July 31, 2020

Dear Independence Local Schools' Families,

I hope this update finds you well.  I assume your family is deep in thought and discussion, as we plan and refine our opening details of the 2020-21 school year. We are excited to return back to school and engage in learning experiences with our students. 

As you may have heard, just yesterday our Cuyahoga County Board of Health recommended schools start the year in a remote setting.  As I share this plan with you, I hope that you will realize that any and all of our plans must remain flexible and government agencies may determine a switch from in-person to remote at a moment’s notice.  Our Board of Education is meeting next week to discuss our planning and educational options with these new updates.  Everyone involved in the conversations wants our students back in school.  We want our kids engaged in great opportunities.  As we, the educational decision-makers, process the medical guidelines and mandates, we strongly desire to have the best experiences possible for our kids while following the medical mandates.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to look at education through a different lens while trying to provide a quality learning experience. Although we are eager to return to school as we once knew it, there are some safety stipulations put in place designed to protect our students and staff. 

In this email, you will find a document that represents our plan and intended practices for the return to school. Some of these practices are specifically related to Covid-19 and others are simply better approaches to what we have done in the past. Utilizing the information we have received from state and federal guidelines, local experts, and discussion from within our own organization, we have created a plan that is expected to be a working, fluid document while we continue to learn about what is safe and considered best practice.

If we pivot to remote learning for an extended time, before the year begins, we will operate with one option for all students:  A distance learning model with our Independence Local Schools’ staff teaching lessons for all students .   Once we are able to return to school, a survey would be sent to gauge choices in the delivery model (In-person Instruction or IPride Academy) along with transportation questions.  In the meantime, below represents what would appear if further restrictions aren’t put on our school.

For the 2020-21 school year, the Independence Local Schools will offer two educational products for students K-12. 

In-Person Instruction (may pivot to remote learning based on infections)

IPride Academy (all-virtual model)

Our In-Person Instruction will be as close to our typical school day/week/year as possible while meeting district, county and state health and safety standards.

The IPride Academy will feature an all-online curriculum, facilitated by Independence Local Schools teachers. Consider this a different school in our district.

CLICK HERE for Reopening Plan Highlights.

A more comprehensive Reopening Plan Guidelines & Protocols Manual can be found on our district website.

Next week, we will be meeting with our administrative team and Board of Education to discuss the Cuyahoga County Department of Health’s recommendation to begin the year remotely.  We will keep you informed of our conversations and decisions on any adjustments to our reopening plan.  We will also be seeking your input on your desire for educational options for your student(s).  We appreciate your patience as we all work to keep our students and staff safe.


Ben Hegedish
Independence Local Schools
Independence Local Schools | www.independence.k12.oh.us