Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Message to Families From Superintendent Kirby - January 9, 2021

January 9, 2021

Dear CH-UH Families,

I hope that you and your families had a restful and enjoyable winter break and that you have settled back into your routines after this first week of school in 2021. As we prepare to close out the first semester of the school year, I am writing to share District updates and resources that may be helpful as we process the recent events happening in our country.

Like many of you, the deadly, violent riots in Washington D.C. this week have left me disheartened. The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was an assault not only on the leaders of our country but also on the institutions that are the anchors of our society. As I watched the events unfold, I thought about the impact on our children as they try to make meaning of everything that has happened. What questions do they have about the use of violence to address political disagreement? What contrasts do they see in the law enforcement response to these protests compared to the protests that occurred this summer? What steps do we need to take to heal this wound to our country?  

Parents, guardians, and educators are no strangers to discussing tragedy with our children, especially with what has been happening in the world over the last few years. But it never gets any easier. Below are a few links to resources that may help you navigate the news with your children.

National Geographic - How to talk to your kids about the chaos at the Capitol
National Association of School Psychologists - Talking to Children About Violence
KQED - 7 Books to Help Address and Discuss Tough Topics With Kids

Like the summer’s events, this chaos motivates my desire to continue  to work with all members of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights community to create a better world for our children through equitable education. Educating students to be informed, thoughtful, analytical and responsible citizens remains a central stepping stone in achieving this goal and upholding a democratic society.

Youth MLK Jr. and free speech events
It’s so important that we give our young people the chance to voice their opinions on current events and social justice. There are several upcoming events related to student speech and the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that I’d like to share.

The City Club of Cleveland’s Youth Forum Council is a group of high school students from across the Greater Cleveland area. Every year, the Youth Forum Council plans and facilitates six cost-free forums for high schools throughout Northeast Ohio. Through this process, students work with other teens from diverse geographical, religious, racial, and cultural backgrounds, forge relationships with local leaders and professionals, and educate fellow classmates and youth on a variety of topics. Applications are now open for the program. Find more information here.

Beginning on Monday, January 18, Karamu House will premiere “Infinite Hope,” a special celebration in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This 50-minute virtual presentation of spoken word, song, and dance is free to the community, but registration is required.

East View United Church of Christ is holding their 31st Annual Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest for students in grades 4-12. The theme of this year’s contest is: How do we unite a divided country? The deadline is January 12. has compiled an overview of Cleveland-area MLK Jr. programs and celebrations.

Return to school surveys
In December, the District launched surveys to gauge our PreK-12 families' preferences regarding in-person and remote learning options for the second semester. These surveys are helping to guide our planning and reopening recommendations to the Board of Education. They remain open; if you have not had a chance to submit yours, the links to each grade level are below.

Pre-K | Kindergarten | Grades 1-5 | Middle School | High School

We previously indicated that a formal learning model selection survey would be sent to all families on January 6. We have decided to hold off on sending these surveys until we have more information from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

During the Board of Education meeting on January 12 at 7 p.m., my team and I will present an update on Reopening. This will include more detailed information on protocols and procedures, the Heapy HVAC report, the vaccine rollout information from the state, the interest survey results, and more. The meeting can be viewed live on our District YouTube channel.

Ohio Online
On Monday, January 11, families with students currently enrolled in Ohio Online will receive a survey asking whether or not they wish to remain with Ohio Online for the remainder of the school year. Please contact Bob Swaggard, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, at [email protected] or 216-320-2005 if you have any questions about Ohio Online or the survey.

Stay-at-home advisory
The District remains in its high-alert plan for staff due to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s issuance of a stay-at-home advisory that was extended through January 15.  

We will continue monitoring the case data in our area and recommendations from our state and local boards of health. The data released by the Ohio Department of Health Thursday show that Cuyahoga County remains at Level 3 (red) with high incidence and two of the seven indicators met.

COVID-19 case summary beginning December 19
Since our most recent case summary on December 18, we have received reports of one staff member and two students testing positive for COVID-19. Of these cases, the staff member and one of the students had been working/learning remotely. These cases are reflected on the District’s case reporting dashboard.

When staff and students who have been in District buildings test positive for COVID-19, we send notices to the families whose children attend the affected schools and to the staff members of those schools. We also post the notices on and our District app, available for Android and iPhone.

Hotspots still available
Hotspots are still available to K-12 families who do not have home WiFi or are having connectivity issues. To reserve one for your family, please contact the IT Department at 216-397-5910 or fill out a request form.

As our first semester comes to a close on January 15, I encourage our students and families to end the quarter strong. We will continue to share updates with you on planning. Thank you for your continued collaboration.

Superintendent Kirby

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