Bexley City School District Update

November 23 & 24 Are Student Non-Attendance Days


Over the last two weeks we have seen a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in the state and in Franklin County and tomorrow a county-wide “stay at home advisory” goes into effect. Many of you may be wondering what this means for our schools. 

We are grateful to our students and staff for adhering to our health and safety precautions, they are working and our schools continue to be a safe place to learn. We are not seeing the spread happen in our classrooms, however, we are beginning to see an increase in staff and student quarantines and as a result are starting to face difficulties in staff coverage. It is vitally important that we all continue to follow the protocols at school as well as in our social gatherings and do our part to keep each other healthy and our schools open.

The BCS Evaluation Team is a dedicated group of Bexley medical professionals who consistently volunteer their time and energy to provide recommendations to our District. This team recently developed a Learning Mode Decision Tool that was adopted by our Board of Education on Tuesday. We appreciate their measured guidance with each new development as our District leadership considers shifts in our learning model in reaction to COVID-19. At this time, we are not shifting our learning model and will continue to share our decision-making process with you. 

COVID-19 is undoubtedly a serious concern and we do not take it lightly but what is keeping me, and many of our faculty, up at night is the mental health of our students and staff. Many respondents in our survey indicated a need for their own and others’ social and mental health. What makes us Distinctly Bexley is our response to those concerns that we all agree are fundamental to student and staff success. We must respond to those who are feeling stressed, isolated, overburdened, overwhelmed, and fatigued with compassion and empathy. 

We are going to provide our students, their families, our faculty, and staff an opportunity to breathe, catch up on those professional tasks that seemingly elude them, regroup and restore their energies in order to approach the three weeks in December feeling on top of the game. In order to achieve this, Monday and Tuesday of next week will be Student Non-Attendance Days. While we believe that students being physically present in school is important, we also recognize a balance is needed for our staff and students, now more than ever.

Students will have an opportunity to use these days as they need to continue learning at home, complete projects, or remotely connect with peers or staff. Teachers will use these days to grade, assess their instructional goals for the remainder of the year, and collaborate with colleagues or students as needed. The primary purpose of these days is to focus on setting students and staff up for a strong finish to the first semester. No new instructional material will be provided on these days.

When we return for the final weeks of the first semester on November 30, mental wellness and school/work-life balance will continue to stay a focal point. Academic progress will be thwarted if we are not healthy and ready to learn and engage. Many in the Bexley community have repeated the same phrase over the last few weeks, “Please just do what is best for the students and staff.” We firmly believe this is what is best for our students and our faculty & staff and wish your family a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. 



Athletics, Child Care, and Food Delivery


Athletics
A suspension of athletics and in-person extracurricular activities goes in to place immediately through December 18. This is consistent with the "strongly advised" stay-at-home guidance from the Health Commissioners of the City of Columbus and Franklin County.

Meals
Yesterday, meals were delivered to those who are signed up to receive them. Enough food was provided to last through the holiday break.


Child Care
Working closely with Bexley City Schools, Bexley Recreation will be offering School's Off, Camp's On (SOCO) program on Monday, Nov. 23 and Tuesday, Nov. 24. This program has been put together to provide daycare support for families, and will mirror the normal school hours of 8:15 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. The structure of the program will not be an education focus, rather we will operate more like a camp setting with both outdoor and indoor activities, while adhering to COVID-19 safety measures.

All participants must register at no cost. Registration is now open and will remain open until tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 20th) at 1 p.m. Please note, 1 p.m. is a hard deadline on registration so that we can quickly plan the space and staffing coverage.

Registration Link

COVID-19 safety measures will be followed, which will include, but are not limited to, the requirement of self-health assessments before attending, masks, and social distance procedures while in the building.

Following the completion of registration, we will reach back out to all families with information about their child(ren) site location, staff, and final details about the program. We hope this program will help support our families as we all continue to adapt to this pandemic.

Please feel free to reach out to Michael Price ([email protected] or 614-559-4300) with any questions.
Learning Mode Decision Tool Adopted By Board



During Tuesday evening's special meeting, the board of education adopted the Learning Mode Decision Tool (pictured above). You can view the entire decision tool by clicking here.

The evaluation team is comprised of the Superintendent, Director of Operations, epidemiologists, pediatricians, school nurses, BEA Leadership, staff, and members of the Board of Education. In general, the evaluation team will follow the following timeline.

Evaluation - When the decision tool metrics indicate “Evaluate for All-in” or “Evaluate for Remote” status, the evaluation team will meet on Thursday of that week to evaluate the conditions for recommending a change in learning mode. The evaluation team will consider the county, city, and school contexts, trends, changes in these metrics from previous weeks, and any other relevant data, including the following additional metrics: multiple COVID-19 cases in a single classroom, grade, or building; number of quarantining or absent staff members and students, including by cohort, such as sports teams and other extracurricular groups; rate of nurse visits for COVID-19/influenza-like symptoms. The evaluation team may also be called together in order to evaluate conditions if recommended by the Superintendent, the Director of Operations, or the Board of Education President.

Watch week - The evaluation team will share a recommendation about shifting learning mode with the Superintendent and Board of Education President on Thursday evening. If a change in learning mode is under consideration, the Superintendent and Board President will announce on Friday and the following week will be a “watch week.” During the watch week, the District would remain in the current learning mode, giving the community time to prepare for a possible change. The evaluation team will meet on Thursday of the watch week to evaluate the week’s data. If the evaluation team recommends that the data from the watch week supports a shift in learning mode, the Board of Education would hold a Board meeting the following day (Friday) to vote on changing the learning mode; any change would be implemented starting the following Monday.

If, given current data, the evaluation team does not recommend a change in learning mode, the following week is not considered a watch week. The evaluation team will continue to meet on Thursdays if the decision tool metrics indicate an “evaluate” status.

This decision tool may be revised in light of new information about COVID-19 transmission and safety, or in response to feedback from teachers, staff, administration, and parents. The Superintendent and Board of Education may change instructional modes outside of this decision tool, including to be consistent with orders and recommendations issued by Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Franklin County Public Health (FCPH), Columbus Public Health (CPH), or other regional, state or federal guidance. Changes in learning modes, including targeted closure of classrooms, grades, or buildings, may be pursued with consideration of this learning mode decision tool.

Resolution Regarding the Learning Mode Decision Tool
Learning Mode Decision Tool Resources
Traveling For The Holiday?


Please refer to the following guidance documents when considering travel plans for the holidays:


COVID-19 Symptoms Reminder


In order to keep our students in school, the following guidelines are critical to practice:

  • Maintain a distance of at least 6’ from anyone outside of your household.
  • Wear a mask at all times while indoors (other than in your house). Wear masks outside when you are unable to keep a distance of at least 6’.
  • Keep social circles small, and continue following mask and distancing guidelines within those circles.
  • Stay at home if you’re sick, showing symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed.
  • Maintain careful hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and warm water often, for a minimum of 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.       

Keep your child home if they have any of the following symptoms:
  • Fever (100.4 F or higher)
  • New or worsened cough
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • New or worsened nasal congestion or runny nose      
Or two or more of the following:    
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • New or worsened fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Quarantine Questions


If a household member is quarantined but does not have symptoms, can the other school-age members of the home report to school? 
Yes. If someone is a quarantined member of the home is without COVID-19 symptoms, the other members of the household can report to school. If the quarantined member of the home develops symptoms, then all students should remain at home.

If a household member has COVID symptoms, should the other school-age members of the home report to school? 
No. Once a household member becomes symptomatic and/or tests positive for COVID-19 all household members should avoid close contact with the symptomatic and/or COVID-19 at home if possible and remain home. Please contact the school nurse.


What if I am notified that someone I had close physical contact with was lab-diagnosed with COVID-19?
Please contact your school office or use the confidential online reporting system located on our website. Students with known close physical contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the date of the last contact with the infected person. If the exposed person lives with someone who is COVID-19 positive and cannot avoid continued close contact (e.g. a parent caring for a child with COVID-19, no separate room for isolating the sick household member, or close living quarters with the inability to keep a physical distance of 6 feet from the infected household member), the exposed individual must quarantine for 14 days after the infected person meets criteria to end home isolation (10 days from symptom onset, 24 hours fever free, and symptoms improving).

Service Model Task Force Reviews Feedback & Recommendations


The Service Model Task Force met for the second time Wednesday, November 18.

November 18 Service Model Task Force Agenda

During the meeting, the smaller workgroups presented their recommendations, which they crafted during their meetings throughout the past two weeks. The workgroups specialize in K-5 General Education, 6-12 General Education, Allied Arts, Band/Strings, Specialists, and Community/Communication.

The task force also reviewed the data and feedback collected through our 6th - 12th-grade student survey (pictured below) and our community feedback form.

Workgroups will meet again between now and December 7 to review and respond to recommendations and feedback gathered from the task force, explore new ideas, and define the final recommendations.

The full task force meets next on December 8 to determine the final recommendations, which will be presented to the board on December 15.




Bexley e-Learning Academy Registration Is Open For Second Semester


Registration is now open for the Bexley e-Learning Academy for the second semester. The registration form can be accessed at https://forms.gle/LcpCH9gtMZpJi8E87.

All current e-learning families should complete the form to indicate their preference either way to remain in e-Learning or return to school. Families whose students are currently attending school on-site in the hybrid model should only complete the form if they want to enroll in the Bexley e-Learning Academy for second semester.

Click here to learn more about the Bexley e-Learning Academy.

A deadline for enrollment has not yet been set, but the registration window will be open for at least three weeks. When the due date is determined, it will be shared at least a full week in advance.