Last school year, the Westerville City Schools opened in a fully remote instructional environment. By following established health and safety protocols, eventually the district was able to transition to a blended learning model and ultimately return all students to the classroom to complete the year.
The goal this year is to keep children in school, receiving in-person instruction, for the entire year while maintaining the health of our students and staff. This will be possible with everyone’s continued vigilance in following the health and safety measures that are being put in place for the 2021-22 school year. Recent state legislation prohibits the Governor and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) from issuing and enforcing health orders. This legislation also impacts the measures that schools can enact that take into consideration a person’s vaccination status. Therefore, ODH is only issuing recommendations for the state’s public schools.
The Superintendent's Family Safety Message summarizes the most important health and safety measures now in place, such as mask requirements, physical distancing, and other procedures intended to keep staff and students healthy while in our schools and on our grounds.
Regarding the district's mask requirement, one important thing to know is that by requiring masks in a school environment, especially indoors, district officials can keep the option of “Modified Quarantine” in place for children and adults. That means that even if found to be a “close contact” with a confirmed case of COVID-19, students and adults may continue to be at school. Many families struggled last year to find care and supervision when their children were quarantined at home, or while our schools operated under remote instruction, so we hope to ease that burden by doing what is necessary to keep kids in school this year.
Current and future decisions remain subject to change based upon new developments and information that becomes available. As we move forward together, our district and school leadership, as well as other school staff, will continue to communicate to families any health/safety information that is specific to their instructional program(s) and learning community. At the district level, we will continue to consult with our local health officials and monitor the data that inform our decision-making process. We will follow all applicable quarantine and communication requirements when any confirmed cases of COVID-19 become known.
In the event of increased health concerns, contingency plans remain in place to put individual schools or the entire district in remote learning. This would allow us to continue teaching and learning while slowing the spread of the virus. If we ever transition to a different instructional model, we would plan to remain in that new model for at least 10 school days.