Triad schools give families ‘as much choice’ as possible in reopening plans

Triad Local Schools has come up with a plan that gives families as much of a choice as the district is permitted to give, according to the district’s superintendent.

“Our Triad administrators, staff and hundreds of families have met numerous times and asked great questions to help create this plan,” said Superintendent Vickie Hoffman.

Triad’s plan took into consideration the four levels that are determined by the county through the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

“Starting at level one, you have a choice to have your child return to school or have them do distance learning,” Hoffman said.

The district will assume students are returning to school for face-to-face instruction unless they fill out the “Triad Local Schools Distance Learning Form” by Aug. 3, Hoffman said.

For those that choose distance learning, a full day of participation will be required during regular school hours and a time for lunch will be given, Hoffman said. If a student does not meet the daily/weekly time requirement, parents will be given one warning before the student will be required to attend the traditional in-person setting.

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Hoffman said families must have internet access for the distance learning option as packets will not be sent home. She said that students in grades 5-12 will have a device, but students in K-4 will need to provide their own unless the county moves into a level 3 or 4, then they would be provided.

For those that choose in-person learning, daily health and temperature checks will be taken at home when the county is in level 1 or they will be taken before getting on the bus and entering the building for level 2.

One parent who has a freshman in the district said she is thankful the kids are going back as she feels they “greatly benefit” from in school learning.

“Going to school not only provides the necessary education, but also provides the much needed social interaction of kids. It also provides the ability to assess for other needs that might go unnoticed with children staying at home, such as lack of basic necessities,” said Heather Spain.

One grandmother, who has a granddaughter in the eighth grade, said the family will be choosing in-person learning.

“I believe we are choosing in school. I believe it is so important to our kids to be able to socialize,” said Sheila Ballinger. “The thing we really like is that the kids that choose to learn online will be learning the exact same thing as their fellow students… that way when school does reopen, all students will be on the same page.”

All students and staff will wear face masks or shields in designated areas, including in hallways, cafeterias, and on buses where there will be two students per seat and siblings will be seated together when possible.

Students in K-2 are encouraged to wear masks in classrooms and hallways, and students in 3-12 are required to wear them in hallways and in classrooms if social distancing is not possible. Masks may also be required for all students during small group instruction.

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Hoffman also said that all classrooms will be set up to promote “mask choice zones” that meet social distancing requirements.

Families should plan on supplying face masks for children but there will be extras available in the school and on the bus if needed, Hoffman said.

Spain said her daughter will be wearing a mask when she goes back to school and will be educated about hand hygiene.

“I firmly believe these steps help to prevent and/or lessen the spread of viruses,” she said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think COVID-19 is going to go away anytime soon. Until that time, we need to learn to live with it.”

Along with health checks, there will be hand sanitizing stations throughout the building, at the entry of each classroom and on the playground; buildings will be cleaned and sanitized; there will be limited visitors; breakfast will be taken to classrooms and lunch will take place in the cafeteria; and students can bring water bottles.

If the county moves into level 3, students would attend fewer days per week and complete distance learning on opposite days, they would potentially remain in the same classroom with a traveling teacher, and masks would still be worn in designated areas, Hoffman said.

If the county moves into level 4, all students would attend distance learning as no one is allowed in the buildings, and meal pick up would be available.

Ohio Public Health Advisory System

Level 1 Public Emergency (yellow): Active exposure and spread

Level 2 Public Emergency (orange): Increased exposure and spread, exercise high degree of caution

Level 3 Public Emergency (red): Very high exposure and spread, limit activities as much as possible

Level 4 Public Emergency (purple): Severe exposure and spread, only leave home for supplies and services

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