As we look to start the 2020-2021 school year, the health and safety of students, staff, volunteers, and community are paramount. Sidney City Schools (K-12) plans to start school with in-person instruction five days a week beginning September 8, 2020, with the exception of kindergarten, which will run on a staggered start as in years past.
We believe it is extremely important for the mental and physical well-being of our students that they be in school. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year start with the goal of having students physically present in school.
However, given that we have students and/or families with legitimate health concerns, we will offer a remote learning option. Preschool will not offer a remote option but run on a two-day schedule. See more below.
K-12 LEARNING OPTIONS
ALL families will select between the in-person instruction and remote learning option through Final Forms for each child. The deadline for choosing the remote learning option is August 7, 2020. If you have already signed off on your Final Forms for the 2020-2021 school year, we ask that you sign in again and make a selection for your child’s learning choice.
K-12 OPTION 1 - IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION AT SIDNEY CITY SCHOOLS WITH THE GUIDELINES BELOW:
The following guidelines address how we plan to accomplish in-person instruction while adhering to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Sidney- Shelby County Health Department (SSCHD) guidelines to the best of our ability.
ODH guidelines ask that schools focus on five areas:
- Assessing symptoms;
- Washing and sanitizing hands;
- Thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing school environments;
- Practice social distancing;
- Implement face-covering policies.
It’s important to know and be familiar with COVID-19 Symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea vomiting
STUDENT & STAFF ILLNESS
Overall daily absences will be monitored by Sidney City Schools for COVID-19 impact. Students and staff should check their temperature and monitor their health at home on a daily basis before coming into a school setting.
Sidney City Schools may check students’ temperatures and observe for other symptoms. Families will be contacted and asked to pick up their child who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms.
- Any student or staff member with a fever of 100.4°F or higher should stay home.
- Any student or staff member that has the following symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home from school and should be assessed for COVID-19:
Any of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, OR
Two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, rigors (shakes), myalgia (muscle ache), headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, GI issues (nausea or vomiting or diarrhea), OR
Any of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, rigors (shakes), myalgia (muscle aches), headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, GI Issues (nausea and vomiting or diarrhea) AND an epidemiological link to a case of COVID-19.
Wilson Health Clinic at Sidney City Schools, located in the basement of the Board of Education office, welcomes walk-ins. Walk-ins for Sidney City Schools students and staff will be Monday, 6am-8am; Tuesday, 3pm-6pm; Wednesday, 5pm-8pm; Thursday, 3pm-5pm; and Friday, 3pm-5pm. The clinic is located at the Board of Education office at 750 S Fourth Avenue, Sidney OH and is served by Dr. Mick Beyer and his staff. Call 937-419-8021 for more information.
RETURNING TO SCHOOL AFTER ILLNESS
- If a student or staff member is diagnosed through testing as having COVID-19, they must meet the following criteria to return to school:
- Three (3) days with no fever (without using fever-reducing medication) AND Other symptoms improved AND
- Ten (10) days since symptoms first appeared
- Students and staff who only have a fever and no other symptoms and have not had any contact with an individual that has COVID-19 may return to school after they are fever-free for twenty-four (24) hours without using any fever-reducing medications.
- Any other illnesses should be handled in a routine manner according to district policies as outlined in the student handbook.
- To return to school after a COVID-19 diagnosis, the student must be transported to the school by the parent/guardian and must be checked by the school personnel by appointment.
- Staff may be required to provide documentation from a physician to return to work or abide in accordance with updated guidance from the ODH or the Shelby County Health Department.
COMMUNICATION FOR A POSITIVE COVID-19 DIAGNOSIS
- Families are responsible for contacting the Shelby County Health Department, Communicable Disease Nurse, 937-498-7249, in the event of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
- COVID-19 is a mandated reportable disease. Given this, our school district is required to notify and report COVID-19 information to the SSCHD to support contact tracing.
- Communication will be developed in conjunction with the SSCHD and Sidney City Schools to specify to guardians which classroom/bus/school/other activity the confirmed case was in. Necessary and appropriate information will be shared with staff. Student names will not be shared.
- The school district will cooperate with the SSCHD’s work in contract tracing.
- Students will be encouraged to wash hands with soap multiple times a day for 20 seconds;
- Staff will reinforce the important health benefits of washing hands for disease prevention;
- Hand sanitizer will be provided in common areas and within each classroom for student use;
- Hand washing or use of hand sanitizer will be required before lunch, after using the restroom, and before and after recess.
CLEANING AND SANITIZING SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
- Daily cleaning and disinfecting of all areas in the school will continue to be standard practice. We will pay special attention to common areas including classrooms, cafeterias and buses, and high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, drinking fountains, keyboards, desks, tables, and chairs.
- Water fountains will be shut off and schools will be equipped with water bottle filling stations. Students will be asked to have a reusable water bottle as a part of their school supplies.
The current recommendation is 3 to 6 feet of space between individuals when feasible, and we will do this to the best of our ability by:
- Teaching students the importance of being considerate of others' space and keeping their hands to themselves;
- Creating routines supporting space at lunch and during transitions between classes and breaks;
- Encouraging students to minimize congregating in large groups before and after school.
Sidney City Schools will follow the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health guidelines for face coverings:
Staff and volunteers will wear masks unless facial coverings are not advisable for health reasons or there is a functional (practical) reason not to wear it;
Face coverings are required for students in grades K-12 unless:
The child is unable to remove the face covering without assistance
The child has a significant behavioral or psychological issue that would be exacerbated by the use of a facial covering
The child is living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay and would be agitated or anxious wearing a mask
The child has a facial deformity that causes airway obstruction
A mask medical exemption form is available for guardians to fill out
Families will be responsible for supplying the mask;
Masks are not mandatory for family members in the office area;
Visitors entering the school building beyond the office area will be asked to wear a mask.
Mask Medical Exemption Waiver
K-12 OPTION 2 - REMOTE LEARNING WITH SIDNEY CITY SCHOOLS:
In order to serve families who are medically fragile or have concerns about safety, Sidney City Schools will be offering a remote learning option. Careful consideration should be given to the learning expectations and requirements. At this time, there is no hybrid of remote learning and in-person instruction; it is all or nothing/one or the other.
Semester time commitment - families choosing remote learning will be asked to commit to this learning model one semester at a time;
Daily classroom engagement will be expected, assignments will have deadlines, and grades will be taken;
Grade level expectations will be the same for remote learning as in-person instruction;
Plan for more rigorous instruction/engagement than what was experienced in the spring;
Meals will be available for daily pick-up but will not be delivered;
Families choosing remote learning who are not medically compromised will be required to provide their own technology;
K-8 students will not receive unified arts with remote learning (art, PE, technology, STEAM, all music, Workforce Academy, etc.).
**PLEASE NOTE** We previously shared that students in 7th and 8th grade who opted for the remote learning option would not be eligible to play sports. Per OHSAA we are now clear to consider middle school students eligible who enroll/pass only 4 classes.
Here are some additional key details to help families make the decision regarding distance learning.
- The daily schedule will be set up similar to the school day, meaning breaks for recess, transitions, lunch, study hall (if applicable).
- There will be live, virtual instruction with a teacher. The live sessions will also be recorded, should a student miss due to illness, a doctor’s appointment, etc., so they can access at a later time.
- A key difference between remote learning this year and what families experienced last spring is that there will be new material, expectations for daily attendance/engagement, and grades.
- Assignments will be done digitally. There may be options to download and print documents, though they will be shared digitally.
- Students with IEP or 504 plans will still have access to an interventionist to meet their accommodations and learning plans.
We are asking families to make this choice by August 7, 2020 for our planning purposes. We need to have relatively solid numbers to make sure we have the appropriate staff in place and schedules can be set. As with everything, we will continue to operate with some flexibility with families, and communication lines with the administration are open.
PRESCHOOL LEARNING OPTIONS
Whittier Early Childhood Center plans to start school with in-person instruction beginning September 14, 2020. During the week of September 7th, an hour time slot will be assigned to you for Stay & Play. This will be an opportunity to meet your child’s teachers and learn about the preschool program.
Early childhood classrooms have the potential to be limited to 9 children at a time per orders from the Governor’s office. In the event the preschool class sizes are ordered to be reduced, Whittier Early Childhood Center will offer a hybrid model of services with in-school participation two days a week.* Should a hybrid model be used, parents who pay tuition will only pay for those two in-school days. *Some students may be asked to attend 4 days a week as determined by their IEP.
We are asking families to select a preference for in-person sessions should the numbers of children in a classroom change and the hybrid model be implemented.
OPTION A: In-person sessions Monday & Tuesday; on-line lessons available Wednesday & Thursday
OPTION B: On-line lessons available Monday & Tuesday; in-person sessions Wednesday & Thursday
ALL families will select between Option A & B in Final Forms. The deadline for choosing a specific day is August 7, 2020. If you have already signed off on your Final Forms for the 2020-2021 school year, we ask that you sign in again and make a selection for your child’s learning choice. The school will try and accommodate your preference as much as possible.
*Some students may be asked to attend 4 days a week as determined by their IEP.
All of the above in-person guidelines under the K-12 Learning Options will apply for preschool learning. Preschool children will not have to social distance when within their learning “bubbles.” Different from K-12 in-person learning, Hand washing or use of hand sanitizer will be required before snack, after using the restroom, before and after playground time, and before entering or leaving the classroom/building.
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What if the Governor shuts schools down again or a large community spread occurs?
Sidney City Schools will be prepared to provide remote learning for all students should one of these situations arise and it is deemed necessary. Remote learning will look different this year, as compared to last spring with regard to learning expectations and rigor.
It may be deemed necessary for Sidney City Schools to close a building or the entire district should staff be affected and safe coverage of students is not attainable due to the lack of subs. Families should have calamity plans in place similar to weather cancellations.
Are visitors allowed in the school buildings?
Unnecessary visits to the building are discouraged so as to limit potential exposure.
Will buses be running normal routes?
Yes, we will run normal bus routes this school year. We highly encourage any student riding the bus to wear a mask; however, it is not mandatory.
What about events, field trips, and athletics?
Large gatherings will be decided on a case-by-case basis given the level of risk in our county at the time. We will do our best to communicate decisions related to event cancellation in a timely manner.
Currently, Sidney City Schools will not be holding traditional Open House events prior to the start of the school year. Staff is working to create a safer alternative to welcoming families back and plans will be communicated.
Field trips will also be evaluated on a case by case basis. It must be as safe as possible for us to take students to an area outside of the school.
Athletics will follow ODH and OHSAA guidelines. The decisions to hold sporting events is out of our control; however, we will advocate for our student athletes. If allowed, we will host sporting events for the 2020-2021 school year and conduct them as safely as possible.
Are these COVID-19 plans concrete?
Our goal is to best serve our students educationally while keeping students, staff, families and the community safe. Given that the ODH, the Ohio Department of Education and the Governor may change direction at any time, it is important we maintain flexibility in our own plans as a district. We will continue to work in cooperation with local health officials and superintendents to provide the best education possible to our community.
What if I want my child to do the remote learning option but we do not have our own devices?
We are working on finding a way to acquire enough technology to provide for both in-person and remote learning options. At this time, we cannot commit to that. If this status changes, then we will communicate this. We will work to be accommodating as much as possible.
Will Latchkey operate as normal?
Latchkey will operate as normal for those in school as long as we continue to offer in-person instruction. Staff will be wearing masks, attempting social distancing, and following all of the in-person guidelines. Staff plans to have students separated into groups to attempt to minimize the amount of students in a room at one time. Latchkey staff will continue to disinfect everything after each session (am and pm).
Further Latchkey inquiries can be sent to Paige Barker, Latchkey Coordinator.
Where will I find more information on the plan?
As we define the plan more concretely, we will share information with families through our website - www.sidneycityschools.org and social media accounts: @sidneyschools on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
SIDNEY- SHELBY COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT - Communicable Disease Nurse, 937-498-7249
SIDNEY CITY SCHOOLS
Board of Education/Office of the Superintendent, 937-497-2200
Superintendent, Bob Humble
Special Education, Chris Barr
Curriculum, Brooke Gessler
Transportation, Joni Renner
Food Services, Jason McLain
Latchkey, Paige Barker
Sidney High School, 937-497-2238
Principal, Denny Morrison
Assistant Principals, Gregory Snyder and Kevin Boerger
Athletic Director, Mitch Hoying
Sidney Middle School, 937-497-2225
Principal, Diane Voress
Assistant Principal, Dan Barnes
Dean of Students, Michael Ward
Northwood Intermediate, 937-497-2231
Emerson Primary, 937-497-2261
Longfellow Primary, 937-497-2264
Whittier Early Childhood Center, 937-497-2275
**All of the above school administrators can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
**Currently being updated - 7/28**
Sidney High School Information
Sidney Middle School Information
Northwood Intermediate School Information
Emerson/Longfellow Primary School Information
Whittier Early Childhood Center Information