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SLSD Re-Opening Plan for Fall 2020

Posted on: August 6, 2020
Responsible Restart Ohio

UPDATE:  August 6, 2020

SLSD Parents and Guardians,

Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to refine our “Back to School 2020” plan to reflect the latest guidance we continue to receive from the State of Ohio and Hamilton County.  We have several updates to pass along at this time.

  1. Wearing a mask is now required when seated at individual desks.  This reflects the most recent order by Governor DeWine on 8/4/20 requiring students to wear masks in school.  Mask breaks will be given when deemed appropriate by the teacher.  The complete re-opening plan, reflecting this revision, is available HERE.

  2. Start and end times at the elementary schools and the junior school have shifted slightly.  These changes were made to assist with supervision of students and eliminate large gatherings of students where social distancing is impractical.  Additionally, bus drivers will need extra time to sanitize buses in between routes and to take student temperatures at bus stops prior to students boarding.  Students may be dropped off no earlier than 30 minutes prior to the start of the scheduled school day (60 minutes at the high school), and must have their temperature taken before entering the building.
  • Harrison Junior School:  7:25 AM - 2:20 PM
  • Miamitown Elementary:  8:30 AM - 3:00 PM (AM Kindergarten 8:30 - 11:25 AM, PM Kindergarten 12:05 - 3:00 PM)
  • Crosby Elementary:  8:30 AM - 3:00 PM (AM Kindergarten 8:30 - 11:15 AM, PM Kindergarten 12:15 - 3:00 PM)
  • Whitewater Valley Elementary:  9:10 AM - 3:40 PM (AM Kindergarten 9:10 - 11:55 AM, PM Kindergarten 12:55 - 3:40 PM)
  • Harrison Elementary:  9:15 AM - 3:45 PM (AM Kindergarten 9:15 AM - 12:00 PM, PM Kindergarten 1:00 - 3:45 PM)

    There are no changes to the Harrison High School times (8:00 AM - 2:50 PM), however high school students not involved in an after school activity will need to vacate the building immediately after school.  This applies to the Activity Center as well.  At this point, we can’t allow for after school congregating by those not involved in an extracurricular activity.  Please make sure your student has transportation lined up immediately after school.

 3.  One last reminder that the deadline is Friday, August 7 at midnight – to complete Final Forms to indicate your preference of in-person versus remote learning for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year.  Final Forms can be accessed HERE.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your child’s school office.



UPDATE:  August 3, 2020

Dear Southwest Local School District parents / guardians;

At our July 30th Board of Education meeting, we had a deep discussion and ultimately a unanimous vote to reduce our transportation services to Ohio’s state minimums.  After a review and input of data from our most recent School Reopening survey via Final Forms into our transportation software, we started the process of routing students for the 2020-2021 school year.  Unfortunately, we have determined that it is not currently possible to place all those students who have requested transportation to and/or from school for face-to-face instruction on our limited number of bus routes with the current COVID restrictions in place.  As a result, Southwest Local School District has been forced, along with many other districts around the state, to move to the minimum transportation standards required by the state of Ohio.  We had really hoped to avoid this outcome and greatly appreciate all those parents who have offered to drive their child to and from school or arranged for car pools with their neighbors in order to limit our ridership and give us the greatest chance to avoid this move - it simply wasn't enough unfortunately.

To start the 2020-2021 school year, students attending both public and non-public schools who utilize Southwest Local School Bus Transportation and live within two miles of their school of attendance will not be eligible for school bus transportation.  Additionally, no school bus transportation will be available for commercial day cares or intra-district transfers to start the school year.  Those students who are eligible for school bus transportation and reside outside the two mile radius will be asked to select just one address for pick-up and/or drop-off purposes to prevent one child from taking up a "seat" on more than one route as we create seating charts for the coming school year.  

Please note that we expect this move to be temporary.  If restrictions change or we see an opportunity to reinstate services in some capacity as the school year progresses, our district will make every effort to expand transportation services beyond the state minimums.  Maps of the current "no-transportation" zones are posted HERE, if you are unsure whether you will remain eligible for transportation or not.  As we do each school year, school bus stop, route number, and pick-up/drop-off time information will be communicated to parents at the end of August, prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.  For those families who are no longer eligible for transportation services and are unable to provide transportation to and from school, you may elect to switch to our virtual learning option via an update to your Final Forms survey submission until Friday August 7th.  You are welcome to contact our district office staff if you have any questions regarding how to make this adjustment at 513-367-4139.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility in these unprecedented times.  We look forward to the time when we can provide transportation services more in line with what we have been able to do in recent years.  Have a great end of the summer and we hope to see many of you in September!

Responsible Restart

ORIGINAL:  July 9, 2020

Greetings, SLSD Parents and Guardians;                                                                                                                          

We appreciate both your patience and support as we have spent the last several weeks assembling our “Back to School 2020” plan for this fall. As we have worked through countless scenarios, it became apparent, rather quickly, that there is no PERFECT Plan.

We also appreciate the over 2,500 parents that took the time to provide input with our survey in late June. Attached below is our plan to bring both staff and students back safely to school this fall. The plan has two primary options for families:  in-person / traditional school, and a virtual route for those not comfortable sending their student(s) back yet.

You will need to tell us your intention, by July 17, 2020, of which option you are choosing for each school-age child in your home.  This will be done in Final Forms on a form called "Reopening of Schools," available by clicking HERE.  To complete the "Reopening of Schools" form, click on the "Incomplete Forms" button, or just click on your student’s name, and complete all forms including the "Reopening of Schools" form.  Be sure to type your name in the Parent/Guardian Signature line of each form and click "Submit Form" on each form.  It is important that you update any contact or address info to assist us in communicating with you.  

To better assist you in your decision making for the two instructional options available for this fall (in-person or 100% virtual), please see the Virtual Instruction Model page on our district website for more information about that option.  That page can be accessed HERE

Our first and most important goal every school year is safety, again, for both staff and students. This fall, that focus will be heightened exponentially. Our mission must also be lived – “Academic and Social Growth for ALL students, every day!” We believe our plan, which was shaped by parent input, the Ohio Department of Health, the Hamilton County Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Ohio Department of Education and numerous Hamilton, Butler and Warren County School Districts, balances both the added safety precautions and our mission.

It’s important to note – there are risks associated with any plan, and our two options both carry risks. Bringing staff and students back together, in a traditional school setting before a COVID-19 vaccine is available, creates exposure potential. Keeping kids home, in a virtual school setting, lessens the ability to socialize with peers and teachers in a more personal manner, and hinders the daily structure and food support aspects.

School will look very different this fall, in terms of the safety measures in place:
*Symptom assessment of both staff and students – daily.
*Increased sanitation / cleaning measures conducted throughout the day.
*Social distancing and face coverings.
*Constant risk assessment and mitigation efforts.
*Visitors in the schools will be minimized a great deal. 

We need your help!
Our plan is, and will continue to be, fluid as time moves on. Please be flexible as we work to keep both safety and our mission front and center. We are asking that parents / guardians of Kindergarten to 8th grade students that can transport their child(ren) to school each day, do so. The social distancing expectation hits our transportation efforts the hardest. The new guidelines reduce our bus capacity by 33%. Parents transporting their kids the first few weeks of school will help us greatly. And be please be patient during drop off and pick up – lines will be longer than normal.

Again, parents will need to speak to their intent for schooling and how their child will receive instruction for the first semester of this coming school year by July 17 via Final Forms.

 Some additional items for parents consider for this fall:

  1. Have a plan in place in the event a spike in cases occurs in our schools or in our community.  We may be forced to shift quickly to a remote learning set up, like we did 4th quarter this past school year.
  2. Have a plan in place for your student if they become sick at school.  They will need a ride home immediately, and childcare will need to be provided.  We do not have the physical space to house large numbers of sick children.
  3. Perform daily health screenings on your child – including daily temperature checks.  Any student that has a temperature of 100+ degrees will not be allowed at school.
  4. When a student or staff member is tested and is found positive for COVID-19, a minimum 14-day quarantine will result.

Please be sure to read the attached summation and complete plan below for further details that are location specific.

SLSD Re-Opening - Plan Summary
SLSD Re-Opening - Complete Plan
SLSD Re-Opening - 504 and IEP Students
State of Ohio COVID-19 Health and Prevention Guidance for Ohio K-12 Schools

Pre-school Parents: Southwest Local & Butler County ESC are in the process of creating Back to School plans for our preschool classrooms. State pre-school regulations and ratios are different from that of K-12. The pre-school plan will be released by July 24th.

Thank you in advance, for working with us as we navigate these uncertain times. Together we will get through this and be stronger as a result.

John C. Hamstra
Southwest Local Schools