School Reopening

Lake Ridge Community,

I hope you, like me, are looking forward to an in-person return to school on August 21. We have had summer programs meeting here last week and this week, and it has been wonderful to have children back on campus again! Our camps and other summer programs have been going well, and they give me confidence that we can reopen safely.

On “Mondays with Mitch” yesterday, I announced a few reopening decisions and want to share them here with you as well. Please note we are still working on details and will let you know more as the GoForward Committee makes decisions. The Reopening Playbook, which will contain all details for reopening, will be published on August 10. Here are some decisions we have made in the past two weeks:

  • In addition to the internal GoForward Committee, we have formed an external review committee consisting of parents with relevant expertise to review our plan before we publish our Reopening Playbook. These parents include physicians, an attorney, daycare operators, and a health policy researcher. Three of the parents are also board members.

  • We will screen everyone as they arrive on campus for symptoms, including a temperature check.

  • Based on advice from Lorain County Public Health, we will adopt a “two barrier” policy for reopening. This means that at all times, all people on campus will be protected by two or more barriers, which could include a face covering, distance of 6’ or more between people, or working behind a plexiglass divider. Our primary means of creating two barriers will be face coverings. We will give students mask breaks based on their age and developmental ability. All students will be required to have face coverings and should be prepared to use them during the day. Please start (or continue) to get your children used to wearing a face covering.

  • Once school reopens, visitors to campus, including parents, will be received by appointment only. (Please note that parents of new students will have a chance to visit their students' classrooms as school begins.) Visitors and parents with appointments will need to wear face coverings, respect social distancing guidelines, and wash their hands upon arrival. All visitors and parents will be screened and given a self-evaluation when entering campus.

  • We are implementing a large number of additional mitigation measures including the following:

    • hand sanitizer in every classroom
    • reliance on stable cohorts of students in the lower school, including during extended day
    • strong hand-washing and personal space-cleaning routines
    • rotations to cubbies and lockers
    • restrictions on large group in-person meetings
    • outdoor learning (we will encourage it whenever possible)
    • enhanced school cleaning and disinfecting, and
    • signage to reinforce our mitigation measures.

I am sure many of you are aware that Lorain County was moved from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 (Red, the 2nd highest out of 4 levels) last Thursday, July 9. We are in close communication with Lorain County Public Health and are preparing for multiple scenarios. On the Zoom call yesterday, I had several requests to conduct an additional parent survey, and we will send out a short survey later this week to learn your thoughts about online instruction vs. in-person return to school. We will also send a similar survey to teachers. In either setting, we will be ready and have been planning for both options.

In the meantime and based on the guidance we are getting from the State of Ohio and direction from Lorain County Public Health, we continue to prepare for an in-person return to school on August 21. The decision to remain open will depend on State guidelines, direction from the guidance, and the continued good health of Lake Ridge teachers and students. Future “Mondays with Mitch” sessions are scheduled at 4:00 p.m. on July 27 and August 10, but you are welcome to email or call me anytime. Your input continues to be important. We will continue to consider the expert guidance, the results of the teacher and parent surveys, and the facts on the ground as we plan our reopening.

Thank you for your support of Lake Ridge and our students during this crazy time. I appreciate all of you and look forward to seeing you soon.

All the best,

Mitch White
Head of School