- Hamilton STEM Academy
Welcome Back - Important Information for CCS Families and Staff
Dear CCS Families and Staff,
I hope that you had a restful, healthy, and safe Winter Break. I am looking forward to our students, teachers, and staff returning on Monday, January 3.
We are planning a full return of in-person learning, but as we prepare for the New Year, we are monitoring the omicron variant closely and how it is affecting the COVID data in our community. We are in close contact with Columbus Public Health, along with our district medical consultant, Dr. Sara Bode of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
I recognize that the surge from the newest variant is causing unease and fear in many people. Please know that we are listening to the advice of the public health experts in our community and will follow their guidance accordingly.
As we prepare to return to our classrooms next week, here are some helpful resources and information for our families and staff to know.
Updated COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine Guidance
Columbus City Schools has adopted the newest guidance from the CDC regarding COVID-19 isolation and quarantine procedures, following the recommendation of Columbus Public Health. Learn more about the updated CDC guidance here.
- If You Test Positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, everyone should isolate for 5 days.
- If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your home and return to school/work as long as you continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
- Previously, the CDC recommended an isolation period of 10 days.
- If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19, your vaccination status (including whether you have received a booster shot) will determine the need to quarantine and test. Click here for additional details from the CDC.
For any in-school exposures, we are continuing to follow the current Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Mask to Stay/Test to Play guidelines. Students who have an in-school exposure and are asymptomatic can continue to remain in class while wearing a mask and closely monitoring for symptoms.
If you are having symptoms of COVID-19, you are strongly encouraged to take a COVID test. While the at-home test kits are in short supply in our area, there are providers who are administering PCR tests. Check the Ohio Department of Health website to find a PCR test provider.
CCS has a very limited supply of at-home COVID test kits remaining. We expect to receive a new shipment of the kits next week and will provide more information on the availability of the kits at that time.
CCS COVID Reporting Hotline
If you are a CCS employee or a parent of a student that has tested positive or has had a confirmed community exposure, here’s how to report an exposure or positive case to CCS:
- Call the CCS COVID-19 Reporting Hotline at 614-365-5544 and leave a message with the requested information; OR
- Email your positive COVID-19 test results to the District Administrative Contact Tracers at AdminContactTracing@columbus.k12.oh.us.
- A CCS Contact Tracer will return your call or email to provide further guidance.
- A positive test result should always be reported to your healthcare provider as well.
Our best defense against COVID-19 is the safe and effective vaccines that are widely available. I encourage everyone in our CCS community to get vaccinated. And if you are already vaccinated, be sure to take the time to get your booster shot!
As a reminder, next week we will hold the second round of our dedicated COVID-19 vaccination clinics for eligible students ages 5-11 who received their first dose in December. The clinics will be held at CCS elementary and middle schools during regular school hours.
We continue to require all students, staff, and visitors to wear a mask indoors at all CCS buildings. For the greatest effectiveness against the airborne virus, it is important to always wear a mask properly so that it covers your mouth and nose.
Preparing for a Shift to Remote Learning
From seeing other school districts locally and across the state shift to remote learning due to staffing shortages, we know that it is a possibility for CCS. If we see a shortage of teachers or substitutes to cover classes or a shortage of bus drivers to safely transport students, we would make the temporary shift to remote learning for the affected schools.
While we would make every effort to notify staff and families ahead of time as soon as possible, these shifts can happen abruptly. I encourage all students, teachers, and staff to take their devices and technology home with them every night. Or, I encourage you to have a plan for how you would adjust to remote learning.
We hope that it does not come to this for any of our schools, but we are planning just in case.
Staff Absence Reporting
Our preparations depend on having a clear understanding of our staffing levels on school days. If you are a staff member who is feeling ill, I encourage you to notify your supervisor or submit your absence request as soon as possible. The earlier we know about absences, the better we can prepare and serve our students.
I look forward to starting the New Year strong and seeing our students and staff back in the classroom on Monday, January 3, 2022.
Superintendent/CEO, Columbus City Schools