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  • Dear Johnstown-Monroe Local Schools Family,

                   Your district leaders have been working hard to prepare for the safe return of students and staff to school in August.  We recognize that families are eager for answers about what your children’s learning experience will feel like as our community and country struggle with the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After months of soliciting feedback from educators, school staff, parents, students, government leaders and health professionals, we are in the final phase of developing our return to school plan.  The Licking County School Districts have been working together closely with the Licking County Department of Health to finalize practices and protocols that will be a critical part of our Return to School Plan scheduled to be released by no later than August 1st

                   In developing such a plan, in response to these most challenging of times, it is important for us to first gather as much information and guidance relative to parameters, under which we will be operating, to assure that we do not create unreasonable expectations for our Johnstown community.  To that end, we have continued our planning over the last few months as we have awaited the release of critical guidance from health and government authorities under which we operate.

                   The following is a partial list of such critical information that we are utilizing to finalize our Return to School Plan in the next few weeks:

    • State of Ohio Department of Education Guidelines (Released by Governor DeWine July 2, 2020)
    • State of Ohio Health Department Guidelines and Orders (First release in March with continuous changes based on COVID-19 spread trends)
    • Ohio High School Athletic Association Guidelines (Continuously changing in response to government guidelines/orders and the COVID-19 spread trends)
    • Center for Disease Control Guidelines for the Reopening of Schools (May 19, 2020)
    • Parent, Staff and Student Survey Results (Conducted late June, 2020)
    • Licking County Health Department Guidelines
    • Licking County School Districts Common Re-Opening Agreement (scheduled for completion week of July 13, 2020)
    • Current Trending Reports on the Spread of the COVID-19 virus.
    • American Academy of Pediatrics Considerations and Guidance for the Restart of Schools (Released June 26, 2020)
    • Focus Group Input from meeting with teacher, parent, administrative, board, food service, transportation and health representatives. (Meeting held July 8, 2020)
    • Table Top Exercises with School Districts conducted by Licking County Health Department to further develop health practices and protocols to be used by schools upon the return to school (July 10, 2020)
    • Input from Johnstown Board of Education (Regular meeting July 13, 2020)

                    Currently there is strong evidence from these resources that it is in the best interest of children and society that we get students back to school this fall.   The larger school districts are beginning to roll out their plans to re-start school.  While our local plans will be tailored to our county practices and protocols, you will likely see similarities in our Johnstown and Licking County Schools plans in that they will contain three basic components of learning models to be implemented as needed in response to changing COVID-19 spread alerts:  In-person instruction in buildings 5 days a week, Blended In-Person/Online Learning with some days in-person at school and some days online, and Full Distance Learning.  These various learning models would change as needed in response to COVID-19 health alerts and direction from the Department of Health as follows:

    County Alert Level

                    At this point we are planning to resume school for students on August 19th as previously planned on the approved district calendar INSERT LINK TO DISTRICT CALENDAR; however, we may need to adjust the calendar slightly to accommodate necessary professional development with staff.  When we release our final Return to School Plan we will clarify any such changes that may be necessary. 

                   As we complete our work on our local and county return to school plans in the coming weeks, I want to thank you for the wonderful input and support.  While attitudes and opinions vary greatly on issues such as masks/no masks, in-person vs. online learning, etc. we will get through this most difficult time together.  Nobody has the “right” answer to the many challenges we are facing.  And there is no solution that will please everyone.  But, rest assured that we will do our best to put in place a system of learning for our students that respects the various situations we are all experiencing at home while trying to provide the safest environment possible during these trying times.  I look forward to sharing our final plans in the coming weeks as we prepare to return to school this fall.

               

    Sincerely,

    Dale L. Dickson

    Superintendent

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