Dear London Families –
Yesterday evening, Governor Dewine announced that beginning June 2nd, all health orders currently in place will be lifted, and collectively, I could almost hear an audible cheer across the state. We have run out of ways to describe this pandemic and in large part this school year. I am very happy that the words “relief” and “normalcy” will soon be more and more a part of our vocabulary.
For the greater part of the second semester, London has operated extremely well in spite of the pandemic. Since coming back to fully in person classes in March, cases of quarantine, isolation, and positive cases of COVID19 have remained low. Well over 2400 students and staff are on campus on any given school day. In April, only 7 cases of COVID19 were reported. Over 80% of staff members opted to receive the vaccination in March, and since receiving the second dose, reported cases of COVID19 in staff have been nearly nonexistent. While we know the coronavirus will not magically disappear when the health orders are lifted, all of this news in total is very optimistic.
Three weeks ago, families of students aged 16-18 were given the opportunity to receive the vaccine at school. About two dozen families took advantage of this opportunity. Recently, the Pfizer vaccine was approved for students aged 12 – 15, and schools were once again asked to assist with vaccination efforts. We will continue to work with the health department to provide this opportunity for families and will share more information when available.
I get a great deal of questions about what I think next year looks like at LCS. I understand that many families, especially families that have opted to home school or enroll their children in blended or virtual programs, need to make informed decisions for schooling for the Fall. Personally, I am extremely optimistic that the start to our next school year will resemble the Fall of 2019 more than the start of this past year. Here are a couple of other thoughts, but please keep in mind the following represents my best guess, three months before the start of the school year:
- I do not expect masks to be mandatory, but anyone who wishes to wear a mask will continue to be able to do so;
- I envision that individuals who show obvious symptoms of respiratory illness will be asked to make alternative arrangements than coming on campus like conducting a meeting online or if unavoidable will be asked to wear a mask;
- I think social distancing will be relaxed but some events or meetings will remain virtual simply out of convenience;
- I anticipate the health department will still have rules for quarantine and isolations, although I think these rules will be reduced somewhat;
- Student dining will get back to normal;
- OHSAA will maintain some changes in procedures but in large part, I expect athletics to be normal including allowing a greater number of spectators;
- Hand sanitizer, masks, and rapid COVID tests will still be available on campus;
- We are currently planning to ramp up our London Unlimited, virtual and blended learning options, for families not because of COVID, but because we want to provide families greater flexibility. We envision several hundred students continuing to be enrolled in part or fully online.
I hope that these musings assist in giving you at least a little perspective as you prepare to make choices for schooling in the Fall. I continue to be grateful for all of our community support during this school year. As always, if there is anything I can do to assist you, your child, or answer a question regarding our district, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Dr. Lou Kramer