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Hilliard School Board Could Use Local Data To Partially Reopen Classrooms

Avery Elementary School in Hilliard on May 11, 2020.
Ryan Hitchcock
Avery Elementary School in Hilliard on May 11, 2020.

Hilliard Schools could start using local data to determine if adjustments need to be made to reopening schools, as well as to track potential outbreaks within buildings, grades or classes.

The district’s school board voted unanimously on Monday to consider local data if the only indicator keeping the district from further reopening schools is the number of cases per 100,000 people in Franklin County.

Hilliard Schools superintendent John Marschhausen said considering local data will keep the district from being impacted if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on Ohio State University’s campus, which resumes classes th is week.

The district is partnering with the Ohio State University College of Public Health, Franklin County Public Health, Columbus Public Health and the state health department on a pilot project to track district-level data. That project is called the COVID-19 Analytics & Targeted School Surveillance Project.

The board voted on Monday night to move all grades into hybrid learning starting on Monday, August 31 if Franklin County moves down to a level-two on the Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System. A decision will be made by Thursday at 5 p.m. Remaining grades would move to hybrid learning on September 8.

Franklin County, where Hilliard sits, is currently ranked as a level-three public health emergency under Ohio's system, which indicates "very high" levels of COVID-19 spread.

The board says it will meet weekly to monitor local data, and that individual classes, grade-levels, buildings, or the entire district may be moved back to e-learning due to COVID risk. The district will track symptoms and other indicators in an effort to stay ahead of a potential outbreak. That could include shifting a school building, grade-level or class to virtual learning for 14 days.

"Any confirmed positive COVID-19 cases will trigger an immediate health team meeting to evaluate building conditions and plan an appropriate response recommended by the health team," the agenda reads. 

Updated: August 25, 2020, 6:47 a.m.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported, grades K-5 would move to hybrid learning on August 31, while grages 6-12 would go hybrid on September 8.

Nick Houser leads the digital media team and oversees all things digital, including wosu.org, digital content, the WOSU Public Media Mobile App, social media, enewsletters, podcasts and on-demand video.