Dear Blue Devil Families:
Yesterday, in his press briefing, Governor Mike DeWine updated the state COVID-19 alert map. Cases of COVID-19 have increased in Hamilton County and we are now at a red level meaning there is a very high level of spread and exposure in Hamilton County.
We have had parents ask if this means that Reading Schools will go to remote learning for all students. The alert system is one data point of many that we look at when we make this decision. Our current blended model allows for us to have increased safety measures with the recommended social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID. Our current plan is to remain with our blended model, but know that we will continue to monitor all health and safety data points carefully.
Conversations are beginning now about the second-semester plan for Reading Community City Schools. Student and staff safety is always our number one priority while providing consistency and minimizing disruption for all of our families.
RCCSD has continued to follow the Ohio Department of Health’s guidance of 6 feet of distance in the classroom. By adhering to that guidance, we have been able to minimize disruptions to student learning, impacts on families, and the potential risk of spreading the virus. While other districts have sometimes had to quarantine dozens of students because of close contact in the classroom, Reading has avoided this during our first five weeks of school. Last week, with our first positive case, contact tracing resulted in only a single quarantine based on our circumstances at school. That only happened because during the normal course of the school day a chair had been shifted and was 5.5 feet away from another student rather than the recommended 6 feet.
We all want school, and life, to return to normal. However, the circumstances since the summer have not changed nor has the guidance from ODH. Our reopening plan called for analyzing information and making a decision for the second semester by December 1st. We have started that process this week with our staff advisory team who provided feedback for the reopening plan. Our upcoming community chats will also provide a forum for further discussion.
With our current guidelines, Reading has been able to maintain the health and safety of students and staff while at school and the continuity of students being on-site four days a week. I am very proud of the extraordinary work and effort our teachers and all our staff have put into making this year as successful as possible, and we continue to work on improving every day.
Be safe and well,