental, or developmental health condition, and/or if wearing a mask/covering/shield would lead to a medical emergency or would introduce significant safety concerns, the District administration may also discuss other possible accommodations for the staff member. Such discussion shall follow Board policies and guidelines under the ADA section.
School nurses or staff who care for individuals with symptoms must use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), provided by the school, in accordance with OSHA standards.
When facial coverings are required by the Board, and no exception has been applied, staff members who violate this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with policies of the Board.
RETURN TO LEARN
START OF 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR
The start of the 2020-2021 school year will be August 20. This is a change from the original calendar to allow for more time to make sure our schools are ready for the arrival of students and for professional development.
Parents should spend time with the data found on our Restart Jackson webpage, and understand your choices. Then, in early August, all parents will be required to choose a learning model for their child(ren) on First Day Forms. We will continue to provide communication as we get more clarity from the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Health. Parents may email us at RestartJackson@jackson.sparcc.org.
* All of our Restart Jackson Plans were devised with feedback from our parents, students, and staff. More than 8,000 respondents provided information over two surveys to help shape these plans.*
Results from the June survey to parents, students, staff
Model 1: In-person instruction
In-person instruction is our best educational delivery model. The Jackson Local School District, in collaboration with local and state public health departments, will provide K-12 instruction in our school buildings five days a week during the school year. This will be based on Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System color coding. Parents of preschool-aged children please consult the Stark County Educational Service Center for guidance.
Model 2: eLearning 2.0
This option is available to students who do not feel comfortable attending in-person instruction. eLearning 2.0 is taught by the same teachers that students typically would have at their Jackson Local School District building. This learning environment will be taught in both synchronous and asynchronous manners. Grading and attendance policies will be in effect just as they are for students attending in-person instruction. Students will be required to check in daily and complete their assignments. JLSD teachers will provide best practices to create the highest level of engagements from students possible. The best practices for eLearning engagement include fostering student-teacher, student-peer and student-content relationships. The eLearning 2.0 model will require more oversight and involvement from parents than In-person learning. Students may transition from eLearning 2.0 to the In-person instruction model.
- Designed for K-12
- Five days a week
- The curriculum is led by Jackson Local teachers and it is the same curriculum peers are learning In-person
- Students may participate in extra-curricular activities and athletics, following safety guidelines
Model 3: Digital Academy
Digital Academy is curriculum designed outside of the Jackson Local School District and taught by educators outside of the JLSD. However, the District will assign a support specialist to those families choosing Digital Learning. This is a self-guided, self-paced learning environment and requires the greatest level of parental oversight. It is NOT required, but it is encouraged that students commit to the Digital Academy environment outside of JLSD curriculum for nine-week periods.
- Curriculum is not aligned with JLSD
- Peer support is very limited
- Social/emotional connections may be difficult to maintain
- Students may participate in extra-curricular activities and athletics, following safety guidelines
- Highest level of parental engagement required
Students do NOT have to remain in the learning model chosen at the start of the school year. Families can transition from In-person (Model 1) instruction to eLearning 2.0 (Model 2), or from eLearning 2.0 to In-person instruction by contacting Jackson Local School District to communicate those changes. It is recommended, students who choose to start in Digital Academy remain in Digital Academy for a nine-week grading period.
There are no middle or high school supplies. Refer to the program of study for course-specific needs. Elementary supplies can be found here.
All students, parents, guardians, caregivers, stakeholders are invited to remain in communication with the Jackson Local School District. Our district will provide robust communication to our families throughout the school year. Questions and concerns always can be sent to us at RestartJackson@jackson.sparcc.org. Our Restart Jackson webpage can be found at https://www.jackson.stark.k12.oh.us/RestartJackson
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