Video Summary and Other Information:
We hope this message finds you and your family doing well. Since February, we have constantly been following developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our community. Mentor Schools operates with the number one goal of providing a safe learning environment where students can grow academically, socially and emotionally. We are making some adjustments to our learning plans to ensure we continue to be able to meet that goal.
All Schools Shift to Fully Remote Learning
Beginning Monday, November 23 through at least December 4
Over the last couple of weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases we have seen in the district is climbing rapidly and is concerning. As a result, we are going to shift to fully remote learning for all students beginning Monday, November 23 through at least December 4. That means this Friday, November 20 will be the last day for in-person learning for K-8 students and Thursday, November 19 will be the last day for Integrated Preschool students. This is an extension for the high school from our previous announcement.
Since our last video, COVID conditions in our community have continued to move in the wrong direction. In a matter of weeks, Lake County went from being a county with one of the lowest cases per capita (39/100,000) to one of the highest in the state (982/100,000). This is an alarming increase. In fact, Mentor --- the 44060 zip code, specifically --- is currently the worst in the state with the highest COVID-19 incidence rate over the last two weeks when the data is broken down into zip codes. This explains what we’re seeing in our schools. We have dozens of staff members and hundreds of students in quarantine due to their exposure to a COVID-19 positive person - exposures happening more often from outside of school, but also some quarantines have happened from in school school activities. As you know, we’ve seen daily reports of students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 as well. A lot of times, with these confirmed cases, there’s another connection to someone else in the Mentor Schools community, too, such as a sibling or parent or spouse. Even though we believe the mitigation strategies we’ve implemented in our schools are working very well, we can’t control what is happening outside of school, and that is affecting us greatly. The risk of people bringing the virus into our schools is just too high right now.
NEW Remote Learning Schedule for ALL Middle and High School Students (M, T & TH, F)
The middle and high schools will now follow a block schedule. This is for ALL secondary students, even those who had previously committed to fully online learning. Here is a link to view the new schedule:
NEW Remote Learning Schedule for ALL Elementary School Students (M, T & TH, F)
The schedule for remote learning will be much more structured than what you experienced in the spring, much like our Remote Wednesdays. Here is a link to view the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday schedule.
Remote Wednesdays Schedule - Districtwide Remains the Same
The schedule for Wednesdays remains the same as it has been all year thus far across the district.
CARES & Integrated Preschool
Please look for information from your schools and teachers regarding the Remote Learning schedule for students.
Another factor that impacts us is staffing. Between Covid cases, quarantines, and other illnesses, we have had significant staffing shortages, which affect our ability to remain open.
Concerns for the Medical Community
The Lake County General Health District has shared with us that hospitals are nearing capacity now and staffing shortages, like we’re seeing in the schools, are also jeopardizing our medical community. That’s an unsettling thought. Mentor Schools has to do its part right now to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Comments Directly from the Lake County General Health District
As you are likely aware, on October 22, 2020, Lake County reached Risk Level 3, or Red Alert Level, on Ohio’s COVID-19 Public Health Advisory System. As COVID-19 cases continue to increase and spread throughout the community, largely outside of non-congregate settings such as nursing homes, we must consider that it may only be a short matter of time before ER visits, hospital admissions, and the percentage of ICU beds occupied also increase to a level causing us to reach Risk Level 4, or Purple Alert Level, which is the highest alert level. The Ohio Department of Health characterizes counties reaching the Purple Alert Level as experiencing severe exposure and spread, and recommends that residents only leave home for supplies and services.
While the alert levels do fluctuate, and reaching Risk Level 4 will not represent a reason for panic, Lake County has been steadily moving in the “wrong direction” over the past month. Therefore, whether or not we reach Risk Level 4, there is a need to call upon all individuals in our communities to strengthen their resolve in adhering to the appropriate public health protection measures that have been communicated throughout the course of the pandemic. Lake County General Health District is committed to balancing public health best practices with the ability to keep schools in session, businesses open, and the county’s economy moving forward, and thus urge you consider the following best practices.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all who are not a member of the same household.
- Wear a mask (properly covering the mouth and nose) when in public and with friends and family.
- Increase caution when interacting with others not practicing social distancing or wearing masks.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer frequently when handwashing is not available/practical.
- Avoid touching the face, and cover coughs and sneezes into the elbow or a tissue.
- Conduct daily health/symptom self-evaluations and stay home if not well.
Help Us Re-Open
We know that our schools will reflect what is happening in the greater community when it comes to coronavirus cases among our students and staff. Please help us re-open by avoiding large gatherings and taking all of the COVID-19 precautions listed above seriously when you have to be out in public to limit the spread of the virus in our community. Stay home whenever possible.
Vigilantly Assess for Symptoms & Flow Chart
Every day we all need to vigilantly assess for symptoms and stay home when sick, wear a mask, and practice physical distancing and proper hand hygiene. Symptoms of COVID-19, according to the Ohio Health Department, are:
Fever or Chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New Loss of Taste and/or Smell
Congestion or runny nose
GI Issues (nausea, vomiting or diarrhea)
Dashboard and Cases Information - Transparent Communication
It still appears that most of the cases of COVID-19 positive cases reported to us regarding students and staff are being contracted outside of school and that our serious, layered approach to safety is working to limit the spread of the virus inside of our schools. As you know, we have committed to sending information about positive cases of COVID-19 that we are made aware of district-wide so you are informed about what is happening across our school community. This information is shared with you every time it is reported to us that either a staff member or student has tested positive for COVID-19. All of these notifications are then posted on our website at mentorschools.net/coronavirus, under the COVID-19 CASES tab. We also keep a dashboard where you can view current information building by building or district-wide.
Meal Distribution Program
We continue to pass out grab-and-go style meals at no cost for ALL students via USDA funding. Pickup happens on Mondays and Wednesdays at various locations across the district. You can pickup from whichever location is most convenient for you.
- Mentor High School (Side Door Fine Arts Center)
- 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
- Memorial Middle School (East Side, Door #17)
- 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
- Shore Middle School (South Side, Door #1)
- 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
- Ridge Elementary School (Back, Door #9)
- 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Please contact Ginni Vaccaro at Vaccaro@mentorschools.org or (440)974-5227 with any questions.
**** PLEASE NOTE: For Thanksgiving week, we will move the pickup to TUESDAY, November 24 and it will only be at Mentor High School from 9 a.m. - Noon.
- If students need support with their online learning or a specific assignment, please first contact the teacher and then a building administrator, if needed.
- If students need support from our IT Department for help with their devices, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second Semester Learning Choice
The deadline to indicate a CHANGE for your child’s learning plan is December 2 via the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. The notice was sent to parents and guardians of all eligible students. If you are not making a change to your child’s current enrollment status, you do NOT need to do anything. ALL children (both in-person and online) will continue in their current enrollment automatically. Even if you only chose the one-semester commitment for Mentor Schools Online in the summer, you do not need to fill out the form unless you are switching to in-person schooling. All current Mentor Schools Online students will stay Mentor Schools Online students, unless this form is filled out to indicate the choice for in-person learning.
In-Person Extracurricular Activities
We paused all in-person extracurricular activities at all levels, due to a higher potential to spread COVID-19. This includes all high school and middle school athletics, as well as musical concerts. This pause will be in place as long as our district’s and region’s Covid cases remain high.