GALA COVID-19 Update #1 (June 30, 2020)

Dear GALA Families and Staff,

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt life for all of us.

Thank you to everyone that has recently showed support to GALA in the last two months, through supporting our unGala for GALA virtual fundraiser event that raised more than $15,000, participating in our last day of school non-field day parade, sending caring and supportive reactions to our letter to the community addressing Black Lives Matter, and celebrating Juneteenth by sending in recordings singing Lift Every Voice and Singall during a global pandemic.  I am incredibly proud of our family and student resilience, but most of all our educators’ resilience and dedication to our students and community.  Thank you for your patience, as we are aware many of you have been waiting for information on what next school year will look like.

A few weeks ago, GALA requested survey responses from families to collect information to guide us in our planning for returning to school in the fall. While much is still to be determined, we wanted to provide an update on the work that is underway and how we are preparing for the 2020-21 school year. In planning for the 2020-21 school year, health and safety guidelines will be followed to protect students, teachers, and everyone who works in the building and to minimize the spread of COVID-19.  The health, safety, and well-being of our students, families, and staff is our top priority and our most important decision-making criterion.

Due to the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings, we are preparing three scenario plans to possibly deliver: All Remote (virtual and paper), All In Person (shortened day), and Hybrid (combination of Remote and In Person). Drafting three plans will allow us to be prepared to deliver an effective and engaging educational experience to all of our students, and remain flexible and ready to adapt as changes may need to occur in response to circumstances outside of our control.We know the unfortunate reality is that none of these plans will satisfy every family’s needs.  However, it is our hope and intent to develop the best plan that GALA can offer to serve the majority of our families, and provide a high quality and meaningful experience for our students while keeping everyone safe.

It is expected that Governor DeWine will announce a strategy for reopening schools in Ohio by the end of this week, Friday, July 3, including a planning guide for Ohio’s schools: Reset & Restart.  GALA will be following these guidelines as we continue to draft our three scenario plans (All Remote, All In Person, Hybrid).  Next week, we will be able to give more details on what this means for GALA.

In the meantime, here are a few helpful articles to read from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and KQED:

  • The AAP recently put out a statement strongly advocating that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The guidance covers topics including: physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection, and face covering to name a few.  Click here to read more.
  • CDC considerations and guiding principles for schools to help protect students and staff and minimize the spread of COVID-19, covers topics including: assessing risk, hygiene, cloth face coverings, cleaning and disinfection, social distancing, and food service to name a few. Click here to read more.
  • CDC Considerations for K-12 Schools Readiness and Planning Tool, click here to view. and the CDC School Decision Tree, click here to view.
  • An article from KQED: “What Parents Can Learn From Child Care Centers That Stayed Open During COVID19 Lockdowns”, click here to read.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we navigate the start to a new school year.  In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

GALA Return to School Committee

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