Teachers & Staff arrived at a previous board meeting in solidarity (FILE)
The message was sent out to the staff in advance of a special meeting of the LCSD school board scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, July 24, to be held virtually. The special meeting was announced earlier Thursday, in a statement released by Loveland Schools Treasurer/CFO Kevin Hawley. The school board meeting was called to discuss items which pertain to the opening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Included among the items is a contract for Pandemic Preparedness and Planning. According to information provided by a reliable source, the message received from Dr. Crouse offered some encouraging words and some details about the Pandemic Preparedness and Planning contract.
Here is some of words and encouragement Dr. Crouse offered to staff:
“We want you to know that we are listening to the concerns of staff and families about the safety of returning to school. It is our only priority at this time. We are working in collaboration with LEA and OAPSE.”
(Note: LEA is the Loveland Education Association and local representation for Loveland Schools teachers and staff. OAPSE is the Ohio Association of Public School Employees union representing over 34,000 members of 480 locals around the state of Ohio.)
The message from Crouse continued:
“We are continually monitoring the most updated information about local Covid-19 spread, monitoring any guidance from the State, and engaging with HCPH.” (Hamilton County Public Health)
Dr. Amy Crouse, Superintendent, Loveland City School District (Provided)
Crouse acknowledged the difficult challenge faced not just by Loveland School staff and teachers, but by all public school districts.
“The work on planning and preparedness has been the most challenging. Local school districts across the State are charged with opening schools in a pandemic with no expertise, experience, or direct guidance for the implementation of safety measures. And regardless of the lack of support, school district teams have done incredible work toward a plan for in-person learning. If there’s one thing we can say about public schools – we are not afraid of hard work. However, in this case, the pressure to “get it right” is too great.”
Pressure may be too great to take on alone, but seeking help of experts may relieve some of the pressure and tilt the odds more in favor of “getting it right.” Crouse explained where help was found within the community.
“A community member that works with this engineering firm reached out to me as he saw a connection between the expertise of their services and our lack of experience and the high degree of concern we all share. Through a series of meetings we have been able to develop a plan that is designed to provide confidence in our ability to provide for the health and safety of our students and staff. They will evaluate the plans that have already been developed by the reopening work teams through walkthroughs, onsite preparation and working directly with staff and administration and applying their expertise in the field to make the needed recommendations for us.”
The message to staff explained the school board will meet Friday to consider a contract with this team of experts.
“Tomorrow afternoon a special meeting of the Board of Education has been called to consider a contract with this Pandemic Preparedness team.”
Here are the bios for the lead support team:
Col. Kirk Phillips (retired)
Ran global EHS for U.S. Air Force and led a team of 1,900
Led pandemic planning, as advisor to Surgeon General
Wrote Continuity of Operations and Pandemic Response Plan for HQ
28 years of service to the U.S. Air Force (Retired Colonel)
Leads nationally recognized engineering practice serving all markets and industries
SMSgt Dawn Colombi (retired)
Led State-Level Responses to Pandemic Planning and Policy Development
Managed Air National Guard Occupational and Environmental Health Programs
Execution responsibilities included 93 installations in 54 states and territories •
32 years with U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard •
While at OSHA, trained Compliance Safety and Health Officers
In closing the message to staff, Crouse expressed hope for the plan for Loveland Schools in the 2020-2021 school year.
“I am hopeful that Loveland can serve as a model for planning, preparedness, and safety as we continue to work toward returning to in-person learning when it is safe to do so.”
The link to the virtual Special Meeting of the LCSD Board of Education scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, July 24, will be available in advance of the meeting on the district website:lovelandschools.org/BoardofEducation.aspx
Loveland Beacon will provide updated information, response, and reaction as additional information becomes available. Keep Watch!