Dear Indian Hill School District Families:
We are incredibly excited to welcome our students back for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. We know one of the biggest questions you need answered as a parent/guardian centers on the safety expectations in regards to COVID-19.
Our Board of Education always places the safety and security of our students and our staff as the top priority for the Indian Hill School District. During a special meeting of the Board on Tuesday, August 3, members reviewed the most recent recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Ohio Department of Health, both strongly recommending universal masking policies for all students, teachers, and staff, regardless of their vaccination status. This is a result of news in recent weeks about the Delta variant that has rapidly become the most common form of the virus in Ohio – and across the nation. This particular variant has proven to be much more contagious than previous versions of the virus, and it can be transmitted to others, even by fully vaccinated people who contract the virus.
With these new concerns top of mind, and because we have a significant population of students who do not yet have a vaccination option available to them, our Board of Education in a 3-2 vote, has decided to begin the school year with an indoor mask mandate for grades K-12 and for all students and all staff on the return of school on Thursday, August 19, 2021. The indoor mask mandate will continue until the Tuesday, September 14, 2021 Board of Education meeting, where the local data will be reviewed. Additionally, an order issued by the CDC clarifies that masking is still required on “buses, and other forms of public transportation.” As a result, students will be required to wear masks when riding school transportation at minimum through Monday, September 13, 2021.
We understand this news may feel difficult to hear, especially for parents of students who have been fully vaccinated. Please know that while we are starting the school year with a universal mask mandate, should information improve, we will be prepared to pivot our plans.
Important Information about COVID-19 Reporting:
• Parents or guardians of students and school staff, are strongly encouraged to provide notice of a positive case diagnosis within 24 hours. Parents should call (513) 272-9698 and speak to District Nurse Shelley Hoyer, the designated COVID-19 Coordinator, to report positive test results. This tracking system will be monitored daily for updated reporting on COVID-19 cases.
• School nurses use required documents to track suspected cases. When a COVID-19 case is suspected, the District will provide documentation for parents to have their child’s physician complete prior to their return to school. The District asks that all documentation is completed in full.
• Parents are also encouraged to notify the District of testing due to suspected cases of COVID-19, regardless of the result. Efficient contact tracing involves both notification and timing of close contacts with the child or adult who may be considered a suspected case.
• Indian Hill staff immediately reports a student or staff member suspected as a COVID-19 case to our designated official at the Hamilton County Health Department as part of our contact tracing protocols. Please note: Students who have maintained three feet or more of social distance, or wearing masks, or who are vaccinated will be exempt from contact tracing and quarantine, so long as they are asymptomatic.
• Indian Hill administrators will issue public updates in writing to students and parents to make information about a positive COVID-19 case publicly available to the fullest extent allowable under the law. The updates will be emailed to parents and guardians and posted to the District website. We will not issue names associated with positive COVID-19 cases or contact tracing.
• The Hamilton County Health Department will share Indian Hill School District data with the Ohio Department of Health on a weekly basis about newly reported cases, as well as cumulative cases. This school data will be posted weekly at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Click here to access a website resource with details.
Finally, frequent hand washing and hand sanitation will be encouraged and our maintenance and custodial staff will continue to clean and sanitize our classrooms and common areas regularly. Many of our buildings are also equipped with air filtration systems and we will also continue to use those to eliminate airborne germs.
As we continue to navigate this pandemic, we expect additional updates and we will be certain to communicate any changes in expectation to you.
Our priority is to ensure our staff and students work and learn in an engaging, safe, and healthy environment. We cannot wait to welcome everyone back to school.
We look forward to seeing our students soon! Look for additional building-level return information from your student’s principal in the coming days.
In service to our children,
Indian Hill School District
Posted August 3, 2021