COVID19 Frequently Asked Questions
One of the five key attributes outlined in the London’s Portrait of a Graduate is that all London City School District graduates will be critical, creative thinkers and problem-solvers. Given the often blurred lines of opinion and fact, especially on social media, these skills have never been more important. Over the past several months an increasing amount of misinformation has been posted, pondered, argued, and reshared regarding the district’s COVID19 plan. Although it would be impossible to refute every case of misinformation, listed below is a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding the district’s COVID protocols.
As we teach our students, if you hear something or read something posted on social media about the district, please verify information using primary sources like the district’s website and district social media accounts, and/or administration and staff.
The following information was added on August 30th, 2021...
How can I figure out how many students have tested positive in our district?
A dashboard containing a running list of confirmed, positive COVID19 cases is located on the district website under COVID19 resources. This list is updated at least weekly.
Will the district transition to hybrid learning this year?
A transition to hybrid learning has not been discussed so far this year. Although it is difficult to predict every scenario, London is committed to providing as “normal” an onsite educational opportunity as possible. Here is information listed in our COVID19 plan (Adopted August 13th, 2021):
London is committed to providing as “normal” an onsite educational opportunity as possible during the 2021-2022 school year, while also providing parents many other alternative, educational options. The district is planning to open the school year, fully in person and remain so throughout the year. The ability to do so may be influenced by the availability of staff and the prevalence of infection rates in our community.
Will the district mandate masks for students?
London began the school year on August 18th with a policy that facial coverings are recommended but not required unless using district transportation as per an order from the Centers for Disease Control. This policy is still in place, however, as the school year has progressed, more and more students and staff have made their own choice to wear a facial covering. Although it is difficult to predict what mitigation steps may be necessary in the future, as of August 30th, the district does not have immediate plans to mandate masks for students. LCS will continue to evaluate its COVID19 plan by monitoring the rate of infection in the community and our schools as well as the availability of district staff.
Now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA, is the London City School District planning to mandate that all eligible students and staff receive the vaccination?
Although the district greatly encourages those eligible to be vaccinated, there are no discussions or plans for London to mandate the COVID19 vaccination for students or staff. LCS has a policy on immunizations, which are required for students to attend school. The immunizations included in the policy are dictated by state law.
Why does the district have to support orders of quarantine and isolation from the health department?
To be clear, a local health department has the statute authority to issue orders of quarantine and/or isolation based on a medically-diagnosed, communicable disease or for someone who has come in direct contact with a person with the disease.
R.C. 3707.16 makes clear that quarantine persons are not permitted to attend public gatherings, with a specific mention of schools.
No person isolated or quarantined for a communicable disease declared by the board of health of a city or general health district or the department of health to require isolation or quarantine shall attend any public, private, or parochial school or college, Sunday school, church, or any other public gathering, until released from isolation or quarantine by the board. All school principals, Sunday school superintendents, or other persons in charge of such schools or other gatherings shall exclude any such person until he presents a written permit of the board to attend.
Also, here is an excerpt from Senate Bill 22:
Sec. 3707.11. A board of health of a city or general health district, or the authority having the duties of a board of health under section 3709.05 of the Revised Code, may only issue a quarantine or isolation order under this chapter that applies to individuals who have been medically diagnosed with the disease that is the subject of the order or individuals who have come in direct contact with someone who has been medically diagnosed with the disease that is the subject of the order.
In addition, schools are required to report confirmed cases and assist in contact tracing per the Ohio Director of Health’s Order issued September 3rd, 2020, which is still in effect, which states in part the following:
1. To facilitate timely contact tracing and prevent further transmission of COVID19, all schools that provide any kindergarten through grade twelve instruction shall maintain a reporting system for parents to report positive tests and/or cases of COVID19.
5. Within twenty-four (24) hours of becoming aware of a student, teacher, or staff member, or coach who tests positive or is diagnosed with COVID-19, each school shall report the case(s) to their local health department.
Finally, the district’s policy on Control of Communicable Disease states the following:
8450 - CONTROL OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES
The Board of Education recognizes that control of the spread of communicable disease is essential to the well-being of the school community and to the efficient operation of the schools.
For purposes of this policy, "communicable disease" shall include smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet fever and other strep infections, whooping cough, mumps, typhoid fever, measles, rubella, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and others so designated by Federal, State, and/or local health authorities.
In order to protect the health and safety of the students, school personnel, and the community at large, the Board shall follow all State statutes and Board of Health regulations which pertain to communicable disease.
On the recommendation of the school nurse, the principal may exclude from the classroom, the building or isolate in the school any student who appears to be ill or has been exposed to a communicable disease, except that the principal may act independently if the school nurse is absent from the building.
The Superintendent shall develop procedures for the control of communicable disease.
Given that the district is aware of students who are to be quarantined, it would be contrary to the law, a legal health order and Board policy for schools to allow students to attend school if they are designated for quarantine by the health department. In the case of a positive test, London is helping to identify those who have been in direct contact with an individual who has been medically diagnosed with the disease.
How are students identified for quarantine?
Once a confirmed, medically-diagnosed case of COVID19 has been identified, the school principals work with teachers and staff to identify those individuals who have come in direct contact with the individual. Direct contact means touching or could mean working in a small group or being in close proximity to the confirmed case for an extended period of time. Once individuals are identified who need to quarantine, the list is cross-checked for those who have masked appropriately and for those who have already received the COVID19 vaccine. Any individual who meets either of these criteria is removed from the quarantine list. Individuals who are required to quarantine must do so for a period of 10 days from last contact of the positive test. People who do not show symptoms and test negative for COVID19 may return on day 8.
How can I communicate with the Board of Education?
The Board President is the official spokesperson for the Board of Education. However, the superintendent fulfills this role on a day-to-day basis. Individual Board members are not authorized to act on behalf of the Board unless acting as part of an open Board meeting. This means that Board members who reply in an email, speak publicly, or post on social media may express views that do not necessarily reflect the views of the Board as a whole. This makes responding to individual emails sometimes difficult for individual Board members. This said, information sent to the Board or individual Board members is valued and considered in future decisions.
A Board meeting is a meeting held in public but not a public meeting per se. There is a time for public participation at each regular, monthly Board meeting in which members of the public may share their opinions with the Board. The Board does not respond directly to individuals during public participation but may direct the superintendent to follow up on concerns or issues shared during this time.
The district has established a public comment form in which parents and community members may provide feedback to the administration regarding the district's COVID19 plan.