Hello, everyone! I’m coming to you early this week in an effort to reach everyone before our attention turns to a much-needed spring break.
Please keep reading below for some important updates. You can also watch my video here.
COVID-19 update and spring break reminders
As many people are aware, after several weeks of seeing a reduction of cases in our schools, we’re starting to see more cases. And of course in the all-in model, that is going to impact more students due to quarantine guidance. The reality is that the pandemic isn’t over yet. In order to make sure we’re successful in all-in learning, we all need to make sure that we’re staying vigilant on health and safety precautions, both during and after the school day. We really want to make sure we all are doing everything we can to keep our students and staff safe and healthy and in school.
So that brings us back to the topic of spring break. We know how challenging this school year has been for families, and how much we all want to take some time together to recharge and to relax. I’ve been asked many times if I am concerned about a rise in cases after spring break - which would also bring a rise in quarantines. The answer is I’m very worried about this possibility, but I also believe in our power to avoid this risk by following safety protocols at all times. In a meeting with the Medical Advisory Team earlier today, they asked me to remind everyone that now is the time to double down on all safety measures - now is not the time to relax. Masks work, and distancing is important. Monitor symptoms and get tested immediately if you’re concerned if you or someone in your household has COVID.
It’s also important that you continue to let us know if your student, or someone in your immediate family, starts experiencing symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19. Please reach out to your school nurse or our COVID nurse coordinator, Gina Rancitelli, at [email protected]. We are so grateful to the families who are reaching out and working with our schools when a student or member of their family is feeling ill. Reporting any symptoms or positive test results, and staying home when you’re feeling ill, helps slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and is really in the best interest of the health and safety of everyone - especially our kids.
At the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, I provided an update on quarantine data for students and staff based on the current guidance from Franklin County Public Health. Current quarantine data, along with a glossary explaining the two quarantine models for schools, will now be available in our weekly update to the COVID-19 data dashboard on our website. We typically update the dashboard on Fridays, but wanted to do it earlier to share in my update this week.
Just today, Governor DeWine announced a change to quarantine guidelines - primarily regarding athletics. As soon as we receive this new guidance in writing from public health we will update our website and adjust our quarantine procedures.
Operating levy decision
Also at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday evening, we covered a number of topics, and I want to spend some time talking about one - our next operating levy. As you may recall, we had expected to be on the ballot this fall. Due to sound financial management and the foresight of the Board of Education early in the pandemic to put in place a cost avoidance plan, the Board was able to vote to postpone the ballot issue until November of 2022. We are proud of being able to both be mindful of the difficult financial situation some residents may be facing and continue to uphold our commitment as good stewards of our community’s investment in our schools.
You can view the meeting presentation here, and a video recording of the regular session of the March 9 meeting is available here.
Women’s History Month
Finally, I want to continue our celebration of Women’s History Month by highlighting a woman who was a longtime Upper Arlington resident and had a big impact on the banking industry, and really everyone, around the world. Harriet Bracken was the first woman vice president of the Huntington National Bank, and in that role, she was a driving force behind the introduction of the ATM. Prior to that, she was an advertising director for F & R Lazarus Company. She was a volunteer for many community organizations, including the Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Commission Board. She accomplished much, much more in her career and life, and was honored as an inductee into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1978.
That does it for my update this week! Have a great spring break, stay safe, and as always, go Bears!
Paul Imhoff, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Upper Arlington Schools