Miami East BOE approves re-opening plan

By Matt Clevenger

Miami Valley Today

CASSTOWN — Board of education members have approved an initial re-opening plan for Miami East Local Schools, which will spend the first week of the 2020-2021 school year under a hybrid schedule with 50 percent of students in the buildings at one time.

Students will report for their first day of school on Wednesday, Aug. 26 if their last names begin with the letters A-L, or Thursday, Aug. 27 if their last names begin with the letters M-Z. Siblings in a household with different last names will use the last name of the oldest student in the house to determine which day all children in the household will attend.

The hybrid schedule will continue until Tuesday, Sept. 1 to help students become familiar with the system; after that date the district will follow county risk level designations to determine if students attend full-time, continue the hybrid schedule or switch to fully remote learning.

Board members approved the re-opening plan during their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 20.

“That’s our initial plan,” Miami East Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Rappold said after the meeting. “We may be forced to make some revisions based upon new guidelines or potential spikes in Miami County, but that’s our initial re-opening plan as of right now.”

Visitors, volunteers, field trips and lockers are prohibited under both the hybrid plan and the full-time plan. Self-service lunch will be unavailable; students and staff will also wear face coverings according to the district’s policy.

“We have a mask policy,” Dr. Rappold said. “All staff will wear masks; students will wear masks when they are on the school bus, and then students will be highly recommended to wear masks when they are unable to socially distance in the building.”

The district’s face covering policy requires students to carry a face covering with them at all times. Face coverings will also be required around staff or students who may have high-risk health factors, and whenever students are moving around the cafeteria or lunchroom. Face coverings are not required once students are at their tables.

Students with health conditions can also choose to attend remotely with online courses through the Miami County Educational Service Center. Attending remotely will be a semester-long commitment.

After Sept. 1, a county risk level 1 (yellow) or level 2 (orange) will allow students to attend school full-time; a county risk level 3 (red) will cause a switch to the hybrid plan, and a county risk level 4 (purple) could lead the district to initiate remote learning.

In other business, board members also approved class fees and handbooks for the 2020-2021 school year, and confirmed the selection of attorney John Podgurski to represent the board of education on an as-needed basis for the 2020-2021 school year. Board members also approved the district’s participation in the 2021 Southwestern Ohio Purchasing Council bus bid process. The district is not under any obligation to accept the bid.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17.