DELHI TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Oak Hills Local School District's board of education approved a proposal Wednesday to let students return to classrooms in September based on Hamilton County's level in Ohio's COVID-19 alert system.
In the proposal, Oak Hills aims to bring all students back to classrooms by Sept. 8, with a staggered reopening starting Sept. 3. Students with last names starting with "A-L" will be in classrooms on Sept. 3 and students with last names with "M-Z" will learn at home. The groups switch on Sept. 4.
According to the proposal, teachers will "work with smaller groups of students to begin transitioning back to face-to-face learning, reopening student expectations, fostering positive relationships," and teach new public health procedures during the staggered back-to-school days.
Then, on Sept. 8, all students will return to classrooms based on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System Alert Level for Hamilton County.
If that level is yellow or orange, students will fully return to class. If the level is red, the level which Hamilton County is currently classified, a blended learning option will be implemented.
If the level is purple, indicating the most "severe exposure and spread" in an area, students will receive remote instruction only. No Ohio county has been classified as purple at the time of this report, though state health officials said Hamilton and Butler counties are approaching that status.
Through all of these levels, Oak Hills would also provide a K-12 virtual learning academy.
Oak Hills also aims to bring teachers back between Aug. 27 - Sept. 2 for professional development and teacher in-service days. During this time, faculty will "receive re-opening expectations, health and safety training," and create remote learning lessons while prepping classrooms for the start of school.
The school district's board of education met Wednesday night to discuss the proposal. Parent Kimberly Toben said she thinks it's still too early to tell if it's safe to bring children back into classrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think we are using our children and our teachers and our staff as guinea pigs," she said. "We simply just don't know enough and I think we need to know more about this virus and about how it spreads before we start throwing kids into what could potentially be a super-spreader event."