Dear Upper Arlington families,
I hope you and your students have enjoyed the second week of the school year! Please watch my video for updates on our upcoming transition to hybrid learning and the Litchford family cemetery site.
Public health update
The news this week for Franklin County is very positive - on Thursday, Governor DeWine lowered the county to a level 2, or orange, on the Ohio Health Public Alert System. In addition, Franklin County Public Health has issued new guidance saying the data now supports hybrid learning.
Hybrid transition update
As you know, the Board of Education has been following the improving health data and anticipated the changes, approving a hybrid transition plan that will have all of our students in the school-based pathway back in school the week of September 21. We can’t wait to have our students back in our buildings!
As we shared in our Responsible Restart Plan, our Hybrid learning model is a blend of in-person and remote learning for students. This allows for a reduced number of students (approximately 50%) in the buildings at any time and 6 feet of physical distancing as recommended by public health officials.
During the in-person learning days, students will engage in teacher-led learning experiences and prepare for independent online learning assignments at home. During their remote learning days, students will independently complete assignments via their grade-level learning platform - Seesaw (K-3) or Canvas (4-12). On these days, there will not be a set schedule or Zoom sessions for nearly all general education classes.
We will be taking the first step on Monday as our special education students who are served by our moderate/intensive intervention specialists return to our school buildings for in-person learning.
During the week of September 14, we will be providing in-person transition days for all elementary students and students in sixth and ninth grades. You can view the elementary transition day schedule here, the Wickliffe only schedule here and the middle school and high school schedule here. Students in grades 7-8 and 10-12 who are new to the district or have an Individualized Education Plan will also have the option to attend school in-person on their hybrid group’s designated day. These transition days will give students an opportunity to become familiar with new or different learning spaces and practice health and safety protocols in a smaller-group setting.
Upcoming hybrid information sessions
You can visit our website to learn more about what the transition week will look like for all students. We will also begin sharing a series of short videos on hybrid and the hybrid transition next week. In addition, we have several virtual information sessions coming up to share more specifics on the hybrid model and the health and safety protocols for our school day.
Tuesday, September 8 at 6 p.m. — Elementary-level information session
Wednesday, September 9 at 7 p.m. — Jones Middle School information session
Thursday, September 10 at 7 p.m. — Hastings Middle School information session
Monday, September 14 at 6 p.m. — High School information session
Please mark your calendars, and watch your email from the district or your principal with a Zoom link to join the webinar. We will also be live-streaming these sessions on our district YouTube account, so you can watch at any time if you have a conflict.
Online Academy update
As we prepare for the shift to in-person hybrid learning, we are offering students in the school-based pathway the option of transitioning to the UA Online Academy and students in the Online Academy the option of switching to the school-based option (in-person hybrid learning).
Please complete one of the following forms only if you wish to have your student transition to or from the Online Academy. The deadline for these forms is 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, September 2.
To transition to the Online Academy from the school-based pathway (hybrid learning), please complete this form.
To transition from the Online Academy to hybrid learning, please complete this form.
This will be the last opportunity for families to transition to or from the Online Academy for the remainder of the semester, which ends with the start of winter break. Switching at any point during the rest of the 2020 calendar year will not be permitted.
We have had many concerns arise about the Acellus content platform that we are using in the Online Academy, most notably at the elementary level, and we have already had several videos removed from the platform. While we know that there isn’t a single perfect digital resource, we do feel we must shift away from the Acellus platform at the elementary level and evaluate other options at the secondary level. Over the next few weeks, we will be working with OA teachers and a team of parent volunteers to review alternate digital resources based on our expectations for rigor of content and instructional delivery, and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. During this process, we are committed to continuing to support learning for all Online Academy students.
Cemetery site update
I also wanted to provide an update on the Litchford family cemetery site near the current high school. This week we have continued to work with our archaeological team and some of Mr. Litchford’s descendants. We all agree that this is just the beginning of the journey to properly honoring the people laid to rest in the cemetery, commemorating the site and bringing more awareness to the many contributions the Litchfords made to our community. We look forward to working together and with our students, staff and community members to ensure we are teaching the full history of our community.
Remember that due to the new state order on athletics, tickets to our athletic events are only available to the families of our student athletes and marching band members. We will not be able to honor walk-up tickets or any type of passes.
We appreciate your understanding as we work to keep these events safe for our students.
Have a great weekend, and as always, go Bears!
Paul Imhoff, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Upper Arlington Schools