The North Royalton School District recently released plans to open up schools for the upcoming school year in a safe and responsible manner. “While we have come up with the plans that best suit our community, things change rapidly,” stated school officials. “As events in our city, county, region and state change, so may our plans. We will communicate this information to you as soon as possible both via constant contact emails and on our website and social media sites.”
The District’s goal is to give two options to parents for the upcoming school year. Option one involves in-person learning, based on Cuyahoga County’s risk color levels of yellow, orange, red and purple, as follows: Level 1 (Yellow) Active exposure and spread.; Level 2 (Orange) Increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution; Level 3 (Red) Very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible; and Level 4 (Purple) Severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services. The state’s Return to Learn Plans are applied as follows: Level 1 (Yellow) All students return to classrooms every day; Level 2 (Orange) All students return to classrooms every day; Level 3 (Red) Students return to class either Tues./Thurs. Or Wed./Fri. Monday are remote for all students; Level 4 (Purple) All students participate in remote learning.
The second option allows parents to opt-in to the District’s Remote Learning Program, although they must commit to the remote learning program for a full semester at a time. If this option is chosen, students are required to attend all remote learning class sessions and will be held accountable to demonstrate mastery of essential skills and standards.
The school year will begin on August 24, which was pushed forward from August 19. “This will allow for additional time to appropriately prepare staff to support essential student/staff relationships and wellness, cleaning protocols, classroom and building procedures, and instructional preparations including enhanced remote strategies and academic transitions,” according to school officials. Visitors and volunteers will be prohibited from entering any school facility during the school day.
Enhanced safety protocols will be enacted, including at-home health assessments and temperature monitoring on a daily basis by parents. “Any student or staff member with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher must stay home, or will be isolated at school and will be sent home,” according to school officials. According to Ohio Department of Health guidelines, the District should be notified immediately of if they have been exposed to COVID-19, or any members of the household have been diagnosed with the virus. They must self-quarantine for 14 days. Every effort will be made to achieve 3-6-feet social distancing and masks will be required for all staff members unless deemed inappropriate by a medical professional.
Enhanced daily cleaning and sanitization across all buildings will take place. Sanitizer will be available at all entrances and in high-traffic areas. Increased hand washing opportunities will be provided throughout the day.
According to school officials, “Preschool: Students are not required to wear masks. Grades K-4: All students will be required to wear masks when on a school bus, walking in the hallways or buildings and when moving around the classroom. Students may remove their masks when seated at their individual desks to work or to eat lunch. In addition, when working in small groups or one-on-one with a staff member, a mask will be required. Grades 5-12: All students will be required to wear masks at all times. This includes when on a school bus, walking in the hallways or in the building and when in or moving around the classroom. Staff will work to provide opportunities during the day to allow students a break to remove their masks while practicing proper social distancing.”
The District will try to create bus routes that will sit one child per seat with family members sitting together in the same seat. All students and staff must wear masks while on the bus. Students will be assigned seats. Sanitizer will be available and touch points sanitized between routes. Each bus will be thoroughly sanitized nightly.

Note:  after the publishing of this article, we received the following information regarding changes to the High School:
“Due to the structure of high school student schedules, the number of students in the building, changing classes, and construction constraints, the three phases for high school students will be different than the K-8 phases.

High School Phase 1: When the state designation is Level 1 (Yellow), students will use the Traditional Learning Phase. There will be decreased social distancing in student eating areas and in the hallways. Our goal will be to maintain a distance of three feet in the classroom in the yellow phase.
High School Phase 2: When the state designations are Level 2 (Orange) or 3 (Red), high school students will use the Blended Learning Phase.
High School Phase 3: When the state designation is Level 4 (Purple), students will use the Remote Learning Phase,”  according to School Superintendent, Greg Gurka.

Contributing Writer