Data watch on as new year for Grandview Heights Schools starts

ALAN FROMAN
afroman@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Grandview Heights Schools opened the school year Aug. 17 with an enhanced remote-learning model.

If recent improvements in data concerning the positivity and number of cases of COVID-19 in Franklin County continue, the district may be able to switch to a hybrid model, Superintendent Andy Culp said.

School superintendents receive updates on local COVID data each Tuesday from Franklin County Public Health, he said.

"The numbers are improving, but they are still strongly recommending that schools stay engaged in remote learning," Culp said. "But I'm optimistic that if these trends continue, we can pivot to the hybrid model we've adopted sometime in the coming weeks."

The district has plans for remote learning and a hybrid model in which students would receive instruction in their school building in the morning or afternoon every day while spending the other half of the day engaged in learning activities at home.

A third model for a return to 100% face-to-face learning in school buildings also has been developed, Culp said.

The 100% in-school model includes extensive procedures and protocols to ensure students and staff could return to their buildings safely, he said.

A change in Franklin County's status from red (level 3) to orange (level 2) on the state's color-coded alert system, as well as a sustained drop in the county's positivity rate and number of new COVID cases, will determine when the change to a hybrid system can take place, Culp said.

On Aug. 27, Franklin County's status was set at level 2. The county had been at level 3 since the color-coded map system was adopted.

When Franklin County Public Health recommends county schools should switch to a hybrid mode, he would quickly get the word out to students, families and teachers, Culp said.

"We'd get the word on Tuesday, and we would plan for the pivot to hybrid to take place six days later, on the following Monday," he said.

The remote-learning model the district is using to start the school year is more structured than the distance-learning plan put together in March, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Culp said.

The enhanced remote-learning model more closely resembles that of the traditional school day, he said. Older students have eight class periods online, although each period lasts a shorter time than when students are in their school building.

"There is more accountability in the new remote-learning model," Culp said.

One of the main differences between now and last spring is that all of the school buildings were completely shut down after the pandemic began, he said.

"Our buildings are open and we have teachers who are doing their remote teaching from their classroom," Culp said.

Students are able to visit the buildings in small groups to receive additional instruction or assistance for their individual needs, he said.

All of the district's fall athletics teams are competing, but games are not open to the general public, Culp said. Only family members may attend.

Other activities, including many school clubs, have resumed, he said.

The revised remote plan "is significantly more structured than the model quickly put in place in the spring," Culp said. "There will be daily synchronous learning opportunities with teachers. It will look a little different by building."

afroman@thisweeknews.com

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