Dear Deer Park Families -
We have had a great first two days of school here in Deer Park. It has been awesome seeing all of our students back at school and excited to learn. Unfortunately, our students are returning to school during what Governor Dewine called yesterday, “A Perfect Storm.” As all students and staff across the state return to school, the delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading across the country at an incredibly swift pace. Here in Deer Park, we are not immune.
I’ve been tracking the data daily, communicating with the local health department as well as other local health professionals. As I’ve analyzed the data in the 45236 zip code as well as in Hamilton County and within our own staff and student body, I made the decision to start the school year “strongly recommending” masking to give our students an opportunity to have as least restrictive of an education as possible. The local data, along with the fact that our students leading up to the start of school had been minimally impacted by COVID over the past month, gave me some glimmer of hope that we would be able to continue through the entirety of the school year without a mask mandate...unfortunately, this will not be the case.
Two of my top priorities are keeping our staff and students healthy while they are here at school and also keeping our kids in school with face to face instruction for the entire school year. In order for us to ensure that these two priorities are met, I’m going to be requiring all staff, students, and visitors from preschool through 12th grade to wear a mask while they are indoors at school. This requirement will begin tomorrow, Thursday, August 19, 2021.
At this time, this is the most responsible decision to make to ensure that our students can stay in school learning with face to face instruction while also being able to participate in all the extracurriculars after the school day that are so important to a child’s educational experience. It is my hope that the number of COVID cases will begin to decrease over the coming months as the number of those eligible to get a vaccination increases. My goal for us is to get to a spot where we can once again make masks an individual choice for families and be able to safely have what we all would consider a “normal” school day without the fear of students becoming ill and without the threat of us having to send students home from school for extended periods of time because they were considered close contacts.
I would like to remind our families that if your child is exhibiting any symptoms of COVID — fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle pain or body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea - please keep your child home and take them to see your family pediatrician.
I want to thank all of our families for your flexibility and for your trust in us to keep your children safe while they are here at school. This isn’t a responsibility that we take lightly and we will continue to strive to make the best decisions possible for all of our students and staff.