Supt. Update 8/11/20

UpdateNotebookPens 3
August 11, 2020

Dear Bay Village Schools Families,

More changes to our education system have occurred in the last few weeks than in the last 50 years. We must remain nimble, prudent and flexible as we manage our district during a pandemic. We have continued to review Cuyahoga County Board of Health information and recommendations, the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, as well as our own Safe Reopening plan during these fluid times. The health and safety of our students, families and community members is our top priority. 

The following is a timeline of information influencing our Bay Village City School District Safe Reopening Plan.

The collective commitment of the Board, teachers, staff, administrators and families has always been to start the school year In-building if it can be done safely.”

~Bay Village Board of Education President Mrs. Lisa Priemer

“Our team worked tirelessly on our multi-layered Safe Reopening Plan that is unlike any other in our region.”

~Bay Teachers Association President Ms. Lauren Stanislaw

We know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends students be “physically present in school” as much as possible. Unfortunately, despite all our collaborative planning and preparation for In-building instruction, we have learned the hard way that school districts do not have timelines...we are on virus time.

Nationally, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Sunday, August 2, warned the country we have entered a “new phase” of the pandemic, and “...we are asking people to distance learn at this moment so we can get this pandemic under control.” She and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield urge people to follow public health guidance as reports of new cases of the virus climb.

Locally, as of last Friday, August 7, Cuyahoga County continued to see widespread transmission of the virus with nearly 9,000 cases last week. (These numbers do not include the city of Cleveland, which has its own health department.) Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan said that we are still seeing more than 100 new cases every day. He suggests the need to see a “sustained decline in new cases over a one-month period” since there was a major surge in July. Allan said that with flu season around the corner, he anticipates COVID-19 and the flu will circulate in our community at the same time.

We are not medical experts, so we will honor the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s evidence-based rationale that recommends schools begin the year remotely by starting our 2020-2021 school year with eLearning through September 11 for all students, including the preschool SEED program. In order to be flexible and nimble, we will then reevaluate our model every two weeks, reviewing Cuyahoga County Board of Health information, consulting with our Medical Advisory Team and reviewing our dashboard of data points in making decisions in *two-week chunks. Families will be notified of eLearning or In-building instruction on the second and last Thursday of each month by 4 p.m.

Here are important dates and information for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. (You may also find additional information in the Superintendent Update shared at the August 10 Board of Education meeting.)

Beginning of Our School Year 

While our district team is going through its own safety training, tech training and eLearning planning, we want to make sure we are engaging with our students and families to ensure they are also prepared for this unique year. Our Rocket Family eAcademy begins August 24. We are planning a week of family-centered, live-streamed and asynchronous virtual activities to begin the 2020-2021 school year.  Each day will have a different focus. Topics include:

  • Safety and Covid-19 Planning for families.
  • Social Emotional Learning Basics.
  • Family 101 on Zoom, Google Classroom, Clever, Seesaw and PowerSchool.
  • Virtual Open Houses.
  • District technology team help desk for all related questions and concerns.
  • A “One Book, One District” ebook for families to read together.
  • Engage the Brain Activities.
  • High school clubs will get underway, meeting virtually.
  • High School Class Meetings will take place. 

August 28, 30, 31 - Scheduled Pick-ups for Instructional Materials

August 31 - Live-Streamed Classroom Check-ins/Circle Time with Preschool SEED Intervention Specialists, K-4 homeroom teachers, 5-8 Teams and 9-12 Teachers in the morning. Specific schedules will be shared out to students in advance. 

September 1 - The first day students begin to follow their daily schedules. We will continue with eLearning through September 11. 

Two-Week Chunk of Determining Instruction Mode Begins the Week of September 14

We will determine In-building or eLearning instruction in “two week chunks*,” with the week of September 14 determined by 4 p.m. September 10. (Student schedule will remain the same.) To make this flowing decision about In-building instruction, we will consult our dashboard of data points, which will include the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the State of Ohio color code alert system, our own absentee rates, local positivity rates and our new Medical Advisory Team. 

*Families who have concerns about the uncertainty of two-week chunk instruction mode and prefer consistency for their own scheduling, may opt in to eLearning, even if they chose In-building learning on the parent survey. Please contact your child’s school building if you need to switch to eLearning. 

In-building Slow Launch Start

When we are able to hold In-building learning following these guidelines: Cuyahoga County Board of Health recommendation, declining cases, 5% or lower positivity rate for a steady period of time and COVID-19 state advisory system color is yellow or orange, we will initiate our Slow Launch Start. After studying the success and failures of a variety of countries, a slow launch to school is imperative to monitor any community spread increase. This gradual beginning starts with 25% to 50% of children per day for two weeks, then a step up to 100% of students attending. Students who are not In-building during the Slow Launch Start will be engaged in eLearning, which will include live streaming time and teacher-assigned independent work.  A weekly schedule of the cohort groups will be shared with parents. (SEED students will follow their am/pm schedule as a whole class.)

Athletics and Activities

We are in consultation with the Great Lakes Conference and taking a conservative approach. During eLearning periods, athletics and activities will continue at Phase One for contact sports, Phase Two for non-contact sports and Phase Three for tennis and golf. Additional communications with students and their families regarding athletics and activities will occur via Mr. Spellman, coaches and advisors. 

eLearning for 2020-2021 

Let us make clear, our eLearning plan for the 2020-2021 school year is not the emergency remote learning plan we put in place last spring. We have invested in people, resources and equipment to provide a robust learning environment for our students. Our teachers have been training and preparing all summer.  These are just a few of the steps we have taken:

  • Our newly purchased live-streaming camera technology is innovative and unlike any other in nearby districts. 
  • Every student in grades K-12 and SEED will be provided with a Chromebook.
  • We increased bandwidth by upgrading to 1G, doubling our pipeline for additional technology. 
  • We have hired new teachers and several teachers voluntarily transferred to new positions within the district to ensure small elementary class sizes to help personalize learning.
  • The district Gifted Coordinator will be overseeing our Gifted Program. Gifted Services may look different than prior years. 
  • Students follow their daily class schedules, have attendance requirements and assignments completed within the school day.
  • Teachers will be using live-streaming and asynchronous lessons and activities regularly throughout the week. Schedules of live-streaming times will be shared in two-week chunks. 
  • Homework assignments will be in addition to the regular eLearning classwork.

Our Amazing Teachers

Our teachers want the best for their students. Below are just a few ways our amazing teachers are leading the charge. 

  • More than 90 teachers recently volunteered their time by attending a camera-training session to become more proficient with using cameras, Zoom and Screencastify.
  • Our teachers will spend at least 20 hours a week In-building, even when we are in an all district eLearning mode. 
  • Teachers have been working together to plan engaging eLearning opportunities for their students. 

Additional Services

In addition to our dedicated and caring team of guidance counselors, intervention specialists and aides, the district has invested in a full-time social worker to assist students with mental health needs during these unprecedented times. The district is also consulting with a local licensed psychologist to offer parents weekly parenting tips and talking points about the pandemic to help them better understand their students’ and their own questions. 

Having Hope

Please don’t let this public health crisis divide our One Rocket Nation. We will keep fighting and absorbing information. Accepting changes that need to be made does not mean we have to agree with them. We are on virus time. As we navigate the new normal, we need to find ways to be in community and to uphold one another and our work. Our goal is that by determining instruction in two-week chunks and by relying on the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, our Medical Advisory Team and our dashboard of data points, the 2020-2021 school year will be safe, enriching and as normal as possible for our students during these unprecedented times. 


Jodie Hausmann, Superintendent, Bay Village City School District

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