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School Health & Safety Updates For 21-22
August 4, 2021

Dear CH-UH Staff & Families,

I hope you are all having a great summer and getting excited for the first day of school on August 24. Our district leadership has been working to plan for a healthy, safe and strong start to the 2021-2022 school year. Per the updated school guidance from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, new mask guidance from the CDC, and our reopening committee’s recommendations, the Board approved the following protocols during last night’s meeting:

Face masks
All students, staff and visitors will continue to be required to wear face masks in District buildings per Board Policy 8450.01 (with the exception of those who have a documented exemption form on file). The CDC on July 27 issued this universal policy recommendation for schools, regardless of vaccination status, due to a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases nationwide. According to the CCBH, mask wearing is a best practice that can continue to reduce the potential for COVID-19 transmission and other respiratory infections.

Desk shields/social distancing 
Physical barriers (desk shields) will be used in eating areas only, as students will not be wearing face coverings. If a staff member or parent/guardian has a special circumstance and needs a barrier at their desk for themselves or their child, they may contact their building supervisor or building principal. Choir and band classes may need to continue to use barriers due to the special nature of their interactions.

The District will follow CDC guidance on social distancing in schools. The guidance advises to maintain at least 3 feet of space between students, but when that is not possible, ensure additional prevention strategies are in place. (updated 8/5/21)

Cleaning and ventilation
Buildings, classrooms, bathrooms, buses & other high touch areas will continue to be cleaned thoroughly throughout the day. Portable air filters will remain in each elementary school classroom; filters are being replaced this summer. We will continue to align our HVAC settings with CDC recommendation to set systems to bring in as much outdoor air as the systems will safely allow.

Health assessments
Staff and students are encouraged to continue conducting health assessments prior to coming to school each day. If exhibiting symptoms of illness, please stay home and contact your healthcare provider. According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of  taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. The CDC also has a Coronavirus Self-Checker available.

We will no longer take temperatures of staff, students or visitors upon entering the building, as our reopening committee members found that this process often caused hallway congestion while offering virtually no aid in identifying anyone carrying the COVID-19 virus.

Hand sanitizer will continue to be located throughout all of our school buildings, in every classroom, and on every bus. Handwashing for students and staff will be encouraged throughout the day and time for handwashing will continue to be built into the instructional day at the elementary level.

Contact Tracing
Should a student test positive for COVID-19, parents/guardians are asked to report this to his or her school. Staff are also instructed to report their own positive cases to their supervisors. When made aware of a COVID-19 case, our school nurse and COVID-19 Notification Team will investigate the case, determine quarantine protocol, identify any close contacts, and notify staff/families.

In-person learning & Tiger Virtual Academy
We will be welcoming back our in-person learners to full school days, 5 days a week. This return to classroom routine will help our students in their learning, socialization, and emotional health.

With the knowledge that families may prefer a remote learning option for their children for a variety of reasons, the District is providing a fully remote, self-paced learning program called Tiger Virtual Academy. More information on TVA can be found here.

As a reminder, everyone 12 years of age and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The CDC encourages those eligible to get the vaccine as soon as possible. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.

Here are a few pharmacies in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights area that provide vaccinations:

Please keep in mind that health and safety protocols may change at any time based on new information or requirements set by local or state health officials. An updated Health & Safety Guide with further details is in production and will be shared on in the coming days.

I look forward to seeing our staff and students soon.

Superintendent Liz Kirby