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Sycamore Schools Shifts to Remote Learning for Jan. 4-5

Sycamore Community Schools will be moving to remote learning for all PK-12 students between January 4-5, 2021 as a preventative measure to ensure our schools remain the safest place for students and staff following Winter Break. Face-to-face learners will return to school in-person on Wednesday January 6, pending a major shift to our student and staff health data. 

 

Taking into account the elevated number of positive COVID-19 cases reported after Thanksgiving Break, we anticipate an increase in COVID-19 related absences following Winter Break.

 

“We know our families and staff will have increased exposure through gatherings, travel, and other activities during the holidays,” said Frank Forsthoefel, superintendent. “A two-day buffer of remote learning, combined with the extended number of days of our Winter Break, will help us minimize the risk and again keep the community spread from entering our schools.”

 

Sycamore’s Data Assessment Risk Team (DART), composed of district leadership and local health professionals, continue to carefully evaluate our school and local health data. While we continue to see no definitive evidence of in-school transmission of COVID-19, we have seen an elevated number of cases among students and staff since Thanksgiving Break.

 

Date

COVID+ Students

COVID+ Staff

11/28-12/4/20

(Remote Learning Week)

12

11

12/5-12/11/20 

(First week back face-to-face)

32

14

12/12-12/16/20 

(current week to Wednesday)

17

4

total cases

“Our goal is to keep kids in school and by switching to remote learning, we are increasing the likelihood of keeping our students in school longer,” said Forsthoefel. “Based on an analysis of cases reported following Thanksgiving and the average number of quarantines per case, we avoided an estimated 200 close contacts or more entering into quarantine the following week.”

The shift to remote learning only impacts face-to-face students and staff. Students already in Virtual Classroom Learning will continue on with school without any disruption or changes. Face-to-face students will be sent home with learning materials, including Chromebooks and chargers, prior to Winter Break. Please look for additional information from your student’s building and teacher(s). The HelpDesk will be available to assist with any tech issues during the week of remote learning. They can be reached by calling (513) 686-1793 or emailing helpdesk@sycamoreschools.org

In order for us to accurately assess our student and staff health data during the break and during our days of remote learning, we encourage families to report any suspected, probable, or confirmed cases of COVID-19 as well as any quarantines to our Attendance Line at (513) 686-1707 or by filling out a COVID-19 Attendance Form on our website. The form can also be found inside the Sycamore Community Schools Mobile App. The attendance line and form will be monitored daily during Winter Break.

“We saw a large number of people wait to report COVID-19 related illness or exposure until we returned to school following Thanksgiving,” said Forsthoefel. “It is vitally  important that families and staff continue to report through Winter Break so we can properly assess the safety of reopening face-to-face learning on January 6.” 

As stated in our Healthy Aves Plan, Sycamore Community Schools will need to have the capacity to operate in various modes at different times, and sometimes, with minimum advance notice, in order to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff. We understand that this may cause a burden for some families and staff. Our teachers and administrators will make every effort to ensure that our students are prepared for successful days of remote learning before we reopen our buildings.