Good Evening Families, Employees and Community Members,
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and enjoying the string of beautiful fall days we have had. Today, Governor Mike DeWine visited Northwest Ohio to share his concern over the increase of COVID-19 in this region, specifically in rural areas.
Wood County Emergency Management Agency’s October 9 update shared the following about the Governor’s visit:
The message overall was that Ohioans have done fairly well so far with the virus. However, the trends in the state are now becoming disturbing… he emphasized the importance of mask wearing in the rural areas… Statewide the positivity rates have gone up. A couple of weeks ago it was down to 2.5% and yesterday it was up to 3.9%. The cases now are averaging 1,500/day and not too long ago they were at 1,000/day. There is real spread throughout the state. Today, the urban areas are not out of the woods but they are doing better than many rural counties. To address these concerns, Governor DeWine is heading to Lima from Toledo, then on to Dayton. The reason for today’s visit is that northwest Ohio counties’ rates and cases have become exceedingly high in the last few weeks. He then went through some of those counties individually – referencing new data from the last two weeks.
In our school district, we have been so proud of our students’ and employees’ efforts to fight COVID-19. This week’s numbers are the best that we have seen. This is encouraging to us as we hope we can keep this trend up in future weeks.
We have several challenges in the weeks ahead that will make it very important that we remain vigilant at home and in school.
First, Wood County has reported a jump in cases from 162 per 100,000 residents to 213 per 100,000 residents in the last two weeks. While Bowling Green State University is a factor in these numbers, it is important to keep in mind that BGSU students are not enclosed behind a barrier. These students are in and around the community. Perrysburg High School has been the biggest feeder school to BGSU for several years. Many of these students return home to do laundry, work at part time jobs or hang out with current students. We must pay attention to those numbers as well.
In spite of the frustration many of us are feeling toward the restrictions placed on our daily lives due to the pandemic, we are heartened to see our students and employees thriving. We appreciate the patience on display throughout our community as we shoulder this burden together and do our best to keep everyone as safe as possible while also delivering instruction. Each day, there are literally thousands of success stories with our students. Each day, week and month we are able to keep our schools open is a success and a gift.
Another challenge we are facing is that we are about to enter the traditional cold and flu season, which is even more problematic due to the pandemic. One way to help your family maintain optimum health is by getting your annual flu vaccine. School nurses, medical staff and family doctors will be busy determining what is the “typical” flu and what is COVID-19. To help reduce this problem, a flu vaccine is a great tool. Flu vaccines help decrease fall/winter illnesses and transmission to other people. It takes about two weeks after getting a flu shot for the body to develop antibodies to provide protection against influenza. This is why it is best to get your flu shot now. Please contact your healthcare provider, or stop in to a pharmacy to get your vaccine by the end of October or go to https://vaccinefinder.org/. Learn more about flu shots at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccinations.htm.
A flu vaccine will help protect you and those around you from illness. Please consider taking this precaution in addition to washing your hands often, not touching your T-Zone (eyes, nose and mouth) and covering coughs and sneezes in your arm (even while wearing a mask). It is imperative that everyone maintain distance, wear a mask and stay home if sick, even if it is probably just a cold. Wearing a mask is important even if you’re 6 feet apart, and vice versa.
Gathering with others increases the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19. Limiting your activities can reduce your risk, and is especially important if you or someone in your family is at greater risk for severe illness.
If we take precautions today as suggested here, this uptick in the community may not automatically mean we will see an increase in school in the weeks to come. This would be a setback as we have just seen our best week.
Please visit this link to view the many student services and supports available to families, from food assistance to mental health resources:
We are in uncharted waters. We are inspired by the many acts of generosity and sacrifice we see each day. We are doing our best to balance the need to meet the students’ academic, social and emotional needs against the need to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect students, employees and families. We know that for many, despite our best efforts, that is not always good enough. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for working through the challenges, helping each other and making the best of a challenging situation. We love that we still see so much laughter and learning taking place all around us. There is much to celebrate in what has been accomplished with your help. Having the Jacket Way in all of our hearts and minds is helping to ease this burden. It is bringing out the best in us. We have a lot to be grateful for, even in these trying times.
Thomas L. Hosler