NCSD will no longer be returning to school full-time due to Hamilton County’s COVID-19 cases being placed in the red zone. Click here for Norwood City School District’s plan to return to a full week schedule.
By Grace Mersch
September 18, 2020
On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Norwood Board of Education made a decision to allow full-time instruction for Norwood students beginning Oct. 26, the first day of the second quarter. This decision stands unless the Hamilton County emergency level worsens from its current orange level.
The district’s Back to School Plan, which was adopted weeks before the school year began, said that students would return to school five days a week 30 days after the Hamilton County emergency level improved from the red (level three) level. Once the emergency level was improved shortly before the school year, the Board made the decision to review this plan in September.
In a call to parents, superintendent Mary Ronan said there were many concerns from parents while the Board was making the decision. Many parents, and even some Norwood school teachers, sent in emails and letters to express their concerns regarding social distancing and possible COVID transmission risks that would result from the schools operating on a full schedule.
Other parents, however, were pleased to hear the news. Many parents who sent in emails and letters expressed that returning to in-person instruction would be the best for the development of their children, some of whom have developmental disabilities that require attention, and their family’s work schedule.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommendations posted on their website for opening schools safely, which is updated frequently as more data is gathered.
According to the CDC, the learning models that pose the highest risk include those in which students and teachers participate only in full-time instruction and activities, students move freely between activities and events, students and teachers freely share materials and disinfection is infrequent, among other things.
Norwood has implemented guidelines that would place our schools in the some- to medium-risk category. Schools that would be placed in the lowest-risk category would be those in which virtual instruction is the only option.
A concern of some students and parents alike is the fact that Norwood plans to return to full-time instruction during the flu season. Scientists have been struggling to find evidence that would answer the question as to if COVID-19 could make the flu season worse. Symptoms of COVID-19, the common cold and influenza overlap, which would cause confusion when a student exhibits any symptoms.
Even so, many other students and parents do not have concerns despite the flu season coming up.
Senior Tara Boettcher says, “I think it is safe to return to school five days a week even with flu season coming up. COVID doesn’t affect kids as badly as the elderly or people with pre-existing conditions. Also, only about 6% of the deaths from COVID solely come from COVID in the U.S. so that is a very small number. I think we will all be perfectly fine.”