November 20, 2020
Dear North Royalton Community,
The holiday season is upon us, and usually in the North Royalton City Schools it is a time filled with great joy. From plays and concerts to simply enjoying the spirit and excitement of the students, it is a time that we all look forward to. Unfortunately, that has changed for all of us in the schools and in the community this year. As I have communicated with you, our goal is to bring our students into the classrooms for their instruction. Our revised plan prepared us to do just that beginning on November 30 if conditions allow for that.
With this being said, the rate for COVID-19 positive cases in Cuyahoga County has taken a drastic turn for the worse. We have gone from 50 cases a day per 100,000 on October 1 to 645 as of yesterday's reporting. Cases in our zip codes have also increased. On October 2, there were 362 reported cases in the 44133 zip code area and 183 in the 44147 area. As of yesterday as reported on the Ohio Covid Dashboard, there are 760 cases in 44133 and 420 in 44147. In addition, as you are aware, Cuyahoga County issued a stay at home advisory and recommended that schools return to remote learning.
North Royalton City Schools has been fortunate to not have a large number of positive cases in the buildings over the past several weeks because we have been in the remote phase. However, we still have seen the number of cases in our community and surrounding area increase significantly over the past few weeks resulting in more quarantines. With this high rate of transmission taking place, there is a concern the rate will accelerate over Thanksgiving break. Health officials have seen a spike after other holidays when people get together and that was during a time when we had a lower transmission rate in the area. We have seen many districts around us unable to sustain in-person learning because of the high number of student and staff cases as well as the unavailability of substitutes. There is no reason to believe that if we returned to in-person learning after Thanksgiving break that we would not experience the same rise in cases and the inability to staff our classrooms at the appropriate levels.
Based on all of these factors and the health department’s recommendation, North Royalton City Schools will remain in remote learning through the end of the first semester on January 7. The reason to extend this through the end of the semester is to allow K-8 students who are changing learning options to complete the semester with their current teachers. For our students in the preschool and special needs units, your instruction and services will remain unchanged at this time. We will continue to monitor data and information from health officials to make decisions if it is safe to bring our students back on January 11 in a hybrid or all-in model. I know this is not what all of us had hoped for, but we need to stay unified through these very challenging and ever-changing times for the safety of our students, staff and community.