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Parent Update on Quarantine Protocols - Aug. 18, 2021

Aug. 18, 2021

Dear New Albany Families,

As the first day of school approaches tomorrow or Friday for students in Grades 1-12, I would like to provide you with the following reminders to contribute to our success based upon a briefing held with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) yesterday with education leaders throughout Ohio:

  • ODH strongly encourages anyone eligible to be vaccinated to get vaccinated.  Please consult your medical provider for discussion as applicable.
  • Families are expected to complete the daily symptoms check at home before their child(ren) leave(s) for school.  Please keep your child(ren) HOME if feeling unwell or exhibiting ONE or more symptoms to follow up with your medical provider.
  • In accordance with the federal order, masks are required on any form of school transportation at all times until at least January based upon action taken yesterday.
  • ODH and our school district strongly recommend that those who are unvaccinated wear masks while in school.  Masks also provide benefits for the FCPH quarantine protocols.

ODH quarantine guidelines have been adopted by Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) and may be found here.  Please note that a student must be fully vaccinated or wearing a mask to qualify for modified quarantine in a classroom at school.  Currently, voluntary disclosure of vaccination status OR wearing a mask at school if unvaccinated will permit a student identified as a close contact during contact tracing to remain in school AND participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics, as long as asymptomatic.  Quarantine protocols remain subject to change per ODH and FCPH.

Q Update

  • We need to reinforce to our students to respect the individual choices of any student or staff member to wear a mask at school.  We do not have the right to question any individual’s choice to wear a mask or ask about their vaccination status.  We should be treating everyone with kindness and respect.  
  • Our NAPLS COVID-19 Hotline may be reached via 614-413-7111.  Please continue to report any information related to COVID-19 impacting any student.

Last Friday, in our District health and safety protocol update for the 2021-22 school year, we invited families to complete an electronic form in your child’s(ren’s) PowerSchool account regarding “Mask Preference” inside and outside at school.  Due to federal law which requires all passengers to wear facial coverings/masks,  school transportation services of any type are excluded from this form.  We requested your participation by noon yesterday to allow us to share the information with classroom teachers by today to permit them to continue to successfully prepare to welcome our students to their first day of school tomorrow (Last Names A-K) or Friday (Last Names L-Z), with exception for our youngest students at the Early Learning Center.

Please know that the Mask Preference form will remain available in PowerSchool to permit any parent to update the preference for any student at any time.  If a form selection is changed, it may take up to 48 hours to process and update in PowerSchool. 

As we shared previously, it is our intent to honor mask wearing preferences of families.  School personnel will provide verbal cues and reminders as necessary to the best of our ability.  School personnel will contact parents/guardians for any support needed to honor the family requests.  We respectfully request that each family speak with their child(ren) regarding your preferences to comply with your wishes at school.  

Several stakeholders have asked for summary information regarding mask preference data submitted to date.  Below please find this summary information as of 8:30 am today.  Again, this data remains subject to change based upon any additional preferences expressed or changed by families.

Mask district summary

Building Summary

We know this topic has highlighted deep divisions in our school community.  Yesterday, Governor DeWine stated, “the best way to make sure that your child can stay in school and not have his or her classes interrupted is for that child to be vaccinated.  If that child can not be vaccinated, then the best way to ensure a good school year is for that child to wear a mask in class.”  Our Board of Education is starting the school year empowering our families with a choice, not a mandate.  The Board of Education will continue to monitor cases and/or quarantines and has the right to act with a mandate should conditions impact our ability to keep our students safe and at school.  Due to ODH and FCPH quarantine protocols, the best way to keep each student in school is to be vaccinated, if eligible, or to wear a mask.  Your family’s commitment to the reminders outlined above are critical to our success.

Our partnership last school year demonstrated that we are stronger together.  I believe we can agree that our primary goal this school year is to keep our students safe and in school in person every school day.  As a community, we can and should take personal responsibility.  

I will provide the Board of Education with an update on our back-to-school experiences and COVID-19 related data during our first two staggered start days (Thursday/Friday) and one full-day of school (Monday) at their next scheduled meeting on Monday, August 23, 2021.  Based upon that information, the Board of Education, as they have publicly stated to date, will discuss and determine what additional action may be warranted to keep our students in school every day in person.  

Please accept my sincere thanks and appreciation for your continued partnership to help our students achieve, learn, grow and succeed throughout the 2021-22 school year.  Go Eagles!


Michael Sawyers