Dear Deer Park Families:
We hope that all of you are enjoying the final full week of summer break by spending time with family and friends and making memories that will last a lifetime. We know the past 17 months battling the COVID pandemic while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy such as attending school and work has been a challenge to say the least. However, I’m proud of how our students and staff have persevered and have continued teaching, learning, playing sports, competing in band competitions, and reimagining how many of these things look in creative and outside of the box ways.
As we look to a new school year, we once again see an uptick in COVID cases across our state, the country, and the world. Our #1 priority in Deer Park has been and will always be staff and student safety. Another top priority heading into the 2021/2022 school year is keeping students in school receiving face to face instruction throughout the entirety of the school year.
I want to say thank you to the many parents and community members that have shared their perspectives both personally and professionally and that represent all sides of how best to start our school year. Your thoughts and opinions have been heard and are respected. Understanding that we must remain flexible and fluid to the ever changing data, below are the protocols that Deer Park Schools will be utilizing based on the recommendations and requirements from Hamilton County Public Health (HCPH), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) , and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Facial Coverings / Masks
Per the CDC and HCPH, Deer Park Community City School District is strongly recommending universal indoor masking by all students and staff. Studies have shown that individuals continuously wearing masks may reduce their risk of acquiring infection by more than 70 percent during high risk exposures compared to those who did not wear their masks under the same circumstances. Per CDC and public transportation guidelines, all students on school buses are required to wear masks while being transported on a school bus and on extracurricular trips or school vans.
Vaccinations & COVID-19 Protocols
- Vaccinations are encouraged as an effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect yourself. Vaccines are not required and vaccination status will be voluntary as needed for contact tracing.
- Parents should monitor their child for signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and do a wellness check prior to sending their child to school. Students who are ill, have a temperature, or are feeling sick should not be sent to school.
- Deer Park Schools does not order quarantines or isolations, but we are required by HCPH to report and assist HCPH in contact tracing.
- Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate at home for at least 10 days from symptom onset or from the date of a positive test if no symptoms are present.
- Incidences of being identified as a close contact and in-turn being required to quarantine can be reduced by getting vaccinated or wearing a mask. Click the link below to see detailed guidance on who will and will not have to quarantine based on possible scenarios:
- Students and staff are expected to practice personal health hygiene including appropriately covering a cough, frequently washing their hands and maintaining 3-foot social distance when practical.
- Cleaning protocols and regular disinfecting and wiping down of surfaces will continue.
- Ventilation settings will continue to circulate outside air. The district has purchased Medify MA-40 air purification systems with H-13 HEPA filters for every classroom and each cafeteria.
It is worth reiterating again the importance of being able to adjust and adapt as needed. While we are starting the year strongly recommending everyone to wear masks, that recommendation may quickly turn into a requirement based on the data that represents what is happening from a COVID standpoint within our school buildings. We will continue to monitor our local conditions and data in partnership with our local health officials and will update protocols as needed. We are looking forward to welcoming your children in a safe environment with the start of school next Tuesday!
Superintendent, Deer Park Schools
Inspiring & Empowering Lifelong Success!