News - Avon Lake City Schools Update

Published on

July 2, 2020

Dear Avon Lake City Schools Community,

The 2019-2020 school year was not what any of us expected.  The COVID-19 crisis turned “normal” into anything but normal.  Since the March 16th mandated school shutdown, “normal” continues to be redefined almost daily as we attempt to reopen our society while continuing to ascertain the effects of the virus.  This transformation of how we act and interact will continue as we battle through this challenge.  

The students and families of Avon Lake City Schools and the Avon Lake community have stepped up to make the best of a bad situation.  I am proud of all of the efforts all of us have made to complete a school year that was like no other.  None of us were prepared for a shutdown that continued until the end of the school year.

Today, July 2, 2020, Governor DeWine released the much anticipated guidelines for the restart of school for the 2020-2021 school year.  We appreciate and understand the angst we all have felt during this period of waiting.  As expected, the announcement includes health rules and requirements for all schools, and guidelines that offer more local control where each school district can make decisions based on the unique features of their school district and of their community.

The Avon Lake Board of Education members, administrative team, teacher leaders, and parent advocates have been preparing and reviewing a myriad of procedures, protocols and plans to reopen our schools. Over the next couple of weeks we will finalize the Avon Lake City School District plan for educating our students in the upcoming year.  Our goal as of today is to disseminate the plan to our school families soon after the regular July School Board Meeting being held on Tuesday, July 14th.

As you can imagine, a plan that must take into consideration the needs of approximately 4,000 Pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students and their families has an unbelievable number of moving parts.  Even though it is complicated, please remember that our primary objective is to provide a safe learning environment for students, and at the same time, safe working conditions for our staff.  We must ensure our adults are healthy in order to serve our children. We must ensure our students are healthy in order to be able to keep our schools open and not have to return to the nightmare created by mandatory school closure. This is a challenging puzzle because we are balancing mitigation strategies with access to a high-quality education.


As things presently stand, the Avon Lake City School District plans to welcome students
back to school on August 25th IN PERSON.

In-Person School
We are planning for students to attend school every day for in-person instruction.  There will be modifications to classes and schedules to reduce health risks for students and staff.  These modifications will be based on the new state guidelines but will be specific to Avon Lake facilities and also to the age/grade of the students.  Once we have our plan aligned to the health guidelines from the state for managing COVID-19 safety protocols for next year, we will make this plan available to all stakeholders.

Avon Lake School District is developing a plan that is “flexible and nimble.”  No plan is risk-free and every plan has to be able to be modified quickly depending on all possible situations now and until the virus crisis has passed.  

Remote Learning
We also know that there will be a small percentage of Avon Lake students who, due to health reasons or family situations, will need to or will choose to use remote learning as their primary means of accessing their education.  Parents have the option to choose to continue their students’ education from home.  As we finalize the plans for the fall, parents choosing this option for their students will be able to sign up on-line, beginning July 15.  With the summer to plan and train our staff in on-line instruction the remote learning experience will be much different than what we saw with the emergency closure and with only a few days to prepare. Instruction will be class- and age-appropriate including synchronous/asynchronous instruction.

We want to remind all families that the possibility exists that all schools could have to shut down quickly as they did in March.  We all hope this does not happen, but we suggest strongly that families prepare a plan if schools must shut down quickly.  Please know that the Avon Lake City School District plan takes this possibility into account.  At this point, we cannot know for sure the degree to which the COVID-19 pandemic will impact schools in the future. 

We are not formally planning a scheduled shutdown during the winter, but if we see or are informed of warnings, we will adhere to directives from the Lorain County Health Department and/or the Ohio Department of Health.  A concern for Avon Lake City School District specifically is the lack of air conditioning at Learwood Middle School and the four elementary schools. Health guidelines may necessitate “heat days” at these campuses.  We will follow up with more details after we are able to study the guidelines set today.   

Health and Safety
Our administration has been working with health experts to keep our staff, students, and community safe upon our return to school. A safety plan will be disseminated that outlines how anyone who visits our campuses, inside or outside, will be expected to behave regarding health protocols and safe school operations.  We cannot provide a safe learning environment and safe staff working conditions without your help.  The plan will include social distancing, hand-washing, facial coverings (depends on state health guidance), transportation support by parents, and daily health screenings. 

Along with you, we are reading and learning daily from experts in the health field about “going about life” during a pandemic.  As an institution, we are committed to following guidance from the Center for Disease Control, Ohio Health Department, and Lorain County Health Department to reopen our schools.  Our staff will receive extensive health training. We plan to work throughout the year with our students on healthy habits.  

Food Service
Depending on the school building and the grade level, students will most likely be eating lunch at their desks.  Lunches will be available at school and will adhere to the state guidelines.  We feel strongly that we want to avoid any large group gatherings; therefore, the cafeterias will be repurposed for teaching spaces as needed and if they are used for eating lunch we will observe the social distancing guidelines.  Lunch details will come out from each building closer to the start of the school year.

We will be running bus routes for students Pre-kindergarten though the 8th grade.  We will be adhering to the new guidelines which will restrict the number of students on each bus.  Again, details will be coming out as soon as we can match the state guidelines to our bus fleet and routes.  We will be encouraging walking and bike riding that can be done safely. 

Summer Training/Fall Sports
Following the guidance of Governor DeWine and the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), we have followed protocols to return our athletes to skills training. These specific protocols are communicated to athletes via their team head coach. It is imperative that we all follow these protocols with fidelity to ensure we are able to engage in more athletics during the 2020-2021 school year.  Brent Schremp, our Athletic Director, and our team of dedicated coaches are working with our Cleveland Clinic Athletic Trainer to evaluate and update our training programs and safety protocols. 

Thank you again for your continuing support. Together we can implement plans that moving forward will provide the best possible learning experience for our students in a safe environment. We will update all stakeholders as the plans for the reopening of schools in August are completed, or if conditions change. 

Keep being kind, keep being patient, keep being empathetic, and keep being supportive of each other.


Bob Scott, Superintendent
Avon Lake City School District