As part of the American Rescue Plan, the Conneaut Area City School DIstrict is required to submit and publicly post a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction plan to our school community and to the Ohio Department of Education for the 2021-2022 school year.
At this time, as has been the case since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, it is challenging for the district to know what the future holds in terms of guidelines and restrictions that will be placed on us. As with all of our plans, this plan could change based on recommendations and guidelines we receive from the Conneaut Health Department and the impact the coronavirus is having in our district. As we have stated since the beginning, our concern is not only for the safety of our students and staff but our Conneaut community as well.
Return to In-Person Learning: CACS believes our students need to return to our physical school buildings 5 days a week beginning August 30. The district will not be supporting the SOAR program as we had during the 2020-2021 school year. We are looking into partnerships for those who want to remain on remote learning. We will have the option for periodic remote learning days which will be supported by the district.
We will be holding a return to school opening as we had last year where families will report to an individual meeting with the classroom teacher. This will take place sometime during our staff return week (August 25, 26, 27). More information on the return to school plan will follow.
Social-Emotional Learning/Mental Health Needs: Some of our students have not been in the school building since March of 2020. Even those who attended school on the hybrid model have not had a normal school year. The pandemic has created a new level of stress not only for our students but our staff as well. CACS will continue to partner with the Community Counseling Center of Ashtabula County to help our students navigate the return to school. Also, we will continue to use Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) and help our students and staff reconnect with each other.
Face Masks: CACS will follow the recommendations regarding facial coverings in the school district. At this time, face masks are required for those who are in school and have not been vaccinated. The Board will make a determination on face coverings at the August Board Meeting upon consulting with the Conneaut Health Department. Should facing covering not be required, we will support students and staff who wish to wear face masks during the school day.
Physical Distancing: As with face masks, CACS will follow distancing guidelines for schools. It can be a challenge so we will distance to the greatest extent possible while keeping kids in school.
Hand washing: Even before COVID, proper hand washing is important to fight all germs. Hand washing is encouraged for all staff and students throughout the school day. CACS will continue to provide hand sanitizer in the buildings and on the busses.
Cleaning and Maintaining Healthy Facilities: CACS will continue to keep our buildings cleaned regularly. We kept additional custodians on staff over the summer. During the school year, classrooms, busses, bathrooms will be sanitized and cleaned throughout the day.
Health Protocols: CACS will provide the most up to date criteria on health protocols that we receive in partnership with the Conneaut Health Department. Staff and students should continue to conduct health assessments at home prior to coming into the school buildings or boarding busses. We encourage students and staff who have covid-like symptoms to stay home.
Contract tracing: CACS will continue to work with the Conneaut Health Department to investigate COVID cases to determine close contacts and determine quarantine protocol.
Vaccinations: CACS staff were provided two vaccination clinics in February and March of 2021, as well as a vaccination clinic for our 18 and over students in April and May. Understanding vaccinations are not required, we do encourage all eligible students and staff to receive a vaccination prior to returning to school to contain the spread of new variants and keep our district and community safe.
School Meals: As we were able to do last year, the USDA will continue to support free breakfast and lunch meals in the 2021-22 school year. We still request that families fill out forms at the beginning of the year. More information will follow in August.
Accommodations: CACS will continue to provide accommodations for students with disabilities or those on documented health plans. Additionally, CACS has hired additional teaching staff in order to provide support services for our students' academic, social, emotional and mental health needs through various interventions. We also have strived to keep class sizes smaller in this first year return to in-person learning.
Periodic Review: CACS will review this plan monthly and will adapt (pivot) as guidelines and recommendations dictate a change.
Public Input: School community stakeholders are welcome to call or email Lori Riley, Superintendent (firstname.lastname@example.org; 440-593-7201) to provide feedback on the plan. Feedback will be shared with the Conneaut Board of Education as decisions are made regarding the health and safety of our students, staff and community. For specific building questions, families should contact the building administrators.
WE REMAIN #SPARTANSTRONG