LEBANON, Ohio — Lebanon School District is taking steps to get their COVID-19 situation under control.
In an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus among staff and students, school administrators recommended schools be closed for several days, starting Wednesday. Classes will not be held in the Lebanon school district until Tuesday, Sept. 7.
The primary reason given for the closure of the schools is the loss of instruction and the effect on the staff’s ability to educate students.
Upon students' return, they and staff will be required to wear masks for at least three weeks. Previously, the district did not require masks for students or staff.
Ohio's guidance states students who wear masks in class do not have to quarantine if they don't present any symptoms of COVID-19 following an exposure.
"I'm not going to second guess what we did at the beginning of the school year," said Isaac Seevers, superintendent of Lebanon City Schools. "We were committed to making a decision about Lebanon City Schools based on Lebanon City Schools data. Our community had not seen levels of cases this summer that indicated we were going to have this number of cases."
For parents, the closure came abruptly with just one day's notice that students would be home for three days.
"One night, that's all we got," said Hannah Margheim, whose 7-year-old daughter attends Bowman Primary. "And I'm in the position to take her to work because I own this place. But, still that's difficult and the people that can't do that, I can't even imagine. Like, what if they lose their job?"
Margheim owns Barkers Barbershop for Dogs, a dog grooming shop in Lebanon. She said her daughter also fell behind during remote learning last year, so the recent announcement to close the schools has her concerned.
"It was like overnight, all of the sudden it spiked so bad we have to close schools down now," she said.
Extracurricular activities should still continue despite the closures. The district said it plans to bring back some health and safety guidelines from 2020 to ensure kids can distance and stay safe.
At a Monday afternoon meeting, administrators said the district has 919 students involved in the quarantine process as of 4:00 p.m. There are currently 25 reported cases or potential cases of students or staff who are waiting for test results.
Currently, Lebanon High School has 290 students in quarantine – 242 will be eligible to return to class on Tuesday, Sept. 7.