The Greenfield Exempted Village School district is revising its COVID-19 guidelines effective Oct. 29.
The district letter revising the guidelines is available on the district website.
In her report to board members, superintendent Quincey Gray spoke about new recommendations given by the Ohio Health Department and the Ohio Department of Education.
In a letter from the state, recommendations for an alternative option, titled “Mask to Stay/Test to Play Option”, have been made for dealing with the ongoing pandemic in the school and extracurricular setting.
According to the letter, the new option guidelines are based on “a growing body of national experience, a pilot in Warren County, and experience shared by other LHDs (local health departments) that points toward a low number of individuals with direct contact to a COVID-19 positive individual within a school setting who convert to positive cases.
“While vaccination and mask usage are critical components to ensuring a safe school environment,” the letter reads, it’s all an effort to keep students and staff in school and reduce the strain of at-home quarantine not only on students and staff, but to parents and local health departments.
The letter suggests that those who have been in direct contact may remain in school if they wear a mask for 14 days after the exposure, monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, and isolate and get tested if they begin to experience symptoms of the illness. Additionally, if a person tests negative between days five and seven and has no symptoms, they may stop the above measures.
For those in extracurricular activities who have been directly exposed to COVID-19, they may continue their participation if they wear a mask anytime it will not interfere with breathing, the activity, or create a safety hazard, test as soon as they know they have been exposed to the virus, then test again between days five and seven. If the latter test is negative and there are still no symptoms of the virus, then the quarantine measures may be stopped.
This is all proposed as an alternative option to the traditional option of a 10-day, at-home quarantine, which remains a choice for families. It is important to note that these suggestions for this option only apply to the direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person happening within the school or extracurricular setting, not to exposures that occur elsewhere.
Another aspect of the district’s revisions is that, also on Oct. 29, facial coverings will no longer be mandatory indoors, but are still highly recommended.
In other news, Greenfield Middle School administrators provided updates to school board members Monday regarding test scores, learning initiatives, and discipline.
Principal Jason Potts and assistant principal Ron Sexton provided those updates to the board of education at its Monday meeting, which was held in the middle school gymnasium.
Potts reported that state test results from last school year show Greenfield Middle School students above the state average in both math and science, but below average in English. Potts noted, however, that each grade level is just 2-percent below the state average.
As a way to boost students’ skills in reading and writing, the school this year has begun working with the Ohio Writing Project (OWP), which provides year-long coaching through the project for the middle school English teachers. As a component of this, the block of the school day for the middle schoolers normally reserved for just English has been split into defined reading and writing blocks, a focus that administrators feel will only benefit students.
Potts talked about how breaking the block up enabled teachers to better focus on just reading and just writing. And being a better writer, he said, supports being a better reader, too.
Seventh grade English teacher Amanda Collier told board members about how the OWP and the different approaches being taken with students to help them become better writers is facilitating their learning through added engagement and excitement. Part of that is they are writing every day. Each student has a notebook, which is not graded, but used for their writing endeavors, whether that be about how they are feeling about something one day to an aspiration they might have. It’s part of them writing every day and something they can use for ideas for projects later.
Sexton also provided disciplinary updates. He noted that incidents in the school are up, and while the 81 incidents may look alarming when compared to the 67 from the year before, he said it looks worse than it is because more than half of those 81 incidents are for minor demerits, and nearly all the rest were for refusal to follow directions for things like not doing homework or not working in class when they are supposed to be.
He said administrators can handle these problems and help students easily remedy them.
“We are very lucky in Greenfield,” Sexton said, adding that the school has problems, but the vast majority of those are easily dealt with.
The assistant principal also spoke about the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) program that has been going on in the middle school for a few years. It focuses on positive interactions with students, guiding them to better behaviors, and rewarding students for those positive behaviors.
Sexton also talked about a presentation given by Highland County Assistant Prosecutor Molly Bolek recently about online bullying and harassment and the consequences of those behaviors. It was for seventh- and eighth-graders who were then separated into groups by grade and then into male and female groups. Each discussion with the groups was tailored to that group. Sexton said a lot of great student discussions came from the presentation.
Also reported was that the district now has an autism team in place consisting of administrators, the speech therapist, teachers, and aides. The goal, Gray said, is to have a contact/resource person in every building. Greenfield’s school district is one of four other district’s participating in a pilot program. More information will come on this as the program is further developed.
In other meeting business, employment recommendations as approved by the board were Jennifer Wise, bus monitor; Harley Penwell, aide; Mishea Seldon, clerical, cafeteria, aide/monitor; Annemarie Brier, girls swimming head coach; Sarah Ahrendt, high school Hi-Y; Bradley George, boys swimming head coach; Devin Carter, boys eighth grade basketball; Kyndall Penwell, ninth grade cheerleading assistant; Erick Kegley, volunteer wrestling assistant; Tyler Carman, girls bowling; Melvin Immel, wrestling assistant; Tyler Jackson, boys seventh grade basketball; and certified substitutes: Jordan Webb, Josh Carroll, Heather Hughes, Mike Kinnamon, Molly Clevenger and Tim Gossett.
The board convened in executive session at 7:42 p.m. for the purpose of discussing personnel matters. No action was taken following the executive session.
The Greenfield Exempted Village School Board is scheduled to meet next on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. at Rainsboro Elementary. For information and updates, go to the district website at greenfield.k12.oh.us or go to the district’s Facebook page. The individual buildings also have Facebook pages. The district’s central office may be reached by calling 937-981-2152.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District.