Back to School Safety Protocols

BackToSchool

As we begin the 2021-22 school year, we will continue our practice of relying on local public health officials for guidance on safety protocols and utilizing Hilliard’s COVID-19 data to inform the decisions we make.  We will closely monitor our community’s transmission rates, our students and staff’s positive case rates, and the number of quarantines of both students and staff. If data trends determine we need to make changes to any of our protocols, we have the ability to adjust swiftly and in a targeted fashion.  The decision is data-driven, and as data shifts in either direction, our protocols could also change.

At the August 9 Board of Education meeting, the Board authorized the Superintendent to make decisions on the use of masks on a classroom, building-wide, grade level, or district-wide basis.  They also charged the Superintendent with notifying the Board of any such changes within 24 hours and making regular reports to the Board on district COVID data.

 

Facial Covering Expectations

Safety

On August 10, the date that our PreK-6 mask requirement was announced, our district’s COVID-19 numbers were approximately 100 cases per 100,000 people within the boundaries of the Hilliard City School District.  After conversations with our CATS Data Team today, and Board of Education, we learned that our current number is 467 cases per 100,000.  For the sake of comparison, the last time our district’s case rate was this high was February of 2021 when cases were declining from our peak.  Additionally, we have seen an increase of positive cases in our schools, including in grades 7-12 where we don’t currently require face masks.

For this reason, we will be implementing new safety protocols beginning on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.  All students, staff, and visitors in all of our schools will be required to wear masks when inside our school buildings. Every safety measure we take now is to keep our students in school five days a week.  Individuals who are wearing masks are significantly less likely to be required to quarantine.  We feel this step is necessary in order to do everything possible to keep our students in school and slow the number of positive cases in our schools.

Athletic and Performing Arts events may continue as part of the Board-approved programming provided to our students and sanctioned by OHSAA and OMEA.  All indoor spectators must wear masks.  We are working with our administrators to determine protocols for other after school programming.  Outside organizations using our facilities, such as PTO’s, will be allowed to meet in person, but participants must wear masks.

I assure you that nobody is excited about making this announcement.  Like you, we were all hopeful that the pandemic was behind us and that a true “normal” was imminent.  And while I do still believe that a true end to this pandemic is within reach, we clearly are not out of the woods yet and we must take action now to protect our students and to keep them in school every day.  We know that the use of masks is an emotional topic that gets a wide spectrum of responses, and we would not have taken this step without the belief that it was absolutely necessary. 

As we have promised our community since the beginning of the pandemic, we will continue to monitor our local data and make adjustments as quickly as necessary.

Sincerely, 

David Stewart

Superintendent Hilliard City Schools

Mask Guidelines

Effective September 7, 2021

PreK-6th Grade

All PreK-6th grade buildings will require the use of masks by all individuals in the building (students, staff, and visitors).  When outside, masks are not required.

7-12th Grade

All 7-12th grade buildings will require the use of masks by all individuals in the building (students, staff, and visitors).  When outside, masks are not required.

Unvaccinated Staff

All unvaccinated staff, regardless of grade level, will be required to wear a mask at all times, indoors and outside.

School Busses

Per federal mandate, all individuals will be required to wear masks on school busses.

Additional Guidance

We will follow quarantine guidance from the Ohio Department of HealthYou can click here to read an overview or click on this link to see a classroom exposure flowchart.

Exemptions

There are two ways you can go about requesting an exemption for your student. One is a medical exemption, and the second is a religious exemption.  Each of these exemption types has a form that is required in order to ask for the exemption. Access the forms here.

Please note that these are the only two forms that will be accepted.  The forms must be sent to our Central Office or emailed to Mike_Abraham@hboe.org.  Principals and teachers will not be able to process exemption requests.  It is important to note that until you receive notification of an approved exemption request, your student must be in a mask when they attend school.

Building

Mitigation Strategies

Physical Distancing: Individuals will be physically distanced by 3 feet when possible. 

PPE: Desk and table sneeze guards will be available for students and staff upon request, including in the school cafeterias. 

Hand Washing/Hand Sanitizing: Increased hand washing will continue to be emphasized throughout the school day. Hand sanitizer will continue to be placed in classrooms and throughout the buildings. Students will be encouraged to sanitize their hands throughout the day. 

Cleaning and Disinfecting: Routine cleaning protocols will continue throughout all school buildings and buses.  

Building

Building Protocols

Visitors and Volunteers: Visitors will be allowed in the schools when the principal deems a necessary visit and an appointment is scheduled. Pick-up/ Drop-off of students or items will still be outside the front doors. Visitors in any building must wear a mask.

Air Flow/HVAC: The building HVAC systems will continue to be programmed to bring in more outside air throughout the day. All air handling systems will utilize the maximum MERV rating filter that they are rated for.

Water Bottle Fillers/Fountains: Water bottle filling stations will be open for use. Water fountains will continue to be closed.

Bus

Transportation

Face Masks: Per federal requirements, face masks will be required to be worn by all students, staff, and school bus drivers while on the bus.

Hand Sanitizing: Hand sanitizer will be available on all school buses.

Assigned Seats: Students will have an assigned seat and will be seated up to the bus capacity.

Cleaning and Disinfecting: Each bus will continue to be cleaned and disinfected daily.

Bus

Food Service

All enrolled students are eligible to receive one breakfast and one lunch daily at no charge for the 2021-2022 school year through United States Department of Agriculture waivers. 

Cafeteria Seating: In order to provide sufficient information for contact tracing, there will be assigned lunchroom tables.

Hand Sanitizing: Students will be encouraged to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer before lunch periods. 

Laptop

Contact Tracing & Quarantine

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