Hello Kirtland Families,
I want to start by saying how proud I am of our students, staff, parents and community. In July, there was uncertainty and doubt that our students would be able to return to school in person. Our staff worked at an unprecedented pace to prepare to teach students in person while streaming to students at home. There also were elementary teachers instructing a virtual class of students. These both are models of instruction that have never been done before. We were unsure if we would be able to move forward with extracurricular activities. Our coaches worked very hard to make sure protocols were in place and our students did so many things to be safe. I feel confident to say that our students have received high level instruction in the classroom and remotely while having access to extracurricular activities. The goal to have students in person until Thanksgiving Break seemed bleak before the school year even started. While we are close to Thanksgiving break, recent COVID-19 numbers and the cases in and around our school will have us ending in person learning TODAY.
The rate for COVID-19 positive cases in Lake County has taken a drastic turn for the worse. We have gone from 25 cases a day to over 200. Our health department has shared that they are no longer contact tracing because the volume of cases has made it impossible. Health Commissioner Ron H. Graham stated, “Systematic testing, contact tracing, and supported isolation and quarantine remain the cornerstone of an effective public health response to the COVID-19 epidemic. However, the ongoing high level of disease activity in Lake County, and across Ohio, is resulting in alarming numbers of cases and exposed contacts that exceed the capacity of the public health workforce in nearly all jurisdictions. Getting a test and the results is taking longer. Because of these factors, health officials are predicting that Lake County will likely see over 800 cases a day in December. The hospitals are filling up and there are staffing shortages.” Ron Graham also stated today, “Schools are strongly encouraged to implement a transition plan where all students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.”
Kirtland Local Schools has been fortunate to not have a lot of positive cases in the buildings, but the number of cases on the periphere have increased significantly over the past few weeks resulting in more quarantines. With a very high rate of transmission taking place in our area, there is a concern the rate will accelerate over Thanksgiving break. Health officials have seen a spike after other holidays when people get together and that was during a time when we had a lower transmission rate in the area. Based on all of these factors and the health department’s recommendation, Kirtland Local Schools will put a pause on all athletics and extracurricular activities after Saturday, November 21st. Based on all of these factors, we will be moving to remote learning November 23 and plan to return to in person learning on January 4. We will continue to be in contact with health officials over the next few weeks to make the decision and determine if it is safe to bring our students and staff back on January 4 in a hybrid or all-in model. If it is not, we will continue with the remote learning model.
Today we learned that a bus driver has tested positive but no close contacts were identified from this case. We also had a middle school teacher that started exhibiting symptoms and is going for a COVID-19 test this afternoon. The health department gave the recommendation to quarantine four staff members that were near this teacher and put four others on the monitor list (they don’t need to quarantine but need to pay extra close attention for symptoms). The teachers placed in quarantine were all sent home around 9:30 am today; the other students in the classrooms do not have to quarantine because they are contacts of a possible close contact.
While we are remote, please continue to email me if your child is in quarantine or tests positive so we can keep our information up to date. I will not be sending out emails to everyone while we are remote about close contacts or positive cases. Our COVID-19 dashboard will be kept up to date to keep you informed.
Our remote schedule and expectations are much different compared to last spring. There is a schedule that students will be following daily. Attendance will be taken live each day. Teachers will be providing live instruction and feedback. I feel confident that with our talented teachers and hardworking students, they will continue moving forward with their learning. I do ask for your support ensuring that our students are logging in and working hard on their academics daily.
Here is a link to the remote schedule starting on Monday, Novemer 23: Remote Learning Schedule
More specific information on remote learning will be coming soon from your building principal.
Here is a look at the upcoming dates:
November 21 Last day for extra curricular activities
November 23 Online learning starts for all K-12 students
November 25 Thanksgiving break begins
December 21-January 1 Winter break
January 4 Return to school in hybrid or all in (will be based on data and the recommendation of the health department)
January 18 MLK Day - NO SCHOOL
January 25 and 26 Finals for KHS
Lunch and breakfast pickup will still take place on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in front of Kirtland High School. Each child will receive five lunches and five breakfasts on Wednesday. Here is the link (Food Order Form) that must be completed each day by Tuesday at 9 a.m. There will not be a pick up on 11/25/20 or during winter break. If you have questions, please email email@example.com.
If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I appreciate your ongoing help and support.
Chad VanArnhem, Superintendent