Parents, Students, Employees, and Community Members:
I want to share some information as well as clarifications regarding Wayne County’s recent shifting to ‘red’ on the state alert systems well as FEMA.
Wayne County ‘red’ Classification:
Wayne County has seen a spike in cases over the previous 2-week period. There have been 159 positive cases reported from Aug. 16 - Aug. 30 in Wayne County (the state website lists 104). As I understand it the bulk of these cases were residents and employees of a single Wayne County Nursing Home outbreak. Also, because the ratings are based on % of population and the fact that Wayne County is rural and our population sparse in comparison to many counties this has resulted in has resulted in Wayne County going red in the Public Health Advisory System as of today – in spite of the fact that Wayne County only met 4 of the 7 criteria for the red rating. Wayne County Health Commissioner Nick Cascarelli is hopeful that this is an anomaly. There have been other rural counties in the same situation from time to time. Attached is a news release related to this. Nick shared that he was on a call with the Governor earlier in the week and several County Health Commissioners requested that the required reporting of cases from schools in the new order not be cumbersome for either the schools or the local health departments.
Center for Disease Control & FEMA:
There was an Ohio order recently (see attached) requiring K-12 schools to report any COVID cases of students or employees. At this time Northwestern has ‘zero’. We will, of course, follow the order as far as informing parents. It aligns with our existing plan. Unfortunately, the Center for Disease Control recently updated their website with a comment advising parents to prepare for a ‘sudden sleepover’ for their children, in case of a disaster or major outbreak. Their statement should be taken in context, since such a scenario is very, very unlikely. However, know that we are prepared for such an event, should it occur. Also, parents, know that you as custodial parent or an individual listed on your student’s Emergency Medical Authorization always have the discretion to come get your child, as is your right. Finally, for everyone’s knowledge, Northwestern School Buildings have been designated disaster shelters during my 16 years here (as are many school buildings in Ohio) – due to our ample space, self-sustainability, back-up generators, self-contained water and sewer, and safety protocols. Please do not panic or over-react by the Center for Disease Control statements.
As far as Northwestern is concerned, at this time we are not planning any changes to the policies, safety practices, and safeguards we have been working under. I remain in direct contact with Health Dept. Commissioner Nick Cascarelli, Director of Wayne County Emergency Management Joe Villegas – and we continue monitoring COVID as well as any potential emergency situation. I have direct communications with Nick, Joe, as well as the Department of Education, area superintendents, and Governor DeWine’s office. At Northwestern our practices and priority remain the safety of our students, employees, and members of our community.
Please review the attachments for more information.
Thank you for your support of our efforts.
Jeffrey N. Layton, Ed.D.
Northwestern Local Schools