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School reopening: What 11 Butler County districts are saying about returns

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Keeping your kids’ skills sharp when schools are closed due to coronavirus

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Butler County schools will look radically different when they open next month under the continued threat of the coronavirus.

According to back-to-school plans released Tuesday by most of the county’s 10 public school systems, some among the 63,000 public school students returning to classes in August will be required to wear protective masks, while other districts highly recommend students do so.

In all districts, teachers will be required to wear masks, classroom desks will be spaced apart, cafeterias will be half full with many students eating in classrooms.

ExploreMORE: Coronavirus: 51,789 total cases, 2,863 deaths reported in Ohio

Some school families will be allowed to have their children opt out of in-person, classroom instruction in districts offering remote learning from home.

Some changes are being almost uniformly adopted so far by all districts, including more spacing on school buses, all school employees going through morning temperature checks, increased cleaning and other sanitation procedures, fewer students per classroom and altered class schedules to reduce hallway student travel.

And the back-to-school district plans are not final, warn local school officials, who await guidance from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

Matt Miller, superintendent of Lakota Schools, warned school board members earlier this week he had “a disclaimer” when unveiling the district’s four-part, re-opening plan.

“Anything I say can change,” Miller said citing the pending state directives on school operations. “It is likely we will have to adjust this plan.”

As they stand now, here are Butler County public school systems’ plans. For more information on each district’s plans, go to the school system’s website.

LAKOTA

District officials are currently planning to require all students to wear masks as the school system now has four options for the coming school year.

So far Lakota is the only district in the county to propose all students wear masks.

ExploreMORE: Lakota considering 4 plans for school opening: Here’s what they would do

The primary option – “Plan A” - would involve bringing all students back to their schools for in-person learning but with coronavirus preventative measures in place including requiring all students to wear masks unless they are six feet from others among many other changes in classrooms, buildings and buses.

MIDDLETOWN

Middletown students will start the new school year “encouraged” to wear protective masks to thwart the coronavirus and many will have free school laptops they can use at home for the first time, district officials announced.

Teachers and other school staffers will be required to wear masks.

ExploreMORE: Middletown Schools will encourage masks, allow students to take laptops home in reopening plan

Students and school staffers are also being offered free coronavirus testing prior to the start of school in August and teachers will be required to wear masks – and in some cases face shields - unless they are at a safe social distance from others.

HAMILTON

Students are encouraged to wear masks and school employees will be required to use masks when they are within six feet of others.

Schools will be opened at a later date than previously scheduled – Aug. 19 instead of Aug. 11 -

“Remote learning option for parents and students that have concerns about returning during the pandemic” will be offered for the first half of the school year with no option to withdraw from home learning and return to school during the period.

FAIRFIELD

Students are encouraged to wear masks and all school employees must wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible.

All school employees will have their temperatures taken before entering school buildings each morning and increased sanitation procedures will be in place.

Bus drivers will wear masks and students will be encouraged to do the same.

ExploreMORE: Coronavirus concerns divide Fairfield school board in return plans

Parents will have a first semester option of their children digital learning from home.

MONROE

School officials said “our current plan is to safely return all staff and students for instruction all day every day with elevated safety, cleaning, and hygiene practices. This plan is subject to change depending on ongoing guidance from state and local authorities.”

Students are encouraged to wear masks and school employees will use masks whenever social distancing is not possible.

School opening will be delayed to Aug. 24, in part to allow for more staff training and preparation.

EDGEWOOD

Student masks are “strongly recommended” but masks are mandatory for school employees where social distancing – 6-feet separation - isn’t possible.

Schools will open as previously scheduled on Aug. 19, and all employees will have temperatures checked prior to the start of each school day.

“Safety protocols will be followed to the highest degree possible for our students and staff, however, there will be some level of risk present when everyone returns to school,” said Spokeswoman Pam Pratt.

TALAWANDA

Ed Theroux, superintendent of Talawanda Schools, said a plan is still being developed and will be ready by the district’s next school board meeting on July 9.

MADISON

The school district’s website was down for maintenance Tuesday, but Madison Superintendent Lisa Tuttle-Huff said Tuesday the district will follow all local and state health guidelines regarding operating schools during the coronavirus.

“Our plan was developed with the health department. We will be highly recommending masks be worn (both students and teachers) but at this point we are not mandating them,” said Tuttle-Huff.

NEW MIAMI

Masks are “strongly recommended” for students and required of staff.

School will begin on Sept. 8 with a series of health and safety measures – along with enhanced sanitation procedures – in place.

ROSS SCHOOLS

District officials said details will on returning to school will be available on July 24.

BUTLER TECH

According to a statement from Butler Tech, which serves all Butler County public school districts, the career school system plans to return to school on Aug. 11 and have ready a three-part program or “tiers” of operation.

“Tier-1” of our fall 2020 Student Education Plan and includes guidelines for health and safety that will be based on the status of COVID-19 in August. Additional details will be shared in the coming weeks with all students and families.”

Tier 2 will be a hybrid of in-person and remote learning if deemed necessary and Tier 3 is total remote learning should schools be ordered closed again.