One and a half years after COVID-19 made its debut at least three of Fulton County’s school districts have made what has become surprisingly normal but still cautious openings.
All seven school districts have jointly adopted The Fulton County Schools’ Common Opening Agreement (FCSCOA). It calls for a strong advisory for students to wear masks, social distancing, and regular sanitation of school areas, among other regulations. While the rules are not much different than those imposed by county school districts last year, they’ve become almost a new kind of normal.
And more students and parents seem to be accepting of what must be done for protection.
Pike-Delta-York local schools are serving approximately 1,300 students for the 2021-22 school year, according to Superintendent Ted Haselman. Three of those are currently being quarantined for COVID.
Still, Haselman hasn’t received any complaints about the FCSCOA edict that students are strongly recommended to wear masks in the buildings.
“To be honest, it has been just the opposite,” he said. “I have had a few parents reach out to tell me they are happy that masks are optional.”
Only eight students are enrolled in the district’s Panther Virtual Academy, as compared to about 130 students during the height of the pandemic last school year.
“The Pike-Delta-York Local School District, and all the county school districts, successfully held in-person learning the entire year last school year,” Haselman noted. “This cannot be said for many school districts across the nation or even the state of Ohio. PDY is committed to continue in-person learning for our students, as we know this is the best method of instruction for most children. We will continue to implement safety precautions needed to keep students and staff safe.”
Eric Smola, Evergreen Local Schools superintendent, said more than 1,100 students are enrolled for the 2021-22 school year which began Aug. 18. Only 8% of students are receiving virtual instruction.
Smola said numerous families have decided their children will wear masks in the buildings.
“We have received positive feedback from our families regarding having a choice whether or not their students utilize masks in our classrooms and buildings. At this time, there are no student or staff COVID cases, nor are there any students or staff under quarantine in our district,” he said.
Smola said the health and safety of students and staff “are always the number one priority of Evergreen Local Schools. The Fulton County Schools’ Common Opening Agreement was created in conjunction with the Fulton County Health Department, and if the need arises, we will make adjustments and alert our families in a timely manner.”
The school district will follow all the local and state COVID protocols should any adjustments be necessary, he added.
At Wauseon schools, a few students are wearing masks in each building, according to Superintendent Troy Armstrong. No parents have complained about masking, but Armstrong did receive a suggestion from a community member.
Conversely, the superintendent has received plenty of compliments on the FCSCOA allowing parents to decide for themselves whether their children will wear masks. And Armstrong said the approximately 30 students currently attending the district’s virtual school compares to pre-pandemic numbers.
“We learned from attending in-person last year that students and staff are safe in-person with established mitigation strategies,” he said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.