The Delaware Area Career Center announced Wednesday it will be releasing its back-to-school guidelines near the end of the month.
The announcement was made in a letter by Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman on the school’s website.
“At DACC, we have been looking ahead to August since before the previous school year ended, and we are excited to have students return, no matter what delivery option is implemented,” Freeman said. “I know, as families, you have faced many challenges and it is important to know what school will look like in August. As much as we would like to return to a normal school year, we all know that will not happen; however, we are designing a plan that puts student and staff safety, and a high-quality education, as our top priorities.”
Freeman explained that because the school has students from Delaware City Schools, Olentangy Local Schools, Big Walnut, Buckeye Valley, Westerville and Worthington, it has to wait until those schools make their plans before the DACC can finalize its plans.
“Because we work with the surrounding school districts, we are often the last to finalize our plans so that we can do our best to align with our partner schools,” Freeman said. “The Ohio Department of Education has also provided additional guidance to career technical labs, which we are taking into consideration.”
Freeman said the DACC plans to release its plans after they are reviewed by the DACC Board of Education on July 30.
“What I can tell you right now is that we would like to have students back in the building as much as possible, as long as it can be done safely,” Freeman said. “We are working with our associate districts, as well as the Delaware General Health District, to develop a model that balances student safety with educational needs.”
Freeman explained the school will require self-monitoring of symptoms and daily temperature checks before coming to school, as well as wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Freeman said the school is reassessing its Aug. 17 start date, but she added the bell schedule of starting school at 7:50 a.m. and ending the day at 2:20 p.m. will remain unchanged.
“These are uncertain times and I understand that we are all looking for clarity,” Freeman said. “With new data being released daily, it is in our families’ best interest for DACC to finalize and release our return-to-school plans after the July 30 Board of Education meeting so that we can reduce the likelihood of making changes to those plans prior to the start of school. I appreciate your patience as we move forward. Every decision I make keeps student and staff safety, as well as the quality of education we deliver, as our top priorities.”
DACC’s partner districts began announcing their tentative reopening plans this week.
Olentangy Local Schools, Buckeye Valley and Worthington City Schools have all announced that the education model will depend on what level the pandemic has reached. The districts have said under a level one or two emergency there will be full in-person classes on a daily basis with extra safety protocols.
At level three, where Delaware County is now, the three districts call for a move to a blended model where 50% of students do in-person education two days one week and three days the following week on a rotation with the other 50% of students.
A level four risk emergency would see all three districts move to online-only instruction.
Delaware City Schools announced its plans Monday, stating it will be using the blended alternating model from the start, while also allowing families to opt-into online-only education.
Big Walnut announced this week it is asking families to choose between in-person learning and remote learning by July 20. The district said there will be increased health and safety precautions in place for the in-person model, adding students “may be switched to remote learning or a hybrid model if COVID-19 conditions worsen in a building, throughout the district or mandated by the state.”
Buckeye Valley, Delaware and Olentangy have moved their start dates to Aug. 31 to allow for training and cleaning, but Worthington’s start date tentatively remains at Aug. 19. Big Walnut is considering a staggered start for kindergarten students beginning on Aug. 24 with all students beginning instruction on Aug. 31.
Westerville City Schools said in its weekly newsletter Wednesday that the district will be announcing its reopening plans next week.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.