Dear Geneva Students and Families:
* PLEASE SEE BOLD AREA BELOW FOR REMOTE DETAILS
Last night, I shared the following rationale with the Geneva School Board for a change in our District's Plan.
As the 2020-21 school year began, the Geneva Schools made the decision to start the year in a hybrid plan. This plan permitted the schools to share new procedures and instruction with smaller groups of in-person students while maintaining the recommended social distancing. Case levels were low in the county and the various precautions put in place at schools provided a relatively safe environment for students and staff.
The school district implemented:
*mask / face covering requirements
*social / physical distancing requirements
*provided hand washing procedures and sanitizer in all locations (including the school buses)
*barrier for students
*barrier for common areas (office, clinics,...)
*floor and directional markings to provide appropriate distancing
*UV light cleaners for all air handlers to clean air in the building
*upgrade of all filters
*Weekly coil spray for cleaning of air
*(2) portable room / air filtration units for each building - one in the clinic and one for use in other areas (as needed)
*Exposure containment areas in all buildings
*PPE for staff, students and other personnel
The district continues to do what we can to provide a safe environment for our students and staff. Last week was not a good week for the Geneva Schools and we saw increases within the school environment including 10 students and 4 staff members with positive COVID results. This required the isolation / quarantine of hundreds of students and staff in the district. (Example: Geneva Middle School quarantined 141 students prior to 11/17/20 due to potential exposure or a positive COVID test).
In addition, a decision was made to close all buildings on Friday, November 13th due to a staff shortage There were 15 unfilled positions out of a total of 32 positions that needed substitutes. Many of these teachers were out due to their own illness, illness within their families or children (or their own) quarantine orders. On Monday, November 16th, Austinburg Elementary was closed for a staff shortage. As 19 positions remained unfilled with 7 of those teaching positions being at Austinburg Elementary. We were able to shift a few substitutes and move some personnel to keep the rest of the district open on that day. In the past, if we had a substitute shortage, often we could use some additional personnel or divide / shift students into other classrooms to make instruction work for the day. This year, that is not possible as we have to consider distancing and the number of students in any one area.
The local health departments have been overwhelmed, the schools and districts are doing everything we can do to assist. Administrators have become "temporary contact tracers" and even provided quarantine orders to directly provide to staff and students. From last week to this week (as of 11/17/20) - there was an increase of 447 cases ( 1,290 the previous week to 1,737 this week). The positive rate percentage went from 19.4% last week to 23.3% this week. 81% is from non-congregate or community spread. Health care facilities and the health department are struggling to keep up.
As you have watched the news, read the papers and received other information about local schools, you see there are many difficult decisions being made concerning school plans. None of these decisions are easy. They are impacting many students, families, teachers, staff and community members. The past few weeks have been difficult in regards to the cases we have seen (students and staff) and the number of individuals we have had to isolate or quarantine. Again, we do this for the safety of everyone. With the upcoming holiday period and breaks, there is serious concern in the state and county that we will continue to see the "explosion" of coronavirus. After careful consideration with various individuals, I made the following recommendation to the Geneva Board of Education at last night's meeting (11/18/20).
Based on the current numbers for COVID-19 exposures and county level, increases in cases for students and staff within the district and concerns over the upcoming holiday period,
I recommended and the Geneva Board of Education approved that we go to a remote school plan option for the following dates:
The Geneva School District will go to a Remote Only Education Plan beginning on Monday, November 23, 2020 through January 10, 2021.
PLEASE NOTE: **IMPORTANT: As part of the motion, the Geneva Board of Education granted the Superintendent the authority to make changes to the plan if conditions improved, holiday exposure was limited or other recommendations were made that provided opportunities for the plan to be altered prior to the January 11th return.
IF ANY CHANGES ARE PROPOSED and IMPLEMENTED, information will be posted on the website and a robo-call will be made to our district families.
**All athletic practices and other activities will be suspended from Monday, Nov. 23rd until further notice.
**Breakfast and Lunch will continue to be distributed at all building locations on Remote / Support Days as long as the district is open.
TOTAL Remote / Support Days (from Nov. 23rd - Jan. 8th) - 22 days
** Monday, January 11th - Return to a 4-day a week schedule at all buildings.
PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR THE SCHEDULED REMOTE DAYS:
Monday, Nov. 23rd - Remote Day
Tuesday, Nov. 24th - Remote Day
Wednesday, Nov. 25th - Support Day
Thursday/ Friday ( Nov. 26th / 27th ) - Thanksgiving Break
Monday, Nov. 30th - NO REMOTE CLASSES - Scheduled day off on the District Calendar
(Compensatory Time for Fall Conference Evenings)
Tuesday, Dec. 1st - Remote Day
Wednesday, Dec. 2nd - Support Day
Thursday, Dec. 3rd - Remote Day
Friday, Dec. 4th - Remote Day
Monday, Dec. 7th - Remote Day
Tuesday, Dec. 8th - Remote Day
Wednesday, Dec. 9th - Support Day
Thursday, Dec. 10th - Remote Day
Friday, Dec. 11th - Remote Day
Monday, Dec. 14th - Remote Day
Tuesday, Dec. 15th - Remote Day
Wednesday, Dec. 16th - Support Day
Thursday, Dec. 17th - Remote Day
Friday, Dec. 18th - Remote Day
Monday, December 21st through Friday, January 1st - Winter / Holiday Break
Monday, Jan. 4th - Remote Day
Tuesday, Jan. 5th - Remote Day
Wednesday, Jan. 6th - Support Day
Thursday, Jan. 7th - Remote Day
Friday, Jan. 8th - Remote Day
I know there will be many opinions about my recommendation and the decision to go to the remote only plan. I understand there are many sides to this issue and I am truly trying to do what is best for all of our students, teachers, staff and families. I thank you for your support and cooperation. These are difficult days but TOGETHER...we can get through them.
Stay Safe!...Stay Healthy!...and Stay Positive!
Eric M. Kujala
Geneva Area City Schools
135 S. Eagle Street
Geneva, OH 44041