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Bellbrook finalizing school restart plan


BELLBROOK — Barring any changes in the COVID-19 pandemic, students in the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District will be back in the buildings full time after Labor Day.

During a special meeting Thursday, school board members approved an updated district calendar and discussed a restart and reopening plan that features a phased-in approach beginning Monday, Aug. 17. Half of the students will be in buildings, the other half will be utilizing remote learning for approximately three weeks.

“If things go well, if things are trending in the right ways, we would go with 100 percent of students on Sept. 8,” Superintendent Dr. Doug Cozad told the board in outlining the plan. “We all agree being in school is the best place for all of our students to learn. We need to do that safely. We need to do that smartly. I would rather go a little bit slowly than going a little too fast.”

According to the draft of the plan — it is expected to be released within the next few days — students with a last name of A-K would be in the buildings Mondays and Thursdays, while students with a last name of L-Z would begin on Aug. 18 and be in buildings Tuesdays and Fridays. Kindergartners will follow the 50-percent model as well.

Wednesdays are what Cozad called collaboration days, where teachers work individually with each other or with students.

“It is subject to change,” Cozad said. “It’s a living document. I can’t stress that enough.”

Daily health assessments will take place and the district will follow social distancing, enhanced cleaning/sanitizing, and hand washing guidelines as much as possible. Face coverings will be required for all staff and students, according to Cozad.

“We are taking a very cautious, conservative approach to face coverings,” he said.

Like many other districts, there will also be an option for 100 percent at-home learning per semester. Parameters for that are still being developed, and will be based on the number of students choosing that option.

By Scott Halasz

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Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.