Hudson City School District will continue hybrid approach to student learning

Summit County now in higher COVID-19 risk designation, but Hudson schools will stay with same plan; District sets up case information on website

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
Although Summit County is now in a higher COVID-19 risk designation, Hudson City School officials said they will continue with the same student learning plan that has been in place for two weeks. The district this week also released its COVID-19 data dashboard. The website feature lists the number of students and staff members in each district building who have tested positive for COVID-19.

HUDSON — Although Summit County has moved into a more severe coronavirus risk designation, the city school district will continue with its hybrid approach to student learning.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday, Sept. 10, announced that Summit County moved from Level 2 (orange) to Level 3 (red) in the state's color-coded, four-tier Ohio Public Health Advisory System. At Level 3, residents are asked to limit activities as much as possible, decrease in-person interactions with others, consider necessary travel only and limit attending gatherings of any number.

District Superintendent Phil Herman told the Board of Education on Thursday that the district would remain in its hybrid set-up, where students are attending classes in the building for part of the week and then taking online courses for the other portion of the week. The 2020-21 school year started on Aug. 31. Students also had the option of taking classes exclusively online.

"The Hybrid Learning model has been the [district]'s designated model for a risk level of red since the Hudson Ready plan was implemented," stated Hudson City School District spokesperson Sheryl Sheatzley.

Herman noted the Hudson Ready plan also states the district would switch into a fully online curriculum if the county was placed in the Level 4 (or purple) category, which is the most serious coronavirus risk level designation in the four-tier system. He added online only could also be implemented if "we had concerns about the level of spread within the school district or if the absences from students or staff came to the point where there were concerns about us being open."

Sheatzley said Herman told the board that it would have to be flexible if adjustments are needed at specific buildings.

Dashboard notification system set up, reporting 

The school district has set up a data dashboard system on its website listing the number of positive COVID-19 cases it has in each building and the amount of people from each building who have been quarantined.

The information can be accessed by going to the district's website at https://www.hudson.k12.oh.us/, clicking on "Hudson Ready Plan" and then clicking on "COVID-19 Reporting."

Sheatzley said the dashboard system went live on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and noted the district will update the listing every time they receive verification of a positive COVID-19 case in the district. DeWine recently issued an order saying school districts should report confirmed positive COVID-19 cases to district families within 24 hours of receiving the information. Sheatzley said updates about positive COVID-19 cases will "always" occur within that 24-hour period.

As of Sunday, Sept. 13, there were seven confirmed positive COVID-19 cases among students, according to the dashboard on the district's website. The amount in each building was: Ellsworth Hill Elementary School, one; Evamere Elementary, zero; East Woods Intermediate, one; Hudson Middle School, one; and Hudson High School, four.

As of Sept. 13, there were two staff members — an employee at Evamere and an employee at the high school — who had confirmed cases of COVID-19.

There were 12 high school students who were quarantined, but are now back taking classes, according to Sheatzley. Those students had participated in the same activity with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, Sheatzley said.

"So far, we have not had school spread," said Sheatzley.

Herman told the board that "none of those [eight positive COVID-19 cases] to this point have been in-school spread."

Information in the tables

Currently there are two tables on the website with COVID-19 information on them. One has a September heading and a second table will keep a cumulative total for the school year. Sheatzley said another table will be created for each subsequent month during the school year.

The tables list the number of confirmed cases of students testing positive for COVID-19 and the amount of confirmed cases of staff members testing positive for the virus. The numbers for each of those groups are shown for each of the district's five buildings. The tables also list the number of people who are quarantined.

There is also a line in the table listing "district" in the building column. This line will list information about COVID-19 cases involving "central office personnel and there may be others added who are not attached or assigned to a specific building," stated Sheatzley.

Sheatzley also said the district would soon list the overall number of district employees and students to "give people some perspective." There are about 700 employees and nearly 4,700 students in the school district.

How the notification process will work

Sheatzley noted that having the dashboard system replaces the emails that were being sent to every district family about each newly confirmed positive COVID-19 case.

She also said the following notification process has been set up:

1. Parents who have children in the same building where a person has a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be notified. Staff in the same building will also be notified.

2. Parents who have children in the same classroom as a student who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be notified. Staff in the same classroom will also be notified.

3. Parents who have children in the same activity as a student who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be notified. Staff will also be notified.

4. Parents who have children on the same bus as a student who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be notified. Bus staff will also be notified.

The notifications described above will occur through an email, Sheatzley said.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.