I hope you had a wonderful spring break and a great week with your students back in the school-based pathway or in the Online Academy. You can watch my video update here, or continue reading below.
I want to start off my update this week by sharing our support for our Asian students, colleagues, families, friends and all others impacted by the recent mass murder in the Atlanta area and acts of violence against the Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. In the past year, there have been nearly 3,800 incidents against members of these communities. We are here to support anyone who is struggling with these tragedies.
As you know, the Board of Education has taken a strong anti-racism stance, adopting a resolution in June 2020 committing to eliminate racism, social injustice, bias and bigotry in our school community. This is an essential part of our mission of challenging and supporting every student, every step of the way.
COVID-19 rapid at-home test kits
I want to again thank all of the families who came out on Monday to pick up free COVID-19 rapid at-home test kits for their students. This voluntary program was a proactive way to identify positive cases before students came back to school. The Medical Advisory Team encouraged us to remind everyone that each kit does have an expiration date, so please make sure to use those before that date.
We will also be making these free rapid test kits available for pick-up only from our school health offices for any family who wishes to test their child at home due to symptoms or quarantine. To receive a free rapid COVID-19 test kit, you may complete this waiver and contact your school nurse to coordinate pick-up. You can reach out to the school nurse or COVID Nurse Coordinator Gina Rancitelli RN, BSN, LSN, at [email protected] or 614-487-5035 with your student’s test results and questions about the kits.
Updated quarantine guidance
During spring break, we received an updated guidance document from the Ohio Department of Health. Franklin County Public Health has also adopted these changes. Both documents are posted on our website. We’ve been through many changes with quarantine protocols this school year, and I wanted to provide a separate video on the new quarantine guidance. You can also see our updated COVID-19 dashboard here.
Online learning survey for 2021-2022
As we plan for next school year, we would like to gauge how many families may be interested in an entirely online learning option for 2021-2022. Please complete this survey if you think you may want online learning as an option for your student this fall. The survey will close on April 9.
Important kindergarten registration reminder
I want to strongly encourage any families who want to register their students for kindergarten this fall to please complete that process as soon as possible. We are incredibly excited to launch all-day kindergarten for Upper Arlington students beginning this fall. Completing the registration process now will help us with planning and staffing so we can provide the best possible experience for each student - and it will also help families get their preferred time for a kindergarten screening appointment. You can learn more and begin the registration process at www.uaschools.org/kindergarten.aspx.
Burbank Early Childhood School (BECS) is currently accepting preschool applications for children ages 2 to 5 years for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. Next year, BECS will continue to follow riguous health and safety protocols while simultaneously providing children with an unparalleled education. Call 614-487-5155 to learn more about enrolling your child.
Well-being surveys for students
Knowing that this is such a challenging year and in alignment with our strategic plan, we will be spending time in April having our grade 3-12 students take a social-emotional well-being survey called Panorama. For grades 6-12, the survey will also include questions about diversity, equity and inclusion, with the potential of expanding it in the future to the grades 3-5.
Coming up in May we will again engage students in grades 7-12 in our biannual OHYes survey, which goes beyond the Panorama survey by measuring the health and risk behaviors and environmental factors that impact our students’ health and safety. You can see a summary from The Stand Project of the 2019 OHYes survey data.
Women’s History Month
Finally, as we continue our celebration of Women’s History Month, I want to tell you about a Franklin County woman who in November of 2018 became the first Asian-American woman elected to the Ohio Senate. Senator Tina Maharath was inspired to dedicate her life to public service because of her upbringing as the daughter of refugee parents from Laos, a country in Southeast Asia. She is a native of Whitehall and currently serves that community and several other areas of Franklin County as a first-term senator. She was also recently selected to serve in the leadership role of Minority Whip. Before becoming a state senator, Maharath was involved in Columbus’ annual Asian Festival and Ohio’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Legislative Day.
Have a great weekend, and as always, go Bears!
Paul Imhoff, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Upper Arlington Schools