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AURORA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT WILL HOLD ALL CLASSES VIRTUALLY ~ December 1-4, 2020

Boy Learning Remotely

ACSD Weekend Update 11/14/20 Transcript

Video Link:  https://youtu.be/NkVEac52efg 

Hello, I’m Mike Roberto, superintendent of the Aurora City Schools. In this weekend edition of our parent update I will first be sharing an important announcement with all of our Aurora families and then explaining the rationale behind this decision.

So, let’s start with the announcement, on Tuesday December 1st through Friday December 4th ALL Aurora Schools and therefore all young people attending those schools will be virtually learning for these four days.  To be clear, NO students will be physically in the Aurora classrooms from Tuesday December 1st through Friday December 4th, but we will be holding all classes online for grades K-12 during these four days. Because students will not be in classes those days, we wanted to give families as much time as possible to plan accordingly.

I suspect many of you might be asking why we are going to switch to online learning for all young people on those four days.  This decision began with a look at the current COVID data.

Data

This past Friday, Ohio jumped to over 8000 identified positive cases of COVID-19 per day.  These 8000 cases followed jumps from over 4000 late last week, 5000 cases during last weekend, and over 7000 cases during mid-week.  We, as a state are clearly moving in the wrong direction.

At the same time we are also trending upwards for the number of known cases in Portage County.  This is the sixth week in a row that the county has been designated at Level 3 or Red on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.  This designation is mainly centered around the high incident rate taking place in the county.

There is a temptation to blame Kent State for the higher numbers in Portage County.  Though KSU does contribute to those numbers Aurora shown here under the 44202 zip code designation is one of the highest rates of positive cases in the county.  The most recent zip code map was not available on the county website, but this map from late October is still relevant. 

We have recently added a new feature to our COVID-19 Data Dashboard which will also help to identify changes taking place within the Aurora City School District.  This information can be found under the COVID-19 Data Dashboard link which is located on our district website listed below Quick Links.

Data Dashboard

Once you click on the Dashboard link you will notice tabs located at the bottom of the spreadsheet.  Each tab will take you to that particular week’s data.  The tab at the far left title TRENDS is the one in which I am referring.

As you can see the trends are graphed out for each of the buildings within our district.  I suspect you will notice an increase in the gold curve which represents students who have been placed in quarantine by the Portage County Health District.  Each building shows its own data trends, so please feel free to browse this page.  I wanted to focus on the last two graphs found toward the bottom.

The first graph indicates those students in the district who are COVID positive and therefore being placed in isolation by the Portage County Health District.  You can see that we have a relatively low number of students in isolation and, as of Friday November 13th,  all are at Aurora High School.  However, I wanted to emphasize that based on contact tracing these students were not exposed to the virus at AHS.

The second graph focuses on the number of students who are in quarantine.  This data is particularly interesting because though we have a relatively low number of students who are isolated, all of which are at AHS, we are seeing a growing trend of students in quarantine in ALL buildings across the district.  This is an indication that the potential exposure to the virus is taking place outside of the schools.  Once again, the contact tracing has confirmed this hypothesis.  Though some of the students were quarantined due to a COVID positive case at school, contact tracing showed that the majority of these students were quarantined due to exposure to parents, siblings, or even co-workers who were COVID positive.

As you see, the data is showing that COVID is in our community and though the schools have been relatively successful in keeping the virus at bay it IS starting to creep into our buildings.  

So, why go virtual for December 1st through December 4th?  This has everything to do with the Thanksgiving holiday and the associated travel of relatives and the return of college students.

Calendar

Our original school calendar indicates that we, as a district, will be off of school for Thanksgiving Break from Wednesday November 25th through Monday November 30th and therefore return to school on Tuesday December 1st.

The new plan is to still return to school on December 1st, but it will be virtually as ALL K-12 students will be working online for this entire week.  As I said earlier, the rationale for these particular days has everything to do with the Thanksgiving Holiday. As families get together on Thanksgiving day there is no doubt that we will be combining social bubbles, having limited social distance, and of course not wearing masks as we enjoy the holiday feast.  So it is reasonable to believe that we ALL will have added exposure to the virus.

It is my understanding that in approximately 75% of positive COVID cases symptoms appear in the first seven days, but in some cases could appear up to 14 days after exposure.  If we look at the 7th day after Thanksgiving day on this calendar you can see it falls after we would have started back to school.  If symptoms don’t show up for some individuals exposed on Thanksgiving until day 8 or 9 then we are looking at a whole week of potential exposure.  

However, because we are going virtual for these four days as a district we would not be physically returning to school until December 7th which is 12 days after Thanksgiving.  These four days of virtual learning would greatly reduce the possibility of students inadvertently causing others to be quarantined at home and therefore away from school for 14 days.

If a student were quarantined on December 2nd or 3rd those 14 days would take them basically to the end of the first semester.  We are trying to avoid this from happening.  By taking these four virtual days of online learning we are setting ourselves up for success with the goal of all K-12 students in Plan A to be able to return to school, in person, for the last two weeks of the first semester.  In essence we are buying two weeks of in person learning to end the semester for four days of virtual learning on December 1st through December 4th.

One last point of emphasis.  This move will set us up for success IF we all stick with Thanksgiving day as our time of gathering.  If vacations are extended or extra social gatherings take place during those 11 days after Thanksgiving the chances of exposure in the schools will clearly be increased.  We are asking for everyone to please consider sticking to your current Thanksgiving plans.  

Over the next week, each building principal will be sharing more details of what December 1st through December 4th will look like for their respective building and grade levels.

Also, please remember that when we return on Monday December 7th all students and staff should be completing a wellness check prior to attending school and once at school we will need to Mask Up, Wash Up, and Back Up.

Thanks for taking the time to watch this video and GO GREEENMEN!


 





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