All-In

At the Board of Education meeting last night the board approved a transition to All-In instruction on Monday, March 22nd. 

This is revised from my original thought of April 5th because 1,150 Worthington staff members had received their first dose of the vaccine by Saturday, February 13th meaning that they should receive their second vaccine dose by March 6th and be fully protected around March 20th. Additionally, March 22nd is more in line with Dublin, Hilliard, Olentangy and Bexley. 

By moving All-In on March 22nd we continue to protect our staff by waiting for full protection, and we gain back some valuable instructional time before Spring Break while having the last 8 weeks of school with our students All-In.  This also sets the standard that we will be All-In next school year.

My rationale for moving to All-In at this point would be that:

  • Over the last few months we have seen that our concerns that schools could be places of high spread because they are congregate settings have not been realized in some communities.  (Large suburban districts such as Mason and Lakota in Cincinnati, Big Walnut in the OCC, private schools such as Watterson,etc…)
  • While community spread continues to be high as defined by the CDC, we see a significant decline in our CATS numbers week after week and schools have proven to be safe places with low infection rates. This finding supports the benefits of using multiple mitigation strategies including masks, social distancing, enhanced cleaning and sanitation practices, and hand washing as a means of preventing spread in schools.
  • The addition of the opportunity to vaccinate staff is another mitigation strategy that provides protection.
  • This additional strategy offers the opportunity to move all students back to school with all mitigation strategies still in place with a modification to the social distancing standard. 

Guidelines effective March 22nd include:

  • All safety protocols will remain in place.
  • We will work to maintain a minimum of 3 feet of social distancing in classroom settings and 6 feet during lunch times. (Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation from January 29, 2021 supports 3 feet of distancing with masks in classrooms and on school buses.)
  • Face masks must continue to be worn at all times.  Double masking is encouraged.
  • Practicing regular good hygiene-washing hands, hand sanitizer will continue.
  • Quarantine guidelines remain unchanged (even if vaccination has occurred)

Currently, the Ohio Department of Health recommendations for quarantine include the following steps:

  • Identify close contacts
  • Confirm face coverings and safety protocols were in place
  • If a student is found to be within 3 feet of a person who tested positive with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes, the student must quarantine from school and all other activities.  If a student is found to be between 3 feet and 6 feet of a person who tested positive with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes while wearing masks, the student may attend school but must be quarantined for 10 days from after-school activities, including sports.  Finally, if a student is found to be more than 6 feet of a person who tested positive with COVID-19, the student does not need to be quarantined.

By March 22nd it will have been over a year since all students were in our schools.  It’s simply time for that to change as we know our students and families need the routine of school and the academic and social benefits that daily school provides.  

This will be another large transition for our schools, students, and families in a year where each transition has been very difficult.  Hopefully, this is the last transition we make and we continue in this learning mode for the remainder of the school year.

On Wednesday we will communicate to all Worthington families an “All-In” FAQ as well as an updated hybrid calendar for March.  In the coming weeks our principals will communicate specifics about each of our schools.

  • Trent Bowers, Superintendent
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10 thoughts on “All-In

  1. MB says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. District administrators and teachers have all been in an unenviable position since last March, and I really appreciate the strong leadership shown at the Board meeting last night. Going forward I think it will be important to change the rhetoric regarding schools and COVID-19. We know so much more about the virus now than we did last March, the success of appropriate masking, and the introduction of an extremely effective vaccine (which was *rightfully* prioritized for educators) has changed the risk calculation and the approach to living with COVID-19 in our community. The teachers and administrators have been amazingly flexible and adaptable. Circumstances change, new information becomes available, and we all need to be open to changing our minds and taking new approaches. Our kids are depending on this! I hope the community can move forward together.

  2. Suzanne Kulshrestha says:

    Direct quote from the report: “The OSCE did not evaluate the necessity of quarantine when masks were not used appropriately or distance between desks was less than six feet.” How is this report used to conclude that 3 feet is safe?

    • Amanda says:

      As of two hours ago, CDC & Franklin County Board of Health are still saying six feet. As asked by others, how does the report arrive/conclude that three feet being a safe distance?

  3. Joseph Rix says:

    I do not understand why the article was led with the statement that teacher/staff inoculations are ahead of schedule. If schools are not known for transmission, then this fact is irrelevant.

    This movement to ‘all-in’ is premature.

  4. Kathleen says:

    How does teacher vaccination act as a mitigation strategy to protect students? It only helps the one getting the vaccine fight their exposure to the virus; it does not prevent transmission of the virus. Students still at risk.

  5. Eugenia Martin says:

    How is a pilot evaluation, which the OSCE report is, used as justification for going against the CDC recommendations of 6-feet of separation (this includes the stated recommendations for schools going back all-in)? The ODH K-12 Schools Guidance states 6-feet separation as well. An evaluation and research study are two different things. An evaluation draws evaluative conclusions about quality, merit or worth. Kinda like statistics in the information presented is dependent upon the the data gathered and the manipulation of said data. A research document is empirical. Using this evaluation as factual documentation and justification for going against the CDC guidelines would be imprudent.

  6. Afj Lee says:

    Obviously it has been proven in the past year that schools have low infection rates. Now it is even more clear, and lower risk because of more knowledge, experience and vaccination. Will some kids get flu or some other virus when opening up, possible. But would that mean kids should be just isolated from each other forever since virus would never disappear completely? No, since society never would agree to do that. Please listen to expert, and trust.

  7. Sharmeen Chaudhry says:

    This movement to ‘All in’ is definitely premature.
    Are the schools not known for transmission in the Hybrid or All In mode? Is the population and demographic comparable to Worthington Schools?
    There is plenty mention of safety of the staff / Faculty but what about the safety of the students? And the family members they bring Covid to at home, who are not eligible to be vaccinated ?
    I do not believe it is OK for my kids to be exposed and get sick with COVID-19.
    Has the school board ever heard of Long Covid, which is effecting young and middle age people world wide?

  8. Janet Braden says:

    After receiving the TWHS newsletter regarding the plans to move back to full capacity later in the month, I rechecked the CDC website (Essential Elements of Safe K-12 School Operations for In-Person Learning). They maintain that appropriate social distancing in schools is still 6 feet apart so I am concerned at how packing the kids in at 3 feet apart could be considered “safe” if it does not comply with CDC recommendations. I find the lack of social distancing to be very concerning (not just to the children, but to the community).

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