Choice of three paths for new year awaits Grandview Heights school board
The Grandview Heights school board will meet July 8 to decide which of three courses the district will follow when the 2020-21 school year opens Aug. 13.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m., although it is still to be determined whether the meeting will be held online or in person, should the state's guidelines on gatherings be relaxed.
Superintendent Andy Culp reviewed the three options during a special, virtual board meeting held June 18.
The options are to return to a traditional school setting; implement a hybrid school setting in which students would attend class both in person and remotely; or continue distance learning, with students accessing classes remotely from home.
A recommendation for adopting one of the options will be presented to the board July 8, Culp said.
He told the board June 18 it was expected that Gov. Mike DeWine was going to announce June 23 his recommended guidelines for districts to use as they consider their fall plans.
Those guidelines may influence the recommendation the board will receive July 8, Culp said.
Grandview, like every Ohio district, will determine a plan for the new school year that works best for its students, families and staff, he said.
The return to a full-time, traditional classroom setting will be adopted only if the safety and health of students and staff can be assured, Culp said.
The traditional school setting would have all students in school all day, every day, he said.
The district would implement health and safety protocols and procedures to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Culp said. Those measures likely would include maintaining 6-foot social distancing as much as possible; requiring students and staff to wear masks or other face coverings; and checking students' and staff members' temperatures every day, he said.
Hand sanitizers would be placed in or near each classroom, and students would be required to wash their hands before every class, Culp said. Students showing signs of illness would be sent home.
Many of the classrooms in Grandview's school buildings have about 600 square feet of space, which would make it a challenge to arrange students and desks to maintain the 6-foot distance, he said.
Tape would be placed on the floors to help guide students and maintain distance in the hallways, Culp said.
Grab-and-go lunches would be provided to students, who would eat them at their desks in classrooms rather than having a traditional large gathering of students in the cafeteria, he said.
An isolation room also would be created at each school building where students who fall ill would be sent to wait until they could be picked up and taken home, Culp said. Students would not be allowed to return to school until they are fever-free for at least 48 hours.
The district would consider having students in different grade levels enter the building through different doors to reduce student interaction, he said.
Memorandums to allow adjustments to district policies would be forwarded for board approval to allow for flexibility in attendance requirements for families who may want or need to keep their children at home, Culp said.
Under the hybrid option, social distancing and other measures would be implemented because students would attend school through a rotation system, he said.
The hybrid plan as proposed would have students at Stevenson Elementary School split into two groups, with one group in school during the morning and another group in the afternoon, Culp said.
Students at Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School and the high school would follow a similar rotation, with each student alternating daily between attending school in person and distance learning.
Students would be advised not to use lockers and instead carry all their books and materials, if possible, in their backpacks, Culp said.
In both the traditional and hybrid models, the schools' media centers would be closed, and no supplies would be shared, he said.
The third option would be to maintain distance learning full time as school reopens, Culp said.
The plan for this option represents "a rebooting of what we were able to do well" in the spring, he said.
The distance-learning option for the fall is enhanced and offers "more synchronous learning and more structure and accountability for our students," Culp said.
That will include teachers offering more time for office hours for students and parents at Stevenson as well as increased intervention for students, he said.
Elementary schoolers will have a routine and schedule set up for the bulk of the day, Culp said.
At Edison/Larson and the high school, students would follow an abbreviated eight-period day running from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., he said. Teachers would offer an increased opportunity for office hours and Google Meet sessions for students and interactions with parents before and after that period, Culp said.
Several board members asked Culp why the hybrid model is different for each school and whether it would be better to have consistency -- either a morning/afternoon or every-other-day rotation for all students in grades K-12.
"We have deliberated and discussed that," Culp said.
Stevenson principal Angie Ullum and her staff believe the morning/afternoon model works best to serve their students, while Edison/Larson principal Quint Gage and high school principal Rob Brown and their staffs think the same about the every-other-day rotation, he said.
The district's leadership team can reexamine the question to consider whether consistency would be best, Culp said.
No matter what option the district chooses, it's important that Grandview be flexible, because the COVID-19 coronavirus situation may change and the district may have to switch options on a dime, board member Eric Bode said.
That's why detailed plans for all three options have been developed, Culp said.