Responsible Reopening Update for September 25, 2020
September 25, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians:
As we close out week five of the 2020-2021 school year, I am reminded of the words of author Greg Kincaid who said, “No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That's the only way to keep the roads clear.”
So much has fallen on us as a community, a school district, and a nation. Yet, we keep plowing ahead and together, we keep the roads clear for our students to experience the support and success that they deserve.
I write today to provide the following important updates regarding our schools:
As a reminder, athletic events will continue to be livestreamed on the TKDS Sports Network via the District Facebook page and our District YouTube Channel. In addition, TKDS offers upgraded viewing for games via a subscription service found here.
In order to better serve our OnCourse virtual learning students, and any other SCSD student that is virtually learning due to quarantine, or studying at-home only and is in need of meals, the District added additional Food Distribution locations:
Distribution time is from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM each Wednesday at the following locations:
- Hayward Middle School
- Schaefer Middle School
- The Service Center beside Springfield High School
- Snyder Park Elementary
- The School of Innovation
The Springfield City School District believes the responsibility for student success is shared broadly by District staff, administrators, instructors, communities, and families. Further, every student in the District has the right to have an equitable educational experience. To that end and to help close the learning gap, I am proud to announce that the District purchased 4,500 Verizon Hotspots to provide free and reliable internet access to our deserving students.
During the week of September 28, our District schools will begin to provide one Verizon Hotspot per household. The youngest student in a household will bring home the device for your family. Students will be provided with an instructional video and additional helpful tips for use of the new equipment. As always, the Technology Hotline will be staffed and ready to take any calls to assist in the process.
Regular attendance at school is one of the most important parts of your child's education, since classroom instruction cannot take place if the child is not at school. Poor attendance patterns in the elementary grades frequently continue through middle school, high school, and eventually employment. In recent weeks, the District is tracking an alarming number of student absences for both virtual and in person learning.
The statutes governing school attendance are very specific and leave little option for school authorities to excuse children from attendance at school. The Ohio Administrative Code and the Springfield City School policy and regulations classify absence from school as excused or unexcused. The following conditions constitute reasons for an excused absence from school: (1) needed at home to perform necessary work directly and exclusively for parents or legal guardians for a limited period of time when approved by the Superintendent (applies to students over 14 years of age only); (2) death in the family (applies to absences of up to 18 school hours unless a reasonable cause may be shown for a longer absence); (3) observance of religious holidays consistent with a student’s truly held religious belief; (4) traveling out of state to attend a Board-approved enrichment activity or extracurricular activity (applies to absences of up to 24 school hours); (5) college visitation; (6) absences due to a student’s placement in foster care or change in foster care placement or any court proceedings related to their foster care status; (7) absences due to a student being homeless; or (8) temporary internet outage for individual students or households; (9) technical difficulties for individual students or households occurring at inopportune times such as during a teacher-led remote learning lesson; (10) absences due to COVID-19 reasons that are not considered medically excused until alternative arrangements can be made.
An illegal absence or truancy from school shall be defined as any student absence for which school officials cannot verify a legal reason for the absence, by means of credible student or parental statements, oral or written and/or investigations by school officials. School authorities shall classify any student absence about which no credible information from parents/guardian has been received as an illegal truancy and will pursue all means necessary to help return the student to school.
Schools within the Springfield City School District, in conjunction with the Clark County Common Pleas Court, recognize that good attendance and appropriate student behavior are not only keys to a child's academic success, but mandated by law. If a child has excessive absences in a grading period without a doctor's written approval, a mediator may be called in to help resolve the problem.
Staff members in the Springfield City School District view court mediation as a way to establish a working relationship, where it has not been successful through other means, in which both home and school unite to solve concerns for children. It is not intended to be of a punitive nature and the primary goal is to work with the parents to find ways to improve attendance or behavior matters. Through this structured format, communication can be enhanced and a true partnership can be developed. Children have the best chance for success when parents and the school are working together to accomplish the same goals.
Recognizing the importance of student attendance as it relates to overall student success, I ask our families to help us be a part of the solution to ensure consistent student attendance at school. In reality, students should be in school for 95% of the school year to achieve optimal academic gains and to help close the achievement gap.
As a reminder, the updated active working draft of the SCSD Responsible Reopening Plan can be accessed here for your reference and I encourage you to frequently visit our Responsible Reopening page here for updates.
Keep plowing ahead Springfield and I promise you that we will do our best to keep the road to student success clear!
Robert F. Hill, Ed.D.