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    All district facilities (including athletics) are closed until May 1.

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Important Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Have Questions About Coronavirus?
Ohio Department of Health Now Offering Call Center

The call center will be open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

The Ohio Department of Health has announced that it has opened a call center to answer the increasing amount of questions about COVID-19 coronavirus.  Call center staff includes licensed nurses and infectious disease experts. They will be available to answer questions and provide accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public and the state’s response.

Parent Communication: 3/31/2020
Distribution of School Lunches During Closure

Dear Highland Families,

The Highland School District will begin distribution of student lunches during the extended school closure period in Ohio (April 6 through May 1). With the Governor’s current mandatory "Stay at Home'' order, and in an effort to keep our staff members safe, we will be offering school lunch meal “pick-up” on a weekly distribution.

Households who are currently on the lunch program can receive a weekly allotment of their child's school lunches, once a week. Beginning Monday, April 6, lunches will be distributed to families for the entire week. Each lunch bag will contain 5 complete lunches. (Please note, we will not be serving lunches on weekends or scheduled holidays).

All orders must be placed by 12 p.m. on Friday preceding the upcoming week's offering OR parents may sign up for all four weeks when completing the form.  Parents must complete the following “Lunch Distribution Form” in order to receive the lunches. Please note: Lunches will not be available without pre-ordering. LUNCH DISTRIBUTION FORM   

All lunches can be picked up at the main entrance of Highland High School, 4150 Ridge Road, Medina, every Monday from 10-11 a.m.

To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we ask that parents remain in their vehicle. Volunteers will place the items in the trunk or hatchback of each vehicle.

If you have any questions or are unable to complete the form online, please leave a message with the Food Service Department at 330-239-1901, ext. 5512.


Parent Communication: 3/30/2020
Governor Extends School Closure Order Through May 1

During his press conference this afternoon, Governor DeWine announced that the current order closing Ohio school buildings will be extended through May 1, consistent with CDC guidance. 

The school district is currently working on additional information that will be communicated to all families. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through these announcements in real time. 

As students and staff return from Spring Break today, we continue with distance learning opportunities. We remind all families that each student has access to online instruction, that includes Google Classrooms and curriculum materials, through the Clever login at http://support.highlandschools.org.


Parent Communication: 3/20/2020
Parents of Elementary Students: How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus 

Author: Deborah Farmer Kris 

(Published March 6, 2020) -- Earlier this week, I overheard my kids engaged in a round of “I heard” and “Did you know?” while they were getting ready for bed.

“I heard that Margaret’s dad has it,” said my six-year-old.

“Did you know that it’s the worst sickness ever?” added my eight-year-old.

Neither statement is accurate, but they were revealing: I had thought my initial conversations with my kids about COVID-19 had been good enough. But with adults, kids at school and the news all hyper-focused on this coronavirus outbreak, my reassuring voice needed to be a little louder.

A favorite Mister Rogers’ quote ran through my mind: “Anything that's human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.”

So before lights out, we talked. I asked what they had heard about the coronavirus. We got it all out — their questions, their “I heards” and their fears. The rest of the conversation had three themes.

First, I shared age-appropriate facts and corrected misinformation. Because my kids are young, I kept it simple. “You know what it’s like to have a cold or the flu — how sometimes you get a cough or have a fever? This is kind of like that. Most people who catch this sickness stay home, rest and get all better. And we have wonderful doctors and nurses who can help people when they need it.”

Second, I reassured them that they are safe, which is the most important message my kids can hear from me. I know that they take their emotional cues from my tone. “You don’t need to worry. Right now, lots of amazing grown ups are working hard to keep people healthy. Luckily, we already know a lot about how to keep healthy!”

Third, I emphasized simple things our family can do to be “germ busters” — for all types of germs that are out there! As Harvard’s Dr. Richard Weissbourd once shared with me, kids and adults alike are “more distressed when we feel helpless and passive, and more comfortable when we are taking action.” The hygiene routines that slow the spread of the COVID-19 are the same habits that help keep us healthy all year round.

A few days after this conversation, my kids' schools closed indefinitely — and so did sports practices, playdates and a host of routine outings. Like most of the nation, my family is staying home for a while, and this brought up new questions and worries for my kids. The three themes above still apply to all our follow-up conversations, but I have added a new dimension to what our family can do to be “germ busters:” We can practice social distancing.

I explained it like this: “Germs like to travel from person to person. Have you ever noticed how kids in your class sometimes get sick at the same time? If lots of people stay home for a while, it will be hard for the Coronavirus germs to travel to new people — and that’s good news for doctors and nurses who are helping people who get sick." A few hours later, I heard my 8-year-old re-explain it this way to her kindergarten brother: “This sickness isn’t a big deal for you or for me, but we need to be germ-busters so we can protect other people — like grandma and grandpa! This is how we help.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean social distancing is going to be easy. We are planning creative ways to stay in touch with family and friends — such as “story time” with different relatives over video chat each day. I am hoping they eventually see this as a time when our community pulled together to help others, and had some fun along the way spending extra time with their family.


Parent Update: 3/19/2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I want to thank you for all that you are doing to help your children successfully transition to distance learning and online instruction. You have all done a great job helping students work through technology-related issues and providing additional support and guidance at home. We recognize that this is new for everyone and just want to say thank you for partnering with us during this unprecedented time. We are all in this together.    

Highland staff members are all currently working from home and are available to assist you and your child with any questions that may arise. We ask that you direct your questions in the following ways: 

  • Technology-Related Issues
    If you have specific questions or issues regarding Chromebooks or technology, we ask that you submit a Technology Help Ticket: http://support.highlandschools.org/hesk/.  By using the Help Ticket process, we can better serve all families. 
  • Class Assignments
    If you have specific questions or issues related to classroom assignments, please contact your child’s teacher directly via their email or their Google Classroom. Teachers are available each day to assist students and answer parent questions.
    * Please note that teachers will not provide work nor be available for office hours during the week of Spring Break (March 23-27).

I would also like to share some information and resources on how to talk to your children about COVID-19. We know that disruption to regular schedules and increased media coverage regarding this public health crisis may be causing increased anxiety. The following information may provide some guidance and assistance when speaking to children on this subject.   

I hope that you and your family are all doing well. We miss your children. 

Sincerely,
Catherine Aukerman
Superintendent


Coronavirus Communication: 3/18/2020

Dear Highland Parents and Guardians,

As the spread of the coronavirus continues across the globe, our school community is likely to be impacted by someone who has the virus or has had contact with an infected person.

As reported by the Governor and the Ohio Department of Health Director, we expect to see an increase of COVID-19 cases in Ohio, including in our school community. Due to this expected increase, we have been informed that we will not be notified of every confirmed case in our community. 

While we are not aware of any confirmed cases in our Highland school community, we have been informed that some families and staff members have either been advised to self-quarantine by medical professionals or have taken it upon themselves to self-quarantine for a variety of reasons including recent travel, possible exposure to COVID-19 or having flu-like symptoms.

While we understand that you may have questions, please be aware that if a student or staff member tested positive for COVID-19 we may not necessarily be notified of that (see above) and further, we would not be able to disclose specific, personally identifiable information due to HIPAA and FERPA laws. But again, we are currently not aware of any confirmed COVID-19 cases within our Highland school community.    

We continue to encourage families and staff members to follow the illness prevention guidelines as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to avoid being exposed to the virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.  
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when ill. Staying home prevents the spread of illness. 

If you are experiencing any health symptoms, please call your healthcare provider.  If you have questions about COVID-19, you can visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call the Ohio Department of Health hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.


Coronavirus Communication: 3/12/2020

Dear Highland Parents and Guardians,

A short time ago, Governor DeWine issued an order to close all Ohio schools for the next 3 weeks. This order is effective at the end of class on Monday, March 16.

We want to inform you that the Highland School District will remain open on Friday, March 13 so that students can receive important instructions for accessing online materials, gather their personal belongings, books and any other necessary supplies. The Highland School District will then be closed March 16 – April 3, 2020. 

Tomorrow, transportation will operate on a regular schedule for all students. 

After tomorrow, students and families will not have access to school buildings until Monday, April 6.

We appreciate your patience during this rapidly changing situation. Please visit your child's school website for any updates.


Coronavirus Communication: 3/11/2020

Dear Highland Parents and Guardians,

As a district, we continue to receive daily guidance from the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health and our local health departments. That information is monitored in real time and we continue to make decisions based on the most recent recommendations and guidance available. 

Yesterday, Governor Mike DeWine held a press conference on the coronavirus in Ohio and made recommendations to help stop its spread. Those recommendations included asking all state colleges and universities to move to remote online (outside of the classroom) classes until further notice.

In a press conference today, Governor DeWine spoke specifically about K-12 schools. 

The governor indicated that the state is not currently recommending the closure of elementary, middle and high schools; however, he stated that school administrators should begin planning for that possibility. Additionally, parents should also begin planning for the potential that they may need to stay home with their children or find alternate childcare solutions.

We would now encourage you to begin to think about and actively prepare for how your family would respond to any short-term or longer-term school closure due to COVID-19. As a school district, we have already begun planning and preparing on how to deliver appropriate online content and assignments to students, if necessary.            

In the meantime, our focus continues to be on prevention, particularly through regular cleaning, proper handwashing and cough hygiene. I am asking that you continue to emphasize and encourage basic preventive measures each day with your children and in your homes. 

As a reminder, we have included a link on our district website (homepage-quick links-coronavirus) with important information and tips for your convenience. You may access the page HERE

I would like to thank all of you for your assistance as we continue to work through this situation. We will provide additional updates, as warranted.  

Catherine Aukerman
Superintendent


Coronavirus Communication: 3/6/2020

Dear Highland Parents and Guardians,

We are encouraging our families and staff to do their part to help plan, prepare and respond to the emerging public health threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to this virus. However, as a reminder, the Ohio Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. These include: 

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Dry hands with a clean towel or air-dry hands.
    • The CDC video on proper handwashing technique can be found here: 
      What You Need to Know About Handwashing
  • Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, TV remote controls and bedside tables. Clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
  • Do not share personal items such as water bottles.

The CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks by people who are not sick to protect against respiratory diseases. Only people who have symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent spread of the virus should wear facemasks, as well as health care workers and others taking care of someone in a close setting.

We have included a link on our district website (homepage-quick links-coronavirus) with important information and tips. You may access the page HERE.

We will continue to communicate with you and offer additional information as needed.


Coronavirus Communication: 3/4/2020
Dear Highland Parents and Guardians,

With the elevated discussion regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we would like to take this opportunity to reinforce preventive safety measures and remind families that everyone plays an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.

As a school district, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking guidance from the Medina County Health Department, the Ohio Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of today, there are 137 confirmed cases in the United States, with no confirmed cases in Ohio. Currently, there is no recommendation to close schools.

According to the CDC, the virus spreads via person-to-person contact through contaminated air droplets from coughing and sneezing by an infected person. As with controlling the spread of other viruses, we urge our students, staff and families to be mindful of key preventive measures. The CDC offers some tips on its website that can be useful in avoiding the spread of this and other illnesses, including the importance of frequent handwashing, universal precautions for preventing illnesses and keeping students home when they are ill. 

Please remember that if your child is sick, he/she should not be at school. Students need to be fever-free for 24 hours without medication before returning to class after any illness. Refer to the health guidelines outlined in your child’s student handbook, located on our district website. Keeping children home when they are sick is critical to prevention. 

We realize COVID-19 is likely to spread in the coming weeks and may have an effect on daily routines in our community, our schools and businesses. Our administration and staff are reviewing our plan for the continuity of teaching and learning in the event schools are to close due to community spread of the virus. Additionally, we remain vigilant on all cleaning protocols.

As always, the health, safety and well-being of our students and staff remain our top priorities.

We will continue to communicate additional information in the days ahead.