Dear NELSD Families and Staff,
As a school district, our primary focus is meeting our students’ educational, social, and emotional needs. Our teachers, staff, and administrators work hard to ensure those needs are met daily. As I indicated in my communication on Tuesday, we have been monitoring our numbers over the past month and have seen a decrease in our quarantines and positive cases. Additionally, local health officials are optimistic that we are beginning to see the signs of a downward trend in cases in Clark County.
Based on that information, we have decided to move back to optional masking starting on Monday, October 11, 2021. Although we are allowing optional masking on Monday, we will continue to strongly encourage anyone to wear a face-covering while inside a NELSD building. This is one of the best ways for us to continue in-person learning and keep masking optional. This decision was not made lightly, and we understand that there are still a lot of mixed feelings and strong opinions surrounding masking. That being said, if we see an increase of positive COVID-19 cases and quarantines in our buildings, a universal mask requirement is likely to go back into effect. In addition, we could also decide to implement universal masking at individual school buildings based on numbers.
While masking will be optional in our buildings at this time, the federal mask mandate for students and drivers on school transportation is still in effect and was extended through the middle of January 2022. Consequently, we will continue to ask that all bus riders wear masks while on NELSD transportation to comply with the mandate.
We will continue to monitor the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and work with the Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) to determine COVID-related safety protocols throughout the school year.
Although masking will be optional, the District will still need to contact trace any situation of a positive or probable positive COVID-19 case. We will continue to provide the list of close contacts to the Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD). In addition, families may receive a text message from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), or 844-432-8771, to enroll them in text symptom monitoring.
The following links are to documents that provide facts and an outline for procedures we will be following: Guidelines for K-12 Student Quarantine and After Exposure in K-12 Classroom Settings. The quarantine chart is a great tool to understand when we will need to quarantine students/staff. Additionally, if you would like to provide the office with a copy of your child’s vaccination card, we would be happy to keep that on file if the need arises to confirm your child is vaccinated and would not need to quarantine.
We are grateful for the partnership of our families, teachers, support staff, and students through these first seven weeks of school. We remain committed to providing students with as much in-person learning as possible this year. We will keep you updated about our efforts and decisions about how we will navigate this at NELSD.
John P. Kronour, Ph.D.
Superintendent Northeastern Local Schools