Mentor Schools families and staff,
I hope this message finds you and your family doing well. Today, with the support and guidance of Lake County’s Health Commissioner Ron Graham, we are making the decision to extend fully remote learning districtwide through January 8th. That means we would aim for a return to our in-person Hybrid model on Monday, January 11th.
As you know, Lake County reached the purple alert level of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System this past week, indicating severe exposure and spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Reaching the purple level also indicates a sustained increase in Covid-related hospital admissions in the region, which is putting a strain on keeping our hospitals staffed and equipped properly.
What has proven to be true since the beginning of the school year is our schools will reflect what is happening in our greater community when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases that arise. The Lake County General Health District is recommending people stay home as much as possible and avoid large gatherings among other advisories. We hope you will do everything you and your family can to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as we can all work together toward improving conditions so we can re-open our schools for in-person learning following the holidays.
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST AND HELPFUL INFORMATION THAT CAN BE FOUND ON OUR WEBSITE:
Fully Remote Learning to Continue into January
The number of COVID-19 cases we are seeing in the community and the district continues to be concerning. Students will continue in remote learning until at least January 11, 2021.
COVID conditions in our community continue to trend 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 then 1,121/100,000). This is an alarming increase. We have many staff members and 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 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 work 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.
Continue to Report COVID-19 Cases
We are trained to assist the Lake County General Health District in helping to contact trace COVID-19 cases. As a reminder, even though we are in district-wide fully remote learning, please continue to report cases of COVID-19 to us so we have an accurate picture of what is happening in our community, especially among our students and staff, as we work to make the best decisions about learning in the interest of safety. If your child tests positive for COVID-19 or is ordered to quarantine, please contact us via email at [email protected] or phone at (440)974-5222. You can also contact your child’s school office.
Remote Learning Schedule for ALL Middle and High School Students (M, T & TH, F)
The middle and high schools are following 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:
Remote Learning Schedule for ALL Elementary School Students (M, T & TH, F)
The schedule for remote learning is 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.
Social & Emotional Supports
Please assist us in monitoring the impact remote learning has on students’ mental health and wellness. We will continue to offer all of our support programs for students. Please reach out if you need anything - whether it’s contacting a teacher, a school counselor, or a principal -- we’re all here to help!
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
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 are out in public to limit the spread of the virus in our community.
Vigilantly Assess for Symptoms
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
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 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 [email protected] or (440)974-5227 with any questions.
- 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 [email protected].
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 the 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.
Call 211 Service211 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects people of all ages and from all communities to the essential health and human services they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 211 can be accessed by phone or computer.