We know our students, staff, and community are excited to start the new school year and have been waiting for our return to school safety protocols. We also understand our community is passionate and has strong beliefs on the issue of masks. Regardless of your opinion on the use of masks in schools, we know that what we all want is what’s best for our students, staff, and our community. While we do not wish to distract from the excitement of a new school year, we also know that parents and students are eager to know the protocols that we will utilize when school starts on Thursday, August 19.
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. Today’s 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.
With regards to the use of masks, effective August 19, 2021, we will begin the school year as follows:
- 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.
- 7th-12th grade buildings will be “mask friendly,” and we strongly encourage the use of masks by students and staff.
- All unvaccinated staff, regardless of grade level, will be required to wear a mask.
- Per federal mandate, all individuals will be required to wear masks on school busses.
- We will follow quarantine guidance from the Ohio Department of Health. You can click here to read an overview or click on this link to see a classroom exposure flowchart.
As you are probably aware, public health officials strongly recommend the use of masks by all individuals entering school buildings, regardless of vaccination status. Those same officials also encourage all eligible individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Hilliard City Schools echoes these recommendations. For students who have the option as to whether or not to wear a mask, we would ask that families educate themselves on the Ohio Department of Health’s quarantine guidelines. These guidelines direct schools to make quarantine determinations based on the use of masks and vaccination status. It will be important that families take this into consideration when they decide if their 7th-12th grade student will wear a mask at school.
As we continue into the school year, any district-wide change in protocols regarding the use of masks or other considerations will be made based upon a review of the following data:
- The proportion of COVID-19 cases of school-aged children in the Hilliard City School District;
- COVID-19 Analytics and Targeted Surveillance (CATS) data in three areas:
- Percent of student absences
- Percent of staff absences
- Rate of nurse visits of CLI/ILI per 1,000 students;
- Positivity Rates and Case Counts in Hilliard City School District Community;
- Other data as deemed relevant by federal, state, and local medical experts.
Additionally, we will also continue the same safety protocols and mitigation strategies in our schools from last year.
- 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.
- Face Masks: Per federal requirement, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Contact tracing and quarantine
- Hilliard Schools will follow quarantine guidance from the Ohio Department of Health. You can click here to read an overview, or click on this link to see a classroom exposure flow-chart.
I can assure you that nobody is excited about the fact that we are once again faced with these difficult decisions. Please know that they have been made after a great deal of deliberation and with a focus on student safety and our ability to keep students in school every day. What I do know is that if we, as a community, make a collective commitment to the strategies that have been shown to reduce the risk of COVID transmission, a full return to “normalcy” is possible.
Please remember, the guidance school districts are getting can change quickly. While these are the protocols in place today, if information or guidance from health officials changes, our plans could also change.
Hilliard City Schools Superintendent
Darby Bell Schedule – Click here for the 2021-22 Bell Schedule
Drop-Off and Pick-Up Map
If you plan to drop your student off in the morning and/or pick them up in the afternoon, please refer to this map which indicates the flow of traffic you should follow. Also, please drive slowly and with care in the parking lots!
However, students MUST register their vehicle to get a parking pass. We will need the following information when they register:
Email, Student Name, Student ID Number, Driver’s License Number, Make, Model, Color of the Vehicle and the License Plate Number
8/30/21 – Open House, 6:00 pm – 8:05 pm Click here for the Open House schedule.
Please review the 2021-22 Student Handbook
Home Access Updates
Make sure to keep your contact information updated on Home Access! Should we need to contact you in an emergency, this is our source of your information. It’s also very important to make sure your current email address is on Home Access to ensure you receive our weekly emails.
Be in the know!
The best way to know what is happening at Darby is to make sure your email address is correct on Home Access and to follow our Twitter accounts:
The Darby website also is updated regularly with important news and information.
Building events and activities can be found on our building calendar.
Flyers can be found on our Flyers Connections page.
Once again, there will be no course fees for this school year. Please check your student’s account for any outstanding fees from previous years including technology and library fees.
Participation fees ($100) will still apply for marching band, color guard and athletics.
Beginning August 1st, all of these fees can be paid on www.MyPaymentsPlus.com or in-person with cash or check at Darby Days.
Free Lunch Program
The USDA has extended food service program waivers to continue to allow ALL STUDENTS to eat breakfast and lunch FREE OF CHARGE for the ENTIRE 2021-22 school year. Students in the Online Academy will also be able to participate in the program; we will send details to the Online Academy families in August.
However, families should still fill out the Free and Reduced School Meals Application to see if they qualify for even more benefits, including:
- pEBT $ (if available)
- Reduced/free participation fees
- Reduced/free iPad Insurance
- Reduced fees for taking ACT/SAT tests
- Reduced fees for college courses
- Reduced/free Internet Service
Technology Protection Plan
You can now enroll and take advantage of our district’s Technology Protection Plan (TPP) that can help protect you and your student from costly repairs to their iPad due to unforeseen damage. For only $25 per year, this agreement covers the iPad loaned to the student for the 2021-2022 school year against incidental damage or loss over $50. Accessories (charger and case) and damages valued at less than $50 are NOT covered and are the sole responsibility of the student. Coverage is 24 hours per day. The Technology Protection Plan will only cover two incidents per school year. NEGLECT IS NOT COVERED. The TPP is available to all students in grades K-12 during the 2021-2022 school year.
*Enrollment period 6/1/21 – *8/27/21* Click here to enroll *New Date*
2021-22 Yearbooks can be ordered online after August 2nd at https://www.jostens.com/yearbooks/high-school-yearbooks.html. Order early for the best pricing!
We’re very fortunate to have such a great relationship with our parent groups! If you would like to get involved, here are links to the various groups’ websites.
- Hilliard Darby Athletic Boosters
- Hilliard Music Boosters
- Darby Theatre Boosters
- Darby Gridiron Club
- Darby Diamond Club
- Hilliard Education Foundation
Important Forms & Links:
The athletic department would like to welcome our student-athletes to the 2021-22 season. If you need to reach our department you can call 614-921-7330 or email the following:
Be sure to check out the Hilliard Darby Athletic Department Website for important information throughout the year. Coaches information, schedules, rosters, important documents, and any other athletic information that you may need is listed on our website. If you need access to our Athletic Handbook please click here: 2021-22 Athletic Handbook .
We will once again use Final Forms for our student-athlete managing system. Final forms will house all student data for athletic purposes, (i.e. physicals, forms, pay to play, and eligibility.) We need all parents to follow the directions of Final Forms Instructions to create an account. Scroll to Registration and then you will see 3 links, please choose accordingly.
Just a reminder that all athletes are required to have a current physical PRIOR to the first practice! Students will not be permitted to practice if they don’t have a current physical already on file or in their possession at the first practice. Physicals are good for one year from the exam date. Completed physical forms can uploaded to your Final Forms account. You can download a copy of your physical in Final Forms and print the physical to take to your doctor to sign.
Athletic participation fees ($100 for high school & $80 for middle school) are due prior to the first regular-season game. These fees can be paid online, after August 1st, via www.mypaymentsplus.com, with cash or check in the Athletic Office, or at Darby Days. Coaches are not permitted to accept these payments. Students who qualify for free lunch status will have their participation fee waived.
Tickets to all athletic contests this year will all be electronic. There will be no cash sales at the events or presale. Persons wanting to purchase a ticket can do so through our box office: Hilliard Darby/Hilliard Heritage Box Office. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting an All-Sport Season Pass. This pass is good for all home events at Darby and Heritage for the 21-22 school year. All tickets this season are $7.00 + service fees for H.S. events and $5.00 + service fees for M.S. events. There are also instructions in the box office for further ticket sale information.
Since the beginning of Covid, Hilliard City Schools has worked with our local health officials to guide our safety practices. District Leadership and the Board of Education remain committed to the safety and well-being of our students and staff. District leaders will continue to analyze local data and safety procedures with health officials.
At this time, we are in the process of finalizing our plans for the opening of the school year. We are waiting to receive and review all state and local recommendations. However, we will require masks on school transportation per a federal regulation that is in place until at least September 13, 2021.
Please note, there is a special Board of Education meeting on August 4, 2021; however, this will be held in executive session to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, promotion, or compensation of a public employee or official. Therefore, there will be no time for public comment, nor will there be any action taken after the executive session. The next regular Board meeting is on August 9.
The Hilliard City School Board of Education has asked David Stewart to be the next Hilliard Superintendent. Mr. Stewart has been serving as the Deputy Superintendent for the South-Western City Schools for the past eight years.
The selection is the result of a national search conducted with the assistance of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio. There were multiple applicants, along with a targeted search of several others, including superintendents.
Board of Education President Lisa Whiting said in the end, Mr. Stewart proved himself to be the best choice for Hilliard. “Our community told us they wanted a Superintendent with a proven academic track record and who knows the Hilliard Community,” she added. “David fit the profile of what our community, staff, and board were looking for. We are excited to bring him on board.”
David served as the Principal of Darby High School for four years. In 2008 he was tasked with opening Bradley High School. As Deputy Superintendent in South-Western, he has a proven track record of driving academic excellence and a passion for working with staff, students, and families.
Mr. Stewart has a Bachelor’s degree from Miami University and a Master’s in Education Administration from Ashland University.
“It is an honor to have been selected by the Hilliard Board of Education as the next superintendent of this outstanding school district,” said Stewart. I am excited to get to work developing relationships with the committed staff and talented students. Creating partnerships with our parents and community members will be a top priority. Hilliard is an excellent district, and I look forward to supporting our work to prepare our students for what’s next.”
The Board of Education anticipates a July 1 start date.
Help us write history for Hilliard Darby High School!
Supporters of Darby H.S. and Heritage M.S. are embarking on a once in a lifetime journey. This journey will benefit both students and athletes for years to come. Please visit the DarbyAPC website for additional information and opportunities to make a difference.