Reynoldsburg City Schools News Article

Governor DeWine Provides Back-to-School Guidance

RCS Letterhead 

July 2, 2020

Dear Reynoldsburg City Schools’ Families and Staff,

Today, in his afternoon press conference, Governor Mike DeWine announced guidelines and parameters for a return to school for the upcoming school year. Those parameters are as follows:

• Daily health checks (students or staff with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit will need to stay at home)
      o Send home students and staff who show symptoms and contact the local health department
      o Work with the health department to implement a testing strategy
• Wash and sanitize hands
      o Provide ample opportunities to wash hands
      o Provide hand sanitizer at high traffic areas and at entrances of buildings and classrooms
• Clean surfaces and buildings
• Practice social distancing (six feet as often as possible)
• Face covering policy
      o Require school staff to wear face coverings
      o It is recommended that students 3rd grade and up wear face coverings

Although the Governor has just announced this guidance, we still will await additional guidance from the Franklin County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) before we can announce firm plans for the fall. Additionally, please do not expect an announcement about what our firm plan will be until at least July 22 as any plan that we implement must be approved by our Board of Education before we do so. I will also be recommending a change to our school calendar to our Board of Education for approval to begin the school year after Labor Day. 

Finally, I implore you to understand that our desire is to have all of our students back in school on a somewhat regular schedule. To make that possible, given this guidance, we would have to consider a number of different provisions for safety and efficiency. Additional safety precautions will be put in place to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health and the Franklin County Public Health Department. Hand sanitizer stations will be at every entrance as well as in classrooms. Additionally, each classroom will be equipped with cleaning supplies to sanitize work areas throughout the day. 

In our efforts to prepare for a very uncertain 2020-21 school year, our District is examining various options for a potential opening. District leaders have been working since April to plan for the new school year. We have a Task Force of over 40 people composed of teachers, administrators, parents, and community members that is weighing the pros and cons of the various scenarios. A recommendation will be shared with our Board of Education at our July 21 BOE Meeting.

RCS’s Center for Deeper Learning is working with a team of teachers to develop the Reynoldsburg Virtual Academy. The new 100-percent online curriculum for students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be available independently of all plans. Students who have health concerns and are at a higher medical risk of contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be given priority placement. We anticipate that all students enrolled in this option will have a dedicated Reynoldsburg teacher with whom to check in with and ask questions. Families who intend to select this option will be asked to commit to at least a full semester of virtual learning. We look to hold informational sessions in late July to provide additional understanding of how this would look. 

The District plans to continue busing with any proposals that are considered. Current guidelines allow for two students per seat which may require masks to be worn. We expect updates to that guidance soon.

During the midst of any type of return to school, the potential of having to close again is a possibility. As stated earlier, we have been working diligently to prepare a very robust online educational experience that will improve upon what we did in the spring following our closure. In the event that we would have to shift to a completely online instructional program, we would give our teachers and parents a few days to plan before implementation. We took a similar approach in the spring when teachers used the first two days for professional development. 

We know this has been a stressful time and we are asking you to make decisions based on ever-changing information. As stated, we intend to present a plan to the RCS Board of Education no later than the July 21, 2020 Regular Meeting with firm plans in place by late July. We want to thank you for your patience, flexibility and understanding as we work to develop the best learning experiences possible for our students.

MJB Signature

Melvin J. Brown
Reynoldsburg City Schools

 Click here to read a PDF of the letter

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