OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — Olmsted Falls City Schools Board of Education last night (Aug. 13) approved Superintendent Jim Lloyd’s recommendations to begin the 2020-2021 school year on Sept. 8 in remote learning with extracurriculars.
“I’m pleased that the board of education approved the recommendations I put in front of them,” Lloyd said.
“The first was the method in which we’re going to be back in school, which are based on the COVID advisory level for Cuyahoga County, rate of positivity and rate of new cases, which indicates spread.”
The latter two metrics are reported by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
As for the state’s four-tier public health advisory system, which is currently in level 3, Lloyd suggested if the board of health data is favorable a hybrid model with divided grade levels attending school on either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday.
“The board’s (4-1) approval is that we’re going to look at those metrics and use the data in order to drive how we enter school,” Lloyd said. “We’re still a ways out. I’m hopeful based on the trends and that data set I’ve seen that we would be able to not necessarily have to be in remote learning, but be in-person in a hybrid model.”
The other recommendation passed 5-0 by the board of education involves allowing extracurriculars despite the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s recommendation against such activity.
“My recommendation will hold as long as the adults who are supervising these activities are willing to fulfill their contract and can provide assurances to me that proper mitigation steps have been taken and our students and adults are indeed protected, healthy and well,” Lloyd said. “As it relates to athletics, I recommend the district should follow direction from the governor, Ohio Dept. of Health and the Ohio High School Athletic Association as it relates to contact and non-contact activities.
“In addition, if the extracurriculars enter into a competition stage, and many have already, we’ll have significant restrictions in place that will strictly govern the public attending any event.”
While Lloyd stressed a lot of the activities are outside and thus mitigate the dangers from COVID-19, he noted the district won’t go “lone wolf.” Instead, the district will operate within the direction of state officials.
“Ultimately, they have the final call as to whether or not football or contact sports will continue in the fall,” Lloyd said.
Despite the fact the board of education approved his recommendations, the superintendent acknowledged the decision will not be popular with the entire community.
“This is a difficult thing to do,” Lloyd said. “We have no experience with it and everybody has an opinion on what should be done.”
Even with the board of education’s approval, there are still plenty of moving parts that could change how schools across the state reopen. Lloyd admitted he’ll be walking on eggshells over the next three weeks until school starts.
“What we’re going to do is continue to work with our committees and look at our health, safety and wellness protocols,” Lloyd said. “We’re planning for two things — to start remotely and to start in school in some fashion.
“Our intent is to have our staff report, so we’re going to be ready if indeed we’re physically open for business.”
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