March 11, 2020 Letter to Community

March 11, 2020 Letter to Community

March 11, 2020

Independence families,

With the recent confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cuyahoga County, along with updates and recommendations from Governor DeWine, local, state, and national Departments of Health, I wanted to provide you with an update on our planning and responses in the Independence Local Schools.  This is truly a dynamic situation for community and school leaders and at this point, the focus is on containment of any possible infections and limiting exposure in event of more infections.

School Gathering Events:
The Independence Local Schools will be following Ohio and Cuyahoga County Board of Health recommendations in postponing our after school events where large groups of people will be gathered.  Follow this link to see a list of postponed events and field trips.  

Practices may continue as scheduled.  At this time, we will look to reschedule events that are currently planned through March 27.  Your building principal and activity advisor will be communicating details on rescheduled events.  We will reassess events planned for April and beyond and keep you informed.

PreK-12 Instruction:
State and County Board of Health recommendations are to keep PreK-12 schools open at this time.  Generally speaking, children are not contracting and transmitting COVID-19 at significant rates.  This guideline may change if local infections start to appear.  The Ohio and Cuyahoga County Boards of Health would guide our next steps with school closures should local or area infections be detected.

Potential Short-Term and/or Long-Term Closures:
In the event of a short-term (eg. two weeks for quarantine) or long-term (a month or more) closures, our Independence educational staff want to continue to provide learning opportunities for our students.  I do not believe we will be able to match the quality of learning that takes place in a face to face setting, however, we would do our best to utilize technology for distance learning and to keep our students engaged in relevant content.

On Friday, March 13, our Independence Local Schools’ staff will be collaborating and planning these distance learning opportunities for scenarios where we would have to close schools for short-or long-term.  This was a pre-planned waiver day with a new focus on preparation.

I anticipate a distance learning drill next week, where students will have the opportunity to bring devices home and walk through the processes of connecting, accessing, and progressing through examples of these types of lessons.  I expect early elementary school grades will have very different types of lessons that would require parental support, while older grades would have more self-directed types of learning.  Our special education staff will be collaborating on individualized learning modifications and accommodations to best meet the needs of all students.

After our distance learning drill, your feedback will be an important part of our planning.  I will share specifics on the drill day later this week. 

As a district, we value when our students collaborate, communicate, create, and utilize critical thinking in solving problems.  We will be applying these 4 Cs to our planning to keep our Independence Local Schools as relevant and engaged as possible while keeping health and safety a primary concern.

Your partner in education,

Ben Hegedish

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