Community Update 05/08/20
Dear Employees, Families and Community Members,
A frost warning? Chance of snow? This is May 8 and not March 9. Regardless of the temperature outside, I want to wish each of you a warm greeting.
This was a significant week in the state’s progression to safely opening up following its closure in March. While we do not have specific guidance about the return to school for K-12 students, many other areas of business are set to start with some restrictions in the near future.
Some Ohio Businesses Set to Reopen
On Thursday, Governor DeWine announced the schedule of how some businesses will be opening up for business. He shared that outside dining, spas, salons and barbers will be permitted to resume business starting Friday, May 15. Inside dining, complying with social-distancing guidelines to ensure a minimum of six feet between parties when waiting or dining, may begin on Thursday, May 21. He added that if that is not possible, restaurants must use barriers to segregate customers. The maximum party size is set at 10, and all parties will be segregated from one another, either by six feet of distance or a physical barrier. A strict capacity limit is not in place at these establishments, however, social-distancing guidelines must be followed.
Consumer, retail and services with various restrictions will resume on Tuesday, May 12.
Congregations of people will be banned or discouraged.
Universities and Schools Begin to Announce Plans for a Fall Return
I wanted to share just some of the news from around the country and here in Ohio regarding the students and fall.
At this time, 48 states and Washington DC have ordered or recommended that schools close through the end of the academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of those, two states, Montana and Idaho, were permitted to reopen in the last week. Montana Governor Bullock said that it is up to the local school districts to make the decision to do so. One district in Montana, that has just under 60 students in grades K-12, has reopened. The three progressive phases to reopen in Montana, are the following:
Phase 1: Limiting the number of students present in school building.
Phase 2: Full capacity but limiting number of activities to allow for continued social distancing. Governor’s Order: Non-congregate group size has increased from 10 to 50 people.
Phase 3: Full capacity and full operations. Governor’s Order: Return to Normal Operations
The state is currently in Phase 1 and the school that opened has instituted strict distancing measures that include changes to courses being offered and lunch.
The University of Oregon recently announced that it is planning to have students on campus this fall. University President Michael Schill said: “Given the realities of the COVID-19 crisis and the fact that there are numerous variables outside of our control, it is unlikely that our fall quarter will look just like last fall. But I am committed to doing everything in my power to enable us to return to the type of residential university that is so special for all of us.”
President Schill said the university will explore a variety of methods to safeguard the community, including reducing density in offices, residence halls and dining facilities; intensive cleaning of all facilities; and testing and contact tracing for students and employees.
Closer to home, Oberlin College and Capital University have announced their intentions to return students to an in-person, on-campus experience this fall. Capital University leaders wrote on their webpage that: “As we move into summer, we are happy to share that we believe that with careful planning and preparation, we can safely bring the Capital Family back together on campus for Fall Semester 2020… Currently, we are developing plans to reopen our campuses for in-person classes and student housing, working within the guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.”
The Ohio State University is expecting to reach a decision in June while Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo are working on their plans for the fall.
It has been reported that local school districts may receive in the next two weeks the Ohio Department of Education’s guidance on returning to school in the fall.
What does this mean to Perrysburg Schools?
I share this information with you to illustrate how other educational institutions are beginning to implement a return to learning in the fall. While we can only guess as to what may happen in Ohio at this time, I do believe that in how our Governor is reopening business and how other institutions are approaching reopening, we can begin to capture a glimpse of what may come.
In every scenario, business and education, the return is not a return to how things were prior to COVID-19. The return has been gradual, measured and includes safety precautions for students and employees. No large gatherings, the use of face masks, increased cleaning and hygiene and respecting social distancing continue to be important elements to any plan. Large schools will have more obstacles than smaller ones.
This past Wednesday, the Perrysburg Board of Education was updated on the three different scenarios of what school could look like in the fall based on the information that is now available. The scenarios, shared as Door #1, #2 and #3, illustrated a traditional, virtual and hybrid return. The hybrid model considered various efforts to implement social distancing in a school environment. These planning exercises are valuable in forcing school leaders to look at how to return as many students to school based on the restriction in place while providing the safest possible environment for students and employees. If you view the board presentation available on the school district’s Facebook page, you will see that task of reducing the number of students (to make social distancing easier) in the classroom, on a bus or in a school is extraordinarily complicated. The guidelines from state leaders may provide the guardrails that will be in place for planning for the fall. While universities follow different laws, have more independent governance models and deal with adult and more independent students, the state’s K-12 model is more prescriptive and serves a much more diverse population in age and abilities.
From these exercises and the planning being shared from across the country, we can begin to understand what may be expected of us. School must continue. We will need to implement changes due to COVID-19. Social distancing, masks and other precautions will need to be in place. How will this impact our schedule next year? We are still in need of guidance. As shared with the board, we recognize that regardless of what plan gets implemented, families, students and employees may have circumstances that may require additional steps, safeguards and care. We will approach this with empathy, compassion, and a desire to fulfill our mission of ensuring all students achieve their greatest potential.
State Funding Reductions Announced
Thursday, all school districts in Ohio learned the amount their budgets would be reduced this fiscal year. While the total cut to K-12 education was 3.7%, the reductions were made in what was described as “equalized” manner; school districts that have less ability to raise funds receive a smaller per-pupil reduction than districts that have a higher capacity to raise funds. The document outlining the reductions stated: “The reductions were made in an ‘equalized’ manner; lower capacity school districts receive a smaller per-pupil reduction than higher capacity districts. However, details of the formula used to make district per-pupil reductions are not yet available.”
For Perrysburg Schools, the reduction for this current school year is $972,945, which is an 8.2% reduction in state aid before deductions. School districts receive state aid payments throughout the year. The reductions will be applied proportionally to school districts’ final three payments of the fiscal year in May and June. This means the state will withhold the state aid due to school districts to match the amount of the reductions. For Perrysburg Schools, the amount due to us in our final three state aid payments does not cover the amount of the deduction. Perrysburg Schools will be sending a check to the Ohio Department of Education for the remaining balance.
Federal CARES Funding to Perrysburg Schools
Legislation passed at the federal level through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the Education Stabilization Fund. These funds were distributed proportionately among states in the same manner as Federal Title I funds. Ohio is distributing these funds to school districts in the same proportions under which they receive Title I funds, which is funding to help support students who qualify due to low income. Typically, school districts are to receive just over 80% of what they receive in Title 1 funding. For Perrysburg Schools, this means the district is set to receive approximately $88,000.
Student Services and Supports
Please visit this link to view the many student services and supports available to families during this crisis, from food assistance to mental health. It is updated weekly.
If there are questions or topics you would like us to address, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thomas L. Hosler
Posted Friday, May 8, 2020