Superintendent's Message: Opening of School 2020-2021

Dear Bloom-Carroll Community,

We know it has been a challenging past few months as our families, students, and staff have dealt with the uncertainties that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools and families need time to plan for the upcoming school year, but unfortunately, pandemic conditions continue to make doing so unbelievably difficult. A few weeks ago, it appeared we were headed in a favorable position to open our schools on a normal schedule; however, according to local and state health officials, local pandemic conditions have deteriorated once again causing uncertainty with reopening plans.  

Recently, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) instituted a statewide COVID-19 Public Health Advisory System involving four risk levels. This past Thursday, July 9th, Fairfield County entered Level 3 indicating a very high exposure and spread level. Level 3 guidelines are lengthy and health officials clearly state that efforts should be made to decrease in-person interactions with others and limit gatherings. Ohio COVID-19 Risk Level Guidelines for the Public.

As of now, under the current conditions, and in an effort to allow for time to plan, we are announcing that this school year will start using a Hybrid Alternating Day Schedule with safety protocols. The Hybrid Alternating Schedule is referred to as Status Level Yellow in our restart plan and is designed to create more social distance in our buildings and on buses. Students will receive in-person instruction and remote learning assignments. Please review the BCLSD Plan of Action to Reset and Restart Education for more detailed information.

Our goal is to have students safely attend school in-person as much as possible, but just because this decision has been made now, does not mean the conditions will be the same on August 20th. In our plan, you will see various color coded instructional status levels (Green, Yellow, Orange, Red). Please become familiar with these and develop a personal family plan to address each status level at any point during the school year. If conditions improve, we may be able to adjust before or during the school year to a normal schedule – 5 days per week (Green Status Level). If conditions deteriorate, we may need to adjust to an all online/remote learning format (Red Status Level).

Operating under the assumed Yellow Status Level, the first day of school is Thursday, August 20th for students in first through twelfth grades whose last name begins with the letter L-Z (Group 2). The first day of school is Friday, August 21st for students in first through twelfth grades whose last name begins with the letter A-K (Group 1). 

Group 1 will attend in-person instruction on Mondays, Wednesdays, and scheduled Fridays. Group 2 will attend in-person instruction on Tuesday, Thursday, and scheduled Fridays.  If a family/household has school-aged children with different last names, then the students will attend in-person classes on the same days. Please contact the District Office to coordinate a schedule for in-person classes if there are multiple children in your household different last names.

Kindergarten staggered start dates are scheduled for August 27th and 28th. The BC Primary School will contact parents of kindergarten students to inform you of the staggered start date after screenings.

We want to try to do what is best for students and be safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics has been very vocal about the importance of students being physically present in school. We know most students do better when they are instructed in-person by teachers; however, we will offer a comprehensive K-12 virtual curriculum option for medically vulnerable students or those with special circumstances. If your child is unable to physically attend school, even on an alternating day schedule, please complete the following form as soon as possible and contact the building administrator(s) or curriculum director after August 1, 2020.

The BCLSD Plan of Action to Reset and Restart Education has been developed with input from our stakeholders and guidance from the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Education, the Fairfield Department of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The BCLSD will be instituting several safety protocols to restart our schools which will include:

  • Assessing for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Washing and sanitizing hands and teaching effective personal hygiene practices
  • Cleaning and sanitizing before, during, and after the school day
  • Social distancing as much as possible
  • Implementing face covering policies for students and staff 

Our schools do so much more than provide academic instruction. This past spring, we all sadly witnessed the impact of lost opportunities for our students and families. The truth is, most students like school and they want to attend school. Our schools provide intellectual development, social interaction, emotional support, access to nutrition, and avenues for students to pursue their dreams inside and outside of the classroom. The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority and we are fully aware of the delicate balance to safely provide the academic, social, and emotional supports found in our schools.

Additional back-to-school information will be communicated in early August. Please know that some back-to-school events may look a bit different than in the past. Please review our reopening plan and visit our website and social media for additional updates.
We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and we cannot wait to see our students this fall!  

Thank you,
Shawn Haughn
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