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Change in Learning Levels Beginning February 1, 2021

At the Saturday, January 23, 2021 North Union Board of Education work session, the board approved the attached recommendation for a change in learning levels beginning February 1, 2021.

January 23, 2021

Our goal is for our district to return to Learning Level 1 before the end of the 2020 - 2021 school year.

To date, we have been able to maximize our learning opportunities by making informed decisions through each of our learning levels.

August 17, 2020 - September 1, 2020 - twelve (12) days of staff professional development
September 8, 2020 - October 2, 2020 - nineteen (19) days of Learning Level 2
October 5, 2020 - November 16, 2020 - twenty-nine (29) days of Learning Level 1
November 17, 2020 - November 24, 2020 - six (6) days of Learning Level 4
November 30, 2020 - January 22, 2021 - twenty-eight (28) days of Learning Level 2

We are currently four (4) days into the second semester, and eighty-four (84) days remain in the school year.

We continue to gather input and information from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s office, Union County Emergency Management Agency (UCEMA), the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County (MHRBUC) and the Union County Health Department (UCHD). We gather information through surveys, meetings, and conversations from the community, staff, and students.

I am beyond proud of the work of our entire community, support system, board of education, administration, staff, parents, and students.

To date, we have had forty-seven (47) positive cases of COVID-19, twenty-three (23) student cases, and twenty-four (24) staff cases. The first case in the district was reported November 4, 2020.

Six hundred and sixteen (616) staff and students have been placed in quarantine. Three hundred and seventeen (317) of those were placed in quarantine due to direct contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

On January 21, 2021, interpretation of ODH guidance was finalized that impacted the quarantine of students at North Union Elementary School (NUES). A letter explaining that guidance is attached. In summary, this guidance applies if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. Students in grades PK-5 (NUES students)
  2. The exposure happened in the classroom or on school transportation
  3. Students were not within three (3) feet of the positive student for more than fifteen minutes cumulatively.

As a result of this criteria, the students will still need to quarantine from all activities outside the classroom including extra-curricular activities for the required time.

This new guidance, for example, could now prevent whole classroom quarantines like we have had to do previously.

As a part of our Reset/Restart Plan, in Learning Level 1, NUES students work in cohorts of less than twenty-five (25) students. This minimizes the possibility for exposure in large numbers. North Union Middle School (NUMS) students work in cohorts of less than fifty (50) students which also minimizes exposure. A cohort group at NUHS is much more difficult to achieve because of the needs of the students and course requirements. An exposure at NUHS could possibly affect great numbers of students. In addition, most of the North Union High School (NUHS) student body participates in either outside of school activities and/or employment. An exposure at school would prevent participation in those activities due to quarantine.

During the month of February, we hope to have started that vaccination process with our staff in cooperation with UCHD.

Therefore, unless further spread is concerning enough to change learning levels in the following time frame, this is my proposal to the board of education as we move toward a hopeful return to Learning Level 1 on March 1, 2021.

February 1, 2021 - February 26, 2021
NUES - Learning Level 1, with Wednesdays remaining remote learning days.
NUMS - Learning Level 1, with Wednesdays remaining remote learning days.
NUHS - Continue with Learning Level 2

Identifying and providing interventions for vulnerable and credit deficient students will be a focus for the second semester in all buildings at all grade levels as we extend into the summer and 2021 - 2022 school year. CARES funding dollars will be targeted to identify, support, and provide interventions to our students. This could include using Wednesdays for interventions, summer school programming, and personalized learning interventions for students.

We will revisit the plan at the February 22, 2021 board of education meeting, with the possibility of a full return to school on March 1, 2021.

Richard J. Baird
Superintendent

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