MANSFIELD -- There are a lot of questions about the restart of schools all over the nation, and north central Ohio is no different.
On July 29, Richland Source and Mansfield City Schools hosted a virtual community meeting called "What's the Plan, Stan?" Due to technical difficulties, we are not able to provide a recording of that meeting, but we have included answers to some of your questions below.
While each school district will adapt to meet the specific needs of its students and staff, district superintendents and public health officials have also released a general guide of recommended practices for schools. Many questions can be addressed by consulting the Richland County Schools COVID-19 Reopening Guidance document.
When is the first day of school?
School will resume the week of Aug. 31. Students will come in one day that week, depending on their grade level, to go through a focused orientation. Each student will receive a school-issued Chromebook at that time.
Students in Kindergarten, 4th, 7th and 9th grades will have orientation on Sept. 1.
Students in morning pre-kindergarten, 1st, 5th, 8th and 10th grades will have orientation Sept. 2.
Students in afternoon pre-kindergarten, 2nd, 6th and 11th grades will have orientation Sept. 3.
Students in 3rd and 12th grades will have orientation Sept. 4
Will lunch be provided? What are the plans for meals and cafeteria capacity?
Meals will be provided. Building principals are still working out the specifics.
How will level changes impact the mode of instruction? How can parents and teachers prepare?
Mansfield City Schools is developing its back to school plan based on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which assigns each county a level based on the spread of COVID-19.
At Levels 1 and 2, classes will be in person for all students.
At Level 3, schools will be operating on a modified “hybrid” learning schedule with a combination of in person and remote learning to reduce the number of students in the classroom. Students would be split into two alternating groups. One group would have in person classes on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other would have classes on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays would be remote learning for all students.
At Level 4, the district will transition to remote only.
Superintendent Stan Jefferson stated that even if the district has to adjust operations based on changing levels, it won’t bounce back and forth between hybrid one week and remote the next.
“If we were to start school right now at Level 3, we will be at Level 3 for at least two weeks,” he said. “If we decide to come out of that, we'll be in that educational mode of operation for a period of time.”
Now that Richland County is back to Level One (Yellow), what will this mean for schools?
On Wednesday, July 29, Jefferson announced that all students would have one day of orientation the week of Aug. 31 and would begin school on a hybrid schedule the following week, due to Richland County’s Level 3 status.
On July 30, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that Richland County had dropped from a Level 3 to Level 1. When asked if this would change the beginning of the year’s schedule to reflect the change, Jefferson said it would be determined after a special board meeting Aug 4.
Will my child have a school-issued computer?
All students, regardless of whether they are attending in-person classes or Tyger Digital Academy, will receive a school-issued Chromebook. Families that cannot afford WiFi will be given a cellular hotspot upon request.
How can I keep up with what’s going on at my school?
District communications can be found on www.Tygerpride.com, on Facebook and Twitter at @MCSTygers, by following tygersmcs on Instagram and by downloading the Mansfield City Schools Tygers app.
Tyger Digital Academy
How will the Tyger Digital Academy work?
Students enrolled in the Tyger Digital Academy will complete classes online. These classes meet state and district curriculum standards. A teacher will be assigned to each child to help them with any issues.
Will TDA students have access to school lunches?
Yes, TDA students will have lunch and the next day's breakfast delivered to their home once a day.
How long is the commitment to TDA?
Students in kindergarten through 6th grade must commit to the program for a nine week period.
Students in grades 7 through 12 must commit for a semester.
Will there be an intervention specialist available to TDA students?
Will honors classes be available?
The intent is to offer as many classes as possible online. In the event we can't offer it in the same manner, instead of being fully teacher-led may need to rely on supplemental coursework for some of the honors work.
Will there be an orientation for the Tyger Digital Academy?
Yes. Principals are planning to do a virtual orientation prior to the start of classes.
Can TDA students participate in band, choir, sports and extracurriculars?
Health and Safety Guidelines
Will my child have to wear a facial covering on the bus?
Students will be required to wear a mask on the bus unless they have a medical exemption.
How will students on a bus practice social distancing?
Buses will have assigned seats, with a maximum of two children per seat. Siblings will sit together whenever possible.
What are the requirements for facial coverings?
Under Level 1, face coverings will be recommended for all students (except for medical exemptions).
Under Levels 2 and 3, face coverings will be required for all students (except for medical exemptions).
Under Level 4, the district will transition to remote learning.
Mask breaks will be provided throughout the day.
Will the district be providing facial coverings?
The district will be providing all students with five cloth masks and one face shield, as well as a water bottle.
Will there be temperature checks at school?
Yes, but parents and caretakers are also encouraged to take their child's temperature and monitor symptoms at home.
Will students be allowed recess?
Yes. Outdoor recess is encouraged whenever possible and outdoor play equipment will be cleaned between groups.
What if a teacher is out of sick days but has to quarantine?
We are not going to have staff members who are sick have to use their sick leave days because of the pandemic. If a teacher tests positive, Richland Public Health will undergo contact tracing and determine the type of contact and interaction that took place. Once they investigate, they'll be in contact with families to let them know what needs to be done next. "Close contact" is determined by different circumstances.
What if a student tests positive for COVID-19?
If a student tests positive, Richland Public Health will undergo contact tracing and communicate with any families whose child may have been a "close contact."