ROSSFORD – Rossford schools will return to a five-day-a-week class schedule next week.
Superintendent Dan Creps said at the March board of education meeting that they are excited to be returning to a regular schedule Monday.
The district has been in a hybrid mode since the beginning of the school year.
Creps described several factors that made it possible to return to the classrooms safely.
He said the biggest reason was that the CDC social distance recommendations went from 6 feet to 3 feet.
“The 3 feet distance permitted us to bring the students back into the school setting,” he said. “Obviously the safety of the students and staff are still of primary importance. We will keep the protocols in place that includes masks, washing hands and keeping a safe social distance, but that 3 foot distance was a big part.”
A second factor was the ability for Wood County staff members to be vaccinated if they chose. Rossford had over 80% who were fully vaccinated, Creps said.
The third factor that supported the decision to reopen to full-time school was the declining numbers of students and staff either quarantined or in isolation. Creps said they would continue to monitor the situation but those declining infection rates added another layer of comfort and cleared the path for bringing students back.
“We also surveyed our staff and our community to get a feel for their comfort levels on returning,” said Creps. “That was positive for both.
“Obviously, some in both camps expressed some concern and we recognized and were mindful of that. But, these surveys showed a strong interest in bringing the kids back for full instruction.”
To help students who may have fallen behind in their studies, Creps said there is a remediation plan in the works that will be turned in to the Ohio Department of Education.
“The ODE will allow us to make some changes in the plan because they recognize how the fluid the situation is.”
The remediation plan involves the school district’s ongoing partnership with Wood County Educational Services Center, which includes continuing summer programs.
“Students who have been identified in particular need of remediation will be prioritized but we also expanding our educational opportunities and options for others who want to sharpen their skills,” Creps said.
He added the district is in the process of making sure there is the necessary personnel.
Students who elected to participate in the Rossford Virtual Academy will remain in the online program for the balance of the spring semester and be able to return to in-person classes at the start of next school year. Creps said it was decided early on that with the logistics and the speed of the way things were moving, that those families who chose virtual option through RVA would have to remain in the RVA setting for the balance of the school year since there was no feasible way to bring them back before then.
The district is also making certain physical arrangements of classes and transportation that will keep the students at a safe social distance.
In regards to lunch periods, the high school plans to take advantage of the large concourse adjacent to the cafeteria as well as the gymnasiums to spread out students. At the elementary level, half the gymnasium and cafeteria will be used.
Students will continue to carry their backpacks rather than use their lockers. In smaller classrooms, the students will leave their backpacks out in the hall to open up more floor space. Larger classrooms will be used when possible.
Mask policy will continue to be enforced, Creps said.
“But, quite honestly, we have not had that many issues with the mask requirement. There are just a few students across the district who for health reasons have brought us the proper medical documentation for an exemption (from wearing masks).
“Our staff has done a good job of being diligent, reminding students to wear the masks properly,” he said, “and the staff has done a terrific job guiding the student behavior.
“You know, students look to the teachers to do the right thing and we made sure to model the behavior we want them to follow.”