Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Updates

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Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Updates

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Updates

The health, safety and well-being of the students and staff at Independence Local Schools is a priority and we are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19.

We will continue to update this page with updates and resources for our school families as it is released.  Please check this page regularly. 
School Counselor Contacts 
A reminder to all ILS families:  School counselors are available as ongoing resources. Frequent check ins available and encouraged.  Feel free to contact the following:

IPS Counselor, Brooke Gradert: [email protected]

IMS Counselor, Lisa McClain: [email protected]

IHS Counselors, Connie Aquilano and Mary Dolejs:
[email protected] and [email protected]
In the event of a mental health emergency:
24-Hour Crisis Support Hotline/Suicide Hotline - (216) 623-6888
National Suicide Prevention Hotline - (800) 273-8255
Crisis Text Line                HOME to 741741
To anonymously report a threat to student safety:
Call or text  SAFE Schools Tipline - (844)-SAFEROH  (844)-723-3764
Children and Family Services - (216) 696-KIDS 
UPDATE as of 3/30/20
Independence Families,

I wanted to reach out with a quick update letting you know that just today, Governor DeWine extended Ohio’s school building closures through Friday, May 1.   

We are committed to continuing the delivery of education through this time of building closures.  Our staff has been working hard to develop and implement distance learning.  We fully intend for this work to count for credit and grades as we continue to “do school.”  Just last week, Ohio’s legislature passed House Bill 197 formalizing that distance learning replaces school during this time.  Our hope is we can keep as much of our education progressing as possible.

Thank you for being our partners in this distance learning.  Please continue to communicate with your teachers, principal and me regarding concerns or problems with these processes.  We will contact you with concerns on completions as well.

I want to remind you that our Independence Local Schools “spring break” is still scheduled for Friday, April 10 through Friday, April 17. Our distance learning will be on pause during this time.

As a reminder, our technology break/fix survey is available on our district website and we will be delivering replacement iPads and Chromebooks a couple of times per week if you’re having trouble with a device.

I also want to let you know that our principals are developing contingency dates for our essential and once-in-a-lifetime events in the event that the building closures extend through May.  These include events such as kindergarten registration and screening, prom, our spring musical, and commencement.  

I truly hope we are able to return to school after the latest extension.  But more than that, I hope all of our families stay healthy for when schools eventually open back up for business.

Thank you,

Ben Hegedish, Superintendent
UPDATE as of 3/20/20
UPDATE as of 3/17/20

Hello Independence Families,

I trust that you’re settling into our school shutdown reality we’re facing and hopefully seeing opportunities for your student to stay engaged in learning.

Our staff in the Independence Local Schools are working hard to be your educational partners during this time.  Today and tomorrow, you and your students should be receiving information about the opening distance learning activities we’re launching this week.  I want to reiterate - I do not believe we are able to recreate the full school experience with distance learning.  That being said, I am very excited about the creative lessons our teachers have been developing.  I hope that patience and collaboration are two themes we can collectively keep as part of this experience.  Your teachers and principal will be available and receptive to your feedback and to help you through these new challenges and opportunities.

There are many decisions about our district's future events that I do not have answers to at this time.  Our district leaders are collaborating daily and identifying critical functions for our district to keep operational.  I wish I knew when our buildings would be open for school, what will happen with our sports teams, with prom, with the third quarter.  When I get information from the state, I will communicate that with our community.

In the meantime, we want to be sure we are still “doing school.”  Please help us in this messaging with your students - this is not a break, this is a distance learning model.  A dedicated school time during the day is a great start to this plan.  As a reminder, curriculum links are on the district and building main pages.

During the school closures, Our district will still have a functioning leadership team, Board of Education, and communications teams.  We are in the board office regularly and communicating digitally as best we can.  We want to make sure student’s educational needs are met.  Please do not hesitate to contact your teacher, principal, or me for help.

We want to offer robust technology support during this time.  Please be sure to keep your device connected to your home wifi, as we will be pushing out apps to the devices as our school closure continues on.  Our Board Offices will be open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 1pm for you to bring in and exchange a device if it is broken or having trouble.  

I also want our families to know we had help available if you experience a need for food during these tough times.  Please contact Francine Kane at our Board Office for details.

My ultimate hope here is for everyone in our community to stay safe and healthy.  My next desire is for each of our students in our Independence Local Schools to remain connected digitally, emotionally, and intellectually as we continue on our education.

Have a great rest of your week.

Ben Hegedish
Independence Local Schools
UPDATE as of 3/16/20
Any families that are on the free and reduced lunched program that need assistance with meals during this time of school closure can contact Francine Kane, Service Manager, Independence Local Schools at 216-642-5853 or [email protected].   

UPDATE as of 3/14/20
Free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395.
UPDATE as of 3/13/20
Dear Parents and Community,

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine gave the order yesterday afternoon for schools to close for three weeks to contain any spread of the coronavirus.  

Independence Local Schools was already scheduled to have today, Friday, March 13 as a day off for students while staff worked on professional development. This will not change.  I’m proud that our teachers have been working hard to prepare for distance learning opportunities, which will be our continued focus during the school closure.

There also will be no school Monday, March 16, however our school buildings will be open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. for students and parents to briefly stop in to pick up devices or materials, only if necessary.  Again, there will be no school today or Monday, however parents and students may go to lockers if needed.  The official extended school closure begins then.

All school activities and meetings at school will be cancelled during this three week window.

Your teachers and principal will be in contact with you and your students regarding distance learning as we work to keep students engaged during a time of precaution.  I anticipate this to pick up early next week.  We will help to work through connectivity issues or other concerns digitally and will be available to communicate and collaborate with you.

I am sure I will have more updates for you as the closure continues on.

Please stay safe and thank you for your understanding in this challenging time.

Ben Hegedish
Independence Local Schools
Dear Independence Local Schools Families,

Upon learning of the self-quarantine guidance issued to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a response to the positive COVID-19 test on the Utah Jazz player(s), the district has been notified that an Independence High School student was at the game on March 2, 2020, and was a part of the on-floor activities.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Board of Health guidelines are that any individual who has had direct contact with someone who has tested positive should take 14 days of self-quarantine to monitor symptoms and limit potential spread.

Third party individuals, those who have had direct contact with someone who has had direct contact, are able to continue on with appropriate hygiene and their regularly scheduled day.

Our student is in self-quarantine for the remainder of the 14-day window.  No symptoms have presented themselves and these procedures are out of an abundance of caution.

We are continuing to be diligent with cleaning any surfaces and areas at IHS along with our other schools and working with our Ohio and Cuyahoga County Boards of Health with this specific incident along with general guidelines and updates.

Thank you for your support of our students and we will stay in communication with you as we continue to monitor this situation.

Ben Hegedish
Independence Local Schools 
Independence Primary School
IPS Art Show  - Thursday, March 12   (Tentative rescheduled date: May 28)
IPS Muffins in the Morning / Breakfast Buddies - Thursday, March 19  (Tentative rescheduled date: May 18)
IPS PTO Resale - Saturday, March 21 (Tentative rescheduled date: May 23)

Independence Middle School
IMS BINGO Night - Saturday, March 14
IMS All-Pro Parent Breakfast - 6th Grade - Thursday, March 26
IMS Bowling Club - Tuesdays ,March 17 & 24

Independence High School
IHS Spring Musical - Legally Blonde - Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21
College Fair field trip to the University of Akron - Friday, March 20
E-Sports Club tournament/fundraiser - Thursday, March 12
Biology Society Spring Trip Sunday - Sunday, April 19 to Wednesday, April 22
Dr. Amy Acton video on washing hands 
call center phone number 

Superintendent Updates

Building principals have been sending regularly emails to parents.
If you have not received these emails, please contact your principal. 

Important Resources

CLICK HERE for the University Hospitals COVID-19 Resource Guide
Important updates and resources for your family during the coronavirus pandemic. 


Click here for a video on how to wash your hands. 
View text-based website