Schools will consider more than color before going remote

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

XENIA — As another wave of COVID-19 sweeps through the state, area school officials are keeping a close eye on the state’s county alert system as Greene County continues to be “red” with a high case incidence.

But if Greene goes purple — the most serious on the color chart — districts won’t automatically shift to remote learning like Kettering schools did when neighboring Montgomery County was elevated to that level.

“Xenia Community Schools will continue to assess the situation and base any changes on an evaluation of the number of cases and the impact of quarantine within the district, as well as overall community spread,” Xenia Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton said. “The county going ‘purple’ would be part of this calculation, but not the determining factor.”

Red indicates very high exposure and spread, while purple shows severe exposure and spread. Counties that are purple meet six of seven specific indicators including new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases not in a congregate setting, and sustained increase in new hospital admissions.

Cedar Cliff schools, the smallest district in the county, will not use the health advisory system in its decision making.

“Cedar Cliff will evaluate on a case-by-case and day-by-day basis,” Superintendent Chad Mason said. “The color of the county no longer predicates what the district will do. We will evaluate our case numbers and decide accordingly.”

Beavercreek and Bellbrook consider the color but don’t use that exclusively.

“County color code is not the only factor for our district when deciding on an instructional delivery model,” Beavercreek spokesperson Ryan Gilding said.

Added Bellbrook Superintendent Dr. Doug Cozad, “The color of the county is one of the factors in making our decision but not the sole factor.”

Greeneview superintendent Isaac Seevers said Greene County Public Health would “likely have school recommendations” if the county becomes purple, but he was unsure if districts will be required to become 100 percent virtual.

“Our county health department officials have continually communicated with us that the decisions will be made locally and based off of the local totals,” Seevers said. “We have worked to follow the quarantine and isolation guidelines to keep our staff, students, and community safe. We definitely pay attention to the county alert system, but we would also make that decision based on what we are seeing with the levels in our schools and our community. One of the best tools that ODPH has given us was the ZIP code tracker two weeks ago. We feel like this is a better indicator of our current situation in Jamestown and not the overall county level.”

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.