UPDATE: SCHOOLS CLOSED UNTIL MAY 1
Posted at 4 p.m. March 30, 2020
Governor Mike DeWine just extended Ohio school closures due to COVID-19 until May 1. At that time, the mandate will be reassessed, and it’s possible the closure will extend until the end of the school year.
Today, we are prepared to share that distance learning will resume at Olentangy Schools on Wednesday, April 8. This will allow district staff to prepare lesson plans and communicate those plans with students and parents on Monday and Tuesday next week. We would like to remind all parents that distance learning does not mirror a typical school day, and that our expectations are tempered. We strive to facilitate maximum learning as is appropriate for the educational environment, and all environments at this time are different.
If it is decided that we will not physically return to our classrooms this year, arrangements will be made in the coming weeks and months to allow staff and students to remove personal items from classrooms and lockers. If there is an urgent need for an item, please contact your school’s principal.
As we move forward with this school year, there are many events and activities that may need to be canceled or postponed. The District Leadership Team is addressing the possibilities now, and will be prepared to share detailed information at a later date. Like all of you, we would like nothing more than to maintain events as scheduled. However, we need to find solutions that prioritize public health and safety.
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation. We will continue to be your partner during this unprecedented event. We truly care about our students and families and we can’t wait to be together again. Let’s continue to do all we can to stay connected, and to support each other with grace and kindness.
Posted at 10:40 a.m. March 30, 2020
We have two important messages to share with you regarding access to district property and food service. Please take a moment to review the following information:
During the COVID-19 closure, all district facilities and property are closed. This includes access to all athletic facilities and playgrounds. These spaces encourage people to congregate and unintentionally break social-distancing regulations. We are working to post additional signage around facilities and to secure entrance points. Thank you for your cooperation.
The Olentangy Schools Food Service Department will continue to offer meals during the mandated COVID-19 closure, including spring break week. Meals are distributed on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. from six locations. The Monday distribution includes two lunches and two breakfasts. The Wednesday distribution includes three lunches and three breakfasts. The six locations include:
- Glen Oak Elementary: 7300 Blue Holly Dr., Lewis Center
- Heritage Elementary: 679 Lewis Center Rd., Lewis Center
- Liberty High School: 3584 Home Rd., Powell
- Oak Creek Elementary: 1256 Westwood Dr., Lewis Center
- Olentangy Meadows Elementary: 8950 Emerald Hill Dr., Lewis Center
- Orange High School: 2840 East Orange Rd., Lewis Center
All meals are pre-packaged, and students/parents/guardians should pick them up at the main entrance of each location. Students/parents/guardians can walk to pick up their meals, or parents/guardians can drive-thru. If driving, meals will be brought directly to the vehicle and placed in the trunk or back of your car. All students must be present to receive a meal. Student names will need to be provided, but student identification isn't necessary.
To minimize exposure, meals cannot be consumed on-site. No-contact delivery will be made available for families that are ill or are unable to pick up meals at one of the locations. Those families should call 740-657-5057. Also, if a student requires dietary accommodations, use the same number to alert the Food Service Department 24-hours before pick-up. If you have questions, please contact the Food Service Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While meals are available to all students during the COVID-19 closure, we will resume our free and reduced-price meal program once school reopens. If your family’s financial situation has changed, we encourage you to apply for free and reduced-price meal benefits. Applications can be completed online at www.lunchapplication.com. Printed forms can also be picked up at our six meal locations or downloaded at: https://bit.ly/2xzmXol. Please mail the completed form to Olentangy Schools Food Service, 7840 Graphics Way, Lewis Center, OH 43035.
Posted at 4:37 p.m. March 14, 2020
Our course of action to address public safety, as guided by public health leaders, has encouraged us to make an adjustment to our school closure schedule. Olentangy Schools will now be closed for students on Monday, March 16. Our previously communicated plan to close starting Tuesday, March 17, mirrored the closure mandate made by Governor DeWine. However, the spread of the disease to our region, plus our responsibility to enforce social distancing, has led to this decision. To confirm, Olentangy Schools will now be closed starting Monday, March 16 and will reopen on Monday, April 6, pending further instruction.
The closure of school on Monday alters previously communicated plans.
- The district will no longer be distributing materials directly to students. Parents will receive a communication from their child’s school/teacher by no later than Monday at 9 a.m. with instructions as to whether or not they need to go to school to pick up materials.
- Schools will be open on Monday from regular start times until 6 p.m. for material pick-up. Front offices will also be open on Tuesday during regular school hours. Parents can pick up materials for their children and other children, making it easier for parents who cannot make it to school on Monday or Tuesday.
- At these times, parents can also go to schools to pick up their children’s personal items, medications, etc.
This is a trying time for everyone, and as a society, we are all doing our best to make sound decisions in the moment. We are encouraged by the outreach of support we’re seeing among our community members. Please continue to show grace and patience with each other. We are all in this together.
Proud to serve as your Superintendent,
Mark T. Raiff,
Posted at 1 pm. March 13, 2020
The last 24-hours has undoubtedly been a test of our resiliency, and the most challenging days are yet to come. This unprecedented situation requires all of us to be nimble, make quick decisions, and pivot when necessary. With no advanced warning from Governor DeWine, all schools in Ohio received instruction to close for three weeks. Fortunately, our team was prepared to share a thorough plan with staff and parents just shortly after the announcement.
Here are specific points from that plan:
- Per the Governor’s mandate, Olentangy Schools will be closed starting Tuesday, March 17, and classes will resume on Monday, April 6.
- School is open on Monday, March 16. However, if parents choose to keep their children home that day, absences will be excused. Of course, if any student has signs of illness of any type, please stay home.
- We are open on Monday so teachers can provide instruction to students about distance learning and set expectations. It also allows our Technology department and teachers to provide support and materials such as handouts and books (particularly for elementary students).
- Instruction will not take place during our scheduled spring break from March 30 – April 3.
The timing of the announcement came after high schools dismissed on Thursday, and our district was already scheduled to be closed today. Since the Governor did not close school on Monday, that day is our best opportunity to answer student questions and to set the tone for what’s ahead.
District teachers will share more information with parents by the end of the day on Monday, March 16. Please note that a distance-learning day does not mirror an in-school day. Students will not be constrained by traditional class hours, and course work may be adjusted to be better suited for at-home learning. While some districts are not providing instruction during this time, Olentangy Schools can do so. We have a responsibility to our staff and students to move forward with our educational mission.
We have scoured social media and direct correspondence to identify questions from the community regarding the closure. Here are some responses to those questions:
Will the district need to make up lost class time?
Our current plan does not require the district to add days to the academic calendar. Still, we are waiting to learn more about state testing, which could impact our schedule.
Will the district still provide meals?
The district will continue to provide meals. We are currently exploring options for meal distribution. Additional information will be provided soon.
What is the status of extracurricular activities?
All extracurricular activities are suspended starting Monday after school. The suspension includes athletic events, school activities, and all meetings. Activities will resume on Monday, April 6, pending further direction from state officials.
Kindergarten registration is taking place now. Will that be rescheduled?
All kindergarten registration that was scheduled to take place during the closure will be rescheduled. New dates are being decided now, and information will be shared on our website.
Is Y-Club still open?
Since our buildings will be closed, Y-Club will not take place at any of our schools. At the time of this communication, Y-Club was still making decisions on how to support families during this time.
Will scheduled ACT and SAT testing still take place?
Any testing scheduled to occur before Tuesday, March 17, will still take place at the assigned location. Anything that is expected to take place during the mandatory closure will be rescheduled.
Will school-sponsored trips take place?
All school-sponsored spring break trips are canceled. All school-sponsored trips that are scheduled to occur in April and May have not been canceled as of yet.
Have graduation plans changed?
At this time, all graduation plans remain the same.
Will students still be able to receive assistance from school counselors and mental health providers?
Our professionals are reaching out to families to ensure they have open lines of communication during the closure, and to make alternative plans if necessary. If a student or parent is in crisis, they can utilize the crisis hotlines for assistance: Delaware Helpline 740-369-3316, Nationwide Children’s Crisis Line 614-722-1800.
How can parents pick up their children’s medications?
Staff will be in school clinics on Monday to distribute medications to parents. It is our district policy to not give medications to students to take home, as many medications are narcotics or controlled substances.
Communication is critical during this unpredictable time. We will continue to update our parents promptly via email and on the district website.
While this unprecedented event requires our district and community to divert attention away from other matters at hand, we must also remember that the future of the district will be decided on March 17. Election Day will not be rescheduled, so we encourage all of our community members to vote, and if possible, vote early. We cannot afford to look back on this time and say we could have or should have done more. A bright future is still ahead of us, and it’s one that we decide.
Thank you for your patience and support during this time.
Proud to serve as your Superintendent,
Mark T. Raiff
Posted March 12, 2020
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine just declared that all schools in Ohio will be closed starting Tuesday March 17, and the closure will last for three weeks. That would have Olentangy Schools closed Tuesday, March 17, and resuming class on Monday, April 6. Our dates of closure are based on the governor's mandate. However, if parents elect to keep their student(s) home Monday, the absence will be excused. This is a rapidly changing situation that may include an extended duration of school closure.
Closing school buildings does not mean that class is not in session (except for our scheduled spring break). The district can transition from an in-school to a distance learning environment.
- Students should use the devices they typically use at home to complete schoolwork.
- Students who do not have access to a Wi-Fi enabled device or the internet will receive accommodations. Teachers will reach out to parents of students to assess needs.
- We will also utilize learning platforms that are already familiar with staff and students.
District teachers will share more information with parents of their students regarding distance learning by the end of the day on Monday, March 16. Please note that a distance-learning day does not mirror an in-school day. Students will not be constrained by traditional class hours, and course work may be adjusted to be better suited for at-home learning.
During this rapidly changing situation, we will continue to be proactive in our efforts to learn more and act accordingly. The district is exploring options for meal distribution, and we are also working in earnest to address how we will continue to support students with individualized education plans (IEPs).
At this time, all extracurricular activities are suspended starting Monday after school. The suspension includes athletic events, school activities, and all meetings. They will resume beginning Monday, April 6, pending further direction from state officials.
Undoubtedly, this is an unprecedented challenge for everyone in our community. It is also an opportunity for us to come together as One Olentangy. In the days and weeks ahead, we must all show a level of grace and patience as we adapt to this extended, yet temporary, change to our everyday lives. Let us all be an example of how to handle a crisis and prevail.
Information will continue to be shared with our parents via email and on the district website.
Proud to serve as your Superintendent,
Mark T. Raiff
Olentangy Local School District