Safety Recommendation FAQs

STUDENT WELL-BEING

How does the school district plan to improve support for students’ social and emotional needs?
UA Schools has a long tradition of focusing on the whole child.  Students benefit from ample staffing in the areas of counseling, nursing and other social and emotional support positions.  In addition, students are provided a wide array of after-school clubs and activities to help them explore their own interests and passions.

To further this commitment to the well-being of students, as a part of the strategic planning process, the district will convene a team of students, staff members, community members and wellness experts to identify the next steps to take in areas such as, but not limited to, mental health supports, safety, cultural competency, bullying prevention, substance abuse prevention, student stress reduction and physical health.  This will ensure the district is meeting its mission to not only challenge but also support every student, every step of the way.

SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS

Why add funding to the School Resource Officer (SRO) program instead of staffing for counselors, social workers or mental health providers?
The district is committed to investing in the staffing needed for all areas of student safety and well-being. This includes the recommended addition of two SROs, per the safety audit, as well as positions such as social workers and mental health providers.  

As part of the strategic planning process beginning in the fall of 2018, the social and emotional needs of students will be studied by a group of parents.  That group will provide a briefing paper to the Board of Education that will inform the next strategic plan and future staffing in our schools.

What preparation do officers have before working in schools?
Upper Arlington’s school resource officers would go through a special training before beginning their work in the schools.  They would work in tandem with principals and teachers to support a safe school environment and to provide an additional role model and confidant for students. Principals would also be part of the interview process for the recommended two new SRO positions.

Lunch Polices and Procedures

Will there be enough seating for all of the students staying in for lunch?
Yes, if the recommendation to phase in closed lunch at the high school is approved, we would add seating to accommodate all of the students dining in.

What areas will be open for student dining in 2018-2019?  
If the Board of Education approves the recommended phase-in for closed lunch, we will have student dining spaces in the auditorium lobby and the varsity gymnasium, in addition to the east and west cafeterias, during the 2018-2019 school year.  In addition, we would have a supervised outdoor dining option in the front courtyard near the main entrance on Ridgeview Road.  

In tandem with the recommended phase-in, we would work with students on a new Lunchtime Advisory Team to explore additional options for student dining at the high school, both inside and outside. 

Will students be allowed outside to get fresh air?
Yes, there would be a supervised outdoor dining area in the Ridgeview Road courtyard near the main entrance.  Additional outdoor spaces may be identified through the work with students on the Lunchtime Advisory Team.

Will outdoor areas on the school site be chaotic after construction starts?
The existing high school building would serve as a buffer from construction traffic and noise for those students who choose to have lunch in the supervised Ridgeview Road courtyard.

Will there be additional space constructed to create new dining areas in the existing building?  
No new additions are planned for the existing building.  The new dining areas would be created by rethinking the use of existing spaces and adding tables, chairs and other types of seating.

Will we have to change the lunch schedule (start earlier/add periods) to be able to serve all of the freshmen and upperclassmen who choose to stay in for lunch?
We would retain the current two-period lunch schedule for the 2018-2019 school year, with the plan to review the scheduling needs for future years as the phase-in continues.

If additional lunch periods would need to be added in future years, would that impact student scheduling choices?
No.  The lunch schedule could be changed without changing students’ scheduling options.

Who will be able to “check out” students for lunch?  
With the recommended phase-in of closed lunch, parents and guardians would have the option of coming to the school to pick up their student to go out to lunch or have lunch at home.

Can parents send in a note or call to let their child leave for lunch?
No, the recommendation to close lunch means that students would no longer be able to leave the building during lunch periods without a parent or guardian.

Could we have food trucks for students?
Our nutritional services department would explore many different ideas for food choices and service points with the students on the Lunchtime Advisory Team.  Food truck vendors might be an option for future partnerships.

If the district is going to implement a student ID card system that will help with tracking attendance, won’t that take care of many of the concerns regarding open lunch?
The recommendations to close lunch and implement a new ID card system are both part of an overall multilayered approach to improving safety and security at the high school.  While the ID system would help the school keep track of identifying who is inside and outside of the building, closing lunch would reduce the flow of traffic into and out of the building.  Safety experts advise that they are both important parts of an overall safety approach.  

Who will be part of the advisory board for the freshman class?  Can anyone participate?
Any student in the incoming freshman class (graduating class of 2022) is welcome to join the Lunchtime Advisory Team.  Additional information regarding participation will be provided to families by email following the June 27 Board of Education meeting if the recommendation to close lunch is approved.

If closed lunch is safer than open lunch, why are we phasing this in over four years?
The phase-in approach would give the school needed time to build the required capacity to provide lunch service to all students.  In the interim, parents and guardians of sophomore, junior and senior students may choose to have their students remain on campus during lunch by indicating that preference on the electronic back-to-school forms that will be available in late July.

Why is this decision being made over the summer?
The safety recommendation process is following the timeline laid out during the February 26, 2018 town hall meeting on safety.  At that point the Board of Education had commissioned the safety audit to be conducted in conjunction with police and fire.  The report was completed in mid-May, and Superintendent Paul Imhoff presented the summary report and related recommendations at the next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting, June 12, 2018.

Questions or Comments?

Community members may send thoughts and comments to safety@uaschools.org to reach all Board of Education members and district administrators.
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