Healthy Aves 2021-22 School Year
Watch: Healthy Aves 2021-2022 Planning Info Session
Healthy Aves 2021-22 School Year
5/19/21 UPDATE: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine released revised guidelines regarding health and safety protocols for K-12 public schools in the wake of his announcement last week.
In a letter sent to all state school districts on Saturday, DeWine announced that Ohio schools should continue to follow the CDC’s recommendation regarding health guidelines through the end of the school year, including mask wearing and social distancing. The decision to keep the guidelines going in schools is based on the fact that not all kids are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.
Based on this new information, Sycamore Schools will keep all Healthy Aves protocols in place for the remainder of the school year as well as for Summer School 2021. This includes facial coverings, social distancing, frequent handwashing, and cleaning protocols.
The district will not make any decisions regarding our health and safety protocols for the 2021-22 school year any sooner than late July/early August in order to utilize the most up-to-date local health data and guidance from the CDC and Ohio Department of Health. Guidelines change as circumstances change, which has led us to make course corrections throughout this year, and planning for next year will be no different. As we have done throughout this school year, the district will remain nimble, flexible, and responsive to ensure the health and safety of all of our students and staff.
We know that our families have varying viewpoints on health and safety protocols, including mask-wearing, and that this topic can elicit mixed emotions. We appreciate your patience, respect, and understanding as we work to make data-informed decisions about next year.
Sycamore Community Schools will return to face-to-face learning for all students in the 2021-2022 school year. This decision takes into account students’ academic and social-emotional needs, updated guidance from health organizations, and improving pandemic conditions, including lower rates of community spread and the high rate of our school staff who have been vaccinated.
The decision was made to return face-to-face with the support of Sycamore’s Data Assessment Risk Team (DART). Sycamore Community Schools will continue to rely on guidance from the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health, Hamilton County Public Health, and DART in developing plans for the return to face-to-face learning in the fall. We will continue to be nimble, flexible, and responsive to any modifications to health requirements and recommendations to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff. Restrictions may change based on the pandemic conditions as the school year progresses. While all students will be scheduled for face-to-face instruction for the fall, families of students with significant medical needs that would prevent them from attending in person should reach out to the Office of Student Services. The student's IEP or 504 teams will be engaged to address the individualized needs of students in planning for the 2021-2022 school year with families.
We plan on holding an information session on May 26 at 7:00-8:00 p.m. to address any questions or concerns you may have about the 2021-22 school year. We appreciate your continued support and patience as we prepare for a new school year.
Close Contact Quarantine Guidelines
Sycamore Community Schools is updating its quarantine guidelines to reduce the amount of time students and staff are required to be away from school if exposed to COVID-19.
Beginning March 22, Sycamore Schools will adopt the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) options to reduce quarantine for close contacts. Staff and families will have the following two options if exposed to COVID-19:
10 Day Quarantine Without A COVID-19 Test
Close contacts should quarantine for 10 days after the last date of contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Individuals may return to school after 10 days if they are symptom-free. No COVID-19 test is required with this option.
7 Day Quarantine With A Negative COVID-19 Test
Close contacts should quarantine for 7 days after the last contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Individuals may return to school after 7 days if they are symptom-free and have received a negative COVID-19 test. A rapid or PCR test must be performed no earlier than Day 5-7 of quarantine. Testing results should be communicated to Sycamore Nurse Coordinator, Julie Ferron (email@example.com) before returning to school. For a list of testing sites, please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.
In either the 10-day or 7-day options, it is still recommended that you continue to monitor for symptoms until 14 days after exposure. Families and staff may also choose to follow the CDC’s most recommended 14-day quarantine for close contacts if they feel that it is best. Confirmed COVID-19 cases will still need to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of testing.
As of May 13, fully vaccinated students and staff can refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if they are asymptomatic. However, they should still monitor for symptoms for 14 days following exposure.
The change to the district’s quarantine guidelines was made in careful consultation with Sycamore’s Data Assessment Risk Team (DART) who has thoroughly reviewed the CDC’s recommendations in conjunction with our school and community health data. Furthermore, we still have not seen definitive evidence of in-school transmission to date. Click here for more information from the CDC about the risk of spread with these alternative options.
“We continue to refine our Healthy Aves protocols to prevent transmission and protect our students and staff,” said Frank Forsthoefel, superintendent. “We know that extended and in some cases, repeated quarantines have caused burdens for our families. We want our kids in school as much as possible. By shortening our quarantine period, we hope to ease some of the hardships experienced and provide the continued education our students need while following CDC guidelines.”
Contact Tracing Guidelines
Sycamore Community Schools has recently received updated guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) regarding close contact tracing as a result of evidence of low in-school transmission.
- If a student or staff member is exposed in a traditional classroom setting or on the bus, to someone with COVID-19, the individual does not need to quarantine as long as masking and other safety and health protocols were followed. Sycamore Community Schools will continue to adhere to our Healthy Aves social distancing protocols of 3-6 feet for students and 6 feet for adults.
- If a student or staff member is exposed in a traditional classroom and safety protocols have not been followed (e.g., students or adults in the classroom did not properly wear masks), the individual must quarantine for 14-days from the date of exposure.
- If a student or staff member is exposed to COVID-19 outside the traditional classroom setting, such as at lunch where students are unmasked and not six feet apart, sports practice, etc. the individual must quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure. The revised guidelines above only apply in traditional classroom settings.
- If a student or staff member is exposed to COVID-19 outside of school, the individual must quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure.
- Current health department guidance indicates students who are exposed in a traditional classroom or on the bus do not need to quarantine and are allowed to continue to attend after school activities.
In all cases of potential exposure, Sycamore Community Schools will continue to consult with Hamilton County Public Health for guidance. The district will also continue to conduct contact tracing and notify anyone who is determined to be a close contact and whether they will need to quarantine or can continue to come to school and work. The district will continue to adhere to all health and safety protocols outlined in our Healthy Aves Plan, including following our social distancing guidelines of 3-6 feet.
We will continue to follow the same protocols for notification of confirmed cases and close contacts who must quarantine. The only change will be close contacts who do not need to quarantine will be notified via email only and not by phone. Those who must quarantine will receive an email and a phone call.
As part of Phase 1B of Ohio’s vaccination plan, teachers and other school employees will soon be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination if they choose to do so. Sycamore Community Schools has registered with HCPH to receive the vaccine for staff. The dates are still yet to be determined. Students are also encouraged to get vaccinated when it becomes available. We will share any vaccine information and administration details as soon as they become available.