Representation for the LCSD teaching staff sent a letter to the school board expressing health & safety concerns for in-person return to the classrooms of Loveland Schools for teachers, staff and students

By Chuck Gibson

 LOVELAND, OH (July 21, 2020) – The Loveland Education Association (LEA) sent a letter to all members of the Loveland City School District (LCSD) Board of Education expressing their concerns about the safety of the current plan for a 5-day return to school supported by the school board in a resolution Wednesday, July 15.

Dr. Kathryn Lorenz, Loveland City School Distric Board of Education President (FILE)

School Board President, Dr. Kathryn Lorenz confirmed all members of the LCSD Board of Education received the letter via email from the LEA on Monday, July 20, 2020. The LEA is the local affiliate of the Ohio Education Association advocating for education professionals and public education. Loveland Middle School teacher Katie Rose is current president of the Loveland Education Association.

“I can confirm that Loveland School Board members have received individual emails with the subject line “open letter” containing a letter from the Loveland Education Association officers and Executive Committee,” said Lorenz. “The letter requests that the board schedule a meeting to support a plan for safe return to school that is NOT the 5 day return plan.”

Lorenz says the letter focuses primarily on the July 15, resolution by the BOE to support the reopening of Loveland Schools in August with the educational choice for students to be made from options which include 5-day in-person return to classroom learning or a fully online remote learning option. Specific details of the letter were not given by her. 

LEA President Katie Rose likewise did not release specific details of what is in the letter. She says they want to give the school board a chance to respond before releasing anything publicly. Neither side would say if the letter proposes an alternate plan to be considered for the return to school.

“I don’t necessarily want to talk about that at this time,” said Rose. “We have grave concerns about the health and safety of students returning as well as staff returning to school on the model that was decided by the Board of Education. We are awaiting a response from the Board of Education.”

Rose says they have received confirmation from Dr. Lorenz that the BOE has received the letter. They have not yet received any other response from the board. The board would have to meet to discuss the letter before offering any official response to Rose and members of the LEA. As of Tuesday afternoon, the board had not met to discuss the letter. Lorenz did offer some additional clarification on the resolution passed at the July 15, meeting of the school board.

“Guidance given in that meeting was intended to address the safety and well-being of all staff, students, and families for each scenario,” Lorenz stated. “In discussion at that meeting, the Board made clear their belief that any plan for starting school this year must attempt to address all risks to all involved and they especially signaled their understanding of the role of teachers and staff in any reopening scenario.”

That statement is not meant as a response to the LEA letter, but simply a further attempt by Lorenz to clarify the intent of Loveland City School District administrators and the board during the July 15, meeting and discussions. The meeting also included presentation of policy to adopt a face covering mandate for all persons in the school buildings. She says the district is focused on staying current with conditions and local, state and federal guidelines, defining Loveland-specific health and safety protocols, and preparing physical spaces for the return of students and staff.  Her belief is the LEA is focused on the same goal.

“Ultimately, the ability to implement safe in-person education will be determined by the situation of the spread of the virus in the Loveland community and school district operational feasibilities rather than by any single plan or policy,” said Lorenz. “My reading of the letter is that they are advocating for the teachers of Loveland Schools but that they are concerned for the safety of all – staff, students and families.”

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NOTE: Loveland Beacon will update details of the letter and Board of Education response to the letter as that information becomes available. Keep watch!