With guidance from Miami County Public Health and according to Ohio Department of Health guidelines, students within six feet of another student or staff member for at least 15 consecutive minutes that has tested positive for COVID-19 will be identified for 14-day quarantine, and contact tracing must be done for the 48-hour period prior to the student experiencing symptoms. In completing contact tracing in conjunction with Miami County Public Health personnel, our staff members must consider all aspects of the student day including district transportation, classroom time, lunch tables, and co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
The first student day will be on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.
Active exposure and spread.
The district will provide five-day, in-person instruction per typical school week.
Increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution.
The district will continue to provide five-day, in-person instruction per typical school week.
Very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible.
The district will continue to provide five-day, in-person instruction per typical school week.
Severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services.
Consider Remote Learning Need
The district will consider the number of staff member and student cases, follow any local and state health orders, and frequently assess the necessity of transitioning to fully remote learning facilitated by Milton-Union staff members. Based on recommendations from the CDC, ODH, and ODE the alert level will not automatically lead to fully remote learning without additional consideration.
Every attempt will be made to maintain and encourage six feet social distancing. However, in some areas social distancing will be closer to three or four feet. For example, with all students present on a typical school day, certain classrooms and hallways will be filled, and although promoted and encouraged, six feet social distancing will not always be possible.
Because social distancing may not always be possible in every hallway or classroom, students will be required to have face coverings on their person and use them in accordance with guidelines.
As much as possible, students must use their individual materials for use in the classroom and not share supplies. If for any reason sharing becomes necessary, materials shall be sanitized between users, and/or students will be encouraged to wash and sanitize hands after use.
To encourage social distancing, the district will investigate and implement directional, or one-way, hallways whenever and wherever practical.
In addition to the countywide guidelines, visitors should plan before arriving to one of the district buildings. Once again, a specific protocol will be established for visitors, and parents 9 and caregivers. There will be no access to building offices to drop-off student belongings. Student belongings will need to be brought to secure vestibules located at each building and staff members will handle delivery.
Students who are eligible for free meals and those who would like to purchase breakfast will be given an opportunity to order weekly. Every Monday prior to departure for the day, students will be given enough breakfast items for the following five school days. Students should eat breakfast prior to their arrival at school daily.
Large group student events will be avoided as much as possible.
For the short-term future, field trips are prohibited.
All changes in bus route assignments will require administrative approval. No bus passes will be accepted.
As much as possible, teachers will schedule “classes” or virtual opportunities to engage with students in real time.
Although real time is always better than video, recordings will still be available for students who need other options.
For K-3 teaching and learning, students will likely engage in smaller, differentiated groups as well.
Enrichment and intervention times will likely need scheduled as well and as needed at the discretion of teachers and other school staff members.
We will work towards flexible, differentiated, and independent learning opportunities within a fully remote environment to provide students with multiple pathways.
The student is responsible for engaging in and working towards completing these learning pathways in meaningful ways.
The student is expected to follow set-up policies, procedures, and expectations established and set by teachers for blended or fully remote learning opportunities.
Quarantine & Remote Learning
How are students identified as close contacts for quarantine?
When would the district consider closing school and moving to fully remote instruction?
The district seeks to remain open for in-person instruction. Unless absolutely necessary, we would like to avoid sending additional healthy students home. Before moving to fully remote learning, the district would consider “closing” specific grade levels or buildings. We anticipate any closing would most likely depend on the ability to obtain qualified replacements for quarantined Milton-Union staff members.
Although circumstances continue to be fluid and subject to change, we would consider remote learning for short periods of time instead of an entire marking period, semester, or remainder of the school year. Depending on spread, attendance, and staffing, the district would likely consider two weeks of remote learning to allow circumstances to improve before returning to in-person instruction.
If students are wearing masks and use barriers in most classes, why are students still being quarantined?
To continue to provide in-person instruction safely and in interpreting mandates from the Governor’s Office and Ohio Department of Health, masks, barriers, and social distancing are measures to help prevent staff members and students from contracting the virus. If a student or staff member would test positive for COVID-19 and contact tracing becomes necessary, then quarantining is another layer of protection to help mitigate spread required by the Ohio Department of Health and Miami County Public Health guidelines.
Why are students permitted to attend school when a sibling or another MU student who lives in the same household is sent home for a 14-day quarantine?
In situations like this and according to the Ohio Department of Health and Miami County Public Health guidelines, the quarantined student is considered a primary contact. Other students, parents, and caregivers living in the same household or residence are considered secondary contacts. Family members become primary contacts if/when the quarantined student experiences symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19. Until then, as the district understands this process, other family members may continue to attend school, go to work, etc.
How many actual positive COVID-19 tests have been reported to the school? Staff? Students?
As of Tuesday, January 12, 2021, the district has reported to Miami County Public Health a total of 50 students and 31 staff members with positive test results. These numbers also include any presumptive positives as well. The district will try to communicate trends on a weekly basis and the number of active, positive cases relative to student and staff member populations.
How much notice will I get when the school decides to close?
The district would make every effort to inform families by the preceding Thursday when remote instruction is expected the following week. Meaning, unless there are unforeseen circumstances, we would make every effort to provide 48 hour notice to families. Unforeseen circumstances could include, but may not be limited to, staffing issues involving the transportation department, classroom coverage, and availability of substitutes. In situations like these, we may be unable to provide notice.
Why does the district communicate every new, positive case of COVID-19?
Per the Ohio Department of Health and using communication protocols available to the district, we are required to inform families. As the situation progresses, the district would like to eliminate mass, voice calls and communicate new cases to our public by app notification, text messaging, and social media feeds. We have made every attempt to remain transparent as the pandemic has further affected school operations.
My child was quarantined and now is two weeks behind classmates and her/his grades have dropped. How are teachers going to make this fair?
Grades shouldn’t suffer since the school made the child quarantine, and teachers only provided assignments remotely.
Quarantined students who do not experience symptoms are asked to participate in remote learning. Teachers are providing learning opportunities through the building's online learning platform. Although a student’s grade could be affected during quarantine, our expectation is that performance would improve once the student is able to work with his/her teachers directly. With adequate time to work with teachers more directly, students will have an opportunity to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills to improve letter grades.
Will the school district ask for permission before administering student tests for COVID-19, or will the school even be handling this type of testing at all?
We do not have the capability, capacity, or permission to administer COVID-19 tests at school. Regarding a parent or caregiver’s decision to test his/her child, we would encourage anyone to seek advice from a family physician or Miami County Public Health.
Will there be an Open House this year, and how will my student receive school supplies if already ordered?
We need to conduct internal discussions to creatively provide an open house experience for students and families. This could be in-person, in-person by appointment, remote, etc.
Ensuring school supplies are available for pick-up or delivered to those homes and families already placing orders is a reasonable expectation. We will work on how this can best be accomplished and provide an update soon.
If students go on vacation to an area with a travel advisory, will there be a quarantine process?
As in typical school years, we strongly advise vacations occur during scheduled breaks and holidays aligning with the district calendar. Although quarantining is currently advised when traveling back to Ohio from designated areas, the circumstances of each occurrence will be different and handled on a case-by-case basis with families. Please contact the building principal to discuss a specific situation regarding your student and family.
How can we ensure parents and caregivers are completing self-assessments with their students every morning?
We are counting on parents and caregivers to do their part. By doing so, we will be able to conduct in-person instruction for as long and as much as possible. Keeping children at home who are ill is vital for the health and safety of our staff members and students.
However, we will still take temperatures as needed for individual students exhibiting symptoms and not feeling well. Many classrooms will be equipped with touch free thermometers to assist clinic staff.
The hybrid model is still listed and briefly described in the reopening plan, but there is no clear indication the district would ever transition to one. When would the district ever elect to transition to a hybrid model?
The Board of Education received feedback the hybrid model might be too much trouble for many parents, caregivers, and families to coordinate. The hybrid option described in the document would only be implemented if necessary. The intent would be to engage students in-person until transitioning to a fully remote model facilitated by our teaching staff members.
Circumstances could still lead us toward using a hybrid option. However, the health emergency system would not necessarily trigger its use. Transitioning to a hybrid model would become a subjective decision based on degree of community spread and continued health, safety, and attendance of teaching staff members and students.
If students become ill at school, what is the protocol?
From page five of the district reopening plan…
o Any student or staff member with a fever over 100˚F should stay home.
o Any student or staff member that has the following symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home from school and should see their primary care provider to be assessed for COVID-19.
o Any of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing,
o Two of the following symptoms: fever (measured or subjective), chills, rigors, myalgia, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, GI issues (nausea or vomiting or diarrhea),
o Any of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, fever (measured or subjective), chills, rigors, myalgia, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, GI Issues (nausea and vomiting or diarrhea) AND an epidemiological link to a case of COVID-19.
The above protocol would be followed for students already present in school as well. Parents and caregivers will be contacted to pick-up their children for further evaluation.
Has the first day for students changed?
The first student day is now Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Staff members will be working during the weeks of August 24 and August 31 as part of their regularly contracted time to participate in training, preparation, and instructional planning for the new school year.
How will classrooms look differently than they do now especially in the elementary without dividers in every situation?
We will attempt to conduct the school day as closely as possible to a traditional model yet remain mindful of student and staff member face covering and social distancing requirements. A variety of activities take place in a typical elementary school classroom. With at least three to four feet of distancing and face coverings, most (not all) classroom activities may continue.
How many mask breaks will there be during the day? How many students will be in each classroom? What are specific outdoor learning activities that might be organized? Will recess be provided in a traditional fashion? How will indoor recess work? How will elementary specials be conducted?
We are going to try and conduct the school day as traditionally as possible. Yes, we will have added precautions including, but not limited to, face coverings, distancing, sanitizing protocols, frequent hand washing, etc., but this would all be done to maintain the most typical and consistent, in-person student day possible. In instances when social distancing can be maintained either indoors or outdoors, teachers and staff members will direct opportunities for students to remove face coverings whether a break has been scheduled or not.
Will students have to eat in their classrooms? Can parents and caregivers continue to pack lunches for their students?
Currently, we plan to use the cafeteria and adjacent spaces for lunch periods. Meaning, we will place additional tables in the lobby and gymnasium to allow more distancing between and among students while eating. We would resort to eating in classrooms only if/when necessary. Parents and caregivers may continue to pack lunches for their students.
Has the district considered dividers and transparent barriers?
The district will purchase or construct dividers situationally. For example, some small group instruction may require a transparent barrier or perhaps students receiving Speech and Language services. The district is certainly open to strategies facilitating in person instruction as much and as long as possible for 2020-21.
Describe the process for school transportation.
Paraphrased from page seven of the district reopening plan…
We will allow two students per seat and in some instances three students if the children are younger and therefore smaller.
Children from the same household will be seated together as much as possible.
Seating charts are required and will be available to assist with contact tracing if needed.
Students should load the bus back to front and unload front to back.
Face coverings are required for drivers and students. The district may deny transportation to a student refusing to wear a face covering.
Drivers will observe as students load and unload, and drivers will be trained in the appropriate protocol for working with students. However, when the bus is in motion, our drivers will be focused on safe driving practices and will deal with disruptions collaboratively with parents, caregivers, Transportation Department staff members, and building administration later.
If children become unruly and disruptive, parents and caregivers may be required to provide their own transportation. Parents and caregivers are certainly welcome to transport children to school daily.
What type of face coverings are acceptable?
Cloth face coverings that fit over the ear or can be tied are appropriate. Face shields are also appropriate based on the comfort of the student and family. Surgical and N95 masks are certainly acceptable also but are in short supply and essential for medical professionals. Cloth face coverings pulled up and over the mouth and nose are also acceptable.
Any face coverings provided by families should be compliant with dress code expectations with respect to markings, symbols, and phrases.
The district expects to purchase at least two cloth face coverings per student.
Do students who wish to attend in-person but are unable to wear a mask need documentation from a physician?
We expect to have a waiver process requiring necessary documentation from a physician (i.e., signature, note, or letter) for a specific student’s diagnosis preventing the use of any type of face covering – mask, face shield, etc
What are the consequences if my child refuses to wear a mask?
Under typical circumstances, our schools will treat this situationally like a dress code infraction unless a student becomes confrontational. With confrontation, there is a risk of more severe consequences.
If a student is already refusing to wear a mask without allowing school staff members to work with him/her on courteousness and respectful behavior during this difficult time and if that same student is not eligible for a waiver, perhaps remote instruction would be the best option for everyone involved.
Are students permitted to use district-provided devices to participate in fully remote learning for the semester should a family decide to do so?
At this time, we expect to provide the use of district provided devices for students to complete instruction through Schools PLP.
What fees are associated with on-line learning?
We are looking into a set-up fee. The set-up fee will be comparable to what the district charged in the past for Odyssey and typical of yearly, student school fees for in-person instruction. There should be no additional charges unless a family elects to sign-up for a remote course Milton-Union does not also offer or more than five credits or classes.