(5-19-20) An ‘unofficial plan‘ was released today by the Ohio Department of Education to reopen Ohio schools for the 2020-21 school year. The plan outlines the educational, social, and health and safety guidelines and includes social distancing and a requirement that everyone that is on school grounds and using school transportation wear face masks.

Nine Superintendents from around Ohio worked on the 12 page  plan.

Highlights of the plan – The plan is only a draft and the ODE says to expect changes.

Daily Precautions to Practice:
Through partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, the following daily precautions to practice are outlined below.
 Daily Health Assessments: Require students and personnel to take their own temperature before reporting to school and to stay home if above 100F or if experiencing other symptoms. Schools should also consider the reality that all students will not be equally supported in a self-assessment and should be aware of those students with higher needs (single-parent, both parents working, etc.). Personnel and students who are ill must stay home from school and must be sent home if they become ill at school, particularly if they have COVID-19 symptoms – cough or shortness of breath without any other explanation, or fever. While waiting to go home, ill persons should continue to wear a facemask and be placed in a separate isolation room overseen by school personnel who is also wearing a mask.
Physical/Social Distancing: Maintain physical distancing (at least 6 feet apart) among all persons on school grounds and those utilizing school transportation. Utilize visual cues (i.e. floor markings) and other strategies to reinforce (i.e. alternative units that are meaningful for students to understand 6’ spacing). Create transition schedules that minimize the number of students and staff in common spaces including hallways, cafeteria, etc.
Face Masks: Require all persons on school grounds and utilizing school transportation to wear facemasks. School nurses or personnel who care for sick persons should utilize appropriate PPE. Will this be provided by districts/schools? Will employees be expected to have their own? What standards must be met?
 Good Hygiene Practices: Make hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol based) and sanitizing products available for personnel and students, especially in high traffic areas, including at each school entrance and in every classroom (See Guidelines for the Use of Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers in Ohio Schools guidance document at: https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/know-our-programs/school-nursing-program/media/use_of_alcohol-based_hand_sanitizers_in_ohio_schools).
Clean and Sanitize: Frequently clean surfaces paying particular attention to high-touch areas (stair handrails, door handles, counters, desks, tables, chairs, lavatories, computers, books, etc.). Cleaning and disinfection should be done after each cohort of students leaves a facility or classroom, including between class changes (if applicable), between groups in the cafeteria (when utilized), and after each school day. Limit sharing of supplies and equipment and sanitize between student use. What is the appropriate level of staffing to accommodate additional needs?

Additional Precautions Required During Flare-Ups (determined by ODH or local health departments):
Through partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, the following additional precautions required during COVID-19 flare-ups are outlined below.
 Partner with local health departments to determine precautions necessary.
 Playground equipment cannot be used.
 Prohibit gatherings of 10 or more.
 Increased cleaning procedures must be implemented for all objects shared by students or personnel.
 Take temperatures of personnel and students upon arrival and send them home if 100F or above or if employee/student is experiencing other symptoms.
 Utilize remote learning (electronically or paper format). Provide take-home meals for students who participate in free/reduced lunch programs.

More details are listed in the plan.