Rapid Run Middle School

Administration Office

Geoff Harold, principal

Welcome back note from principal Harold

Dear Rapid Run Students and Families,

I am so excited for the opportunity to serve as your Principal at Rapid Run Middle School for the 2020-21 school year.  I am looking forward to working with the Rapid Run community and furthering the great tradition of learning and service in the Oak Hills Local School District.  

I hope you have all had a wonderful summer with family and friends.  

This year will be a truly unprecedented year for our school.  Despite the challenges we will continue to focus on the academic, social and personal growth of each and every one of our students.  In addition to a strong academic program we will also work on becoming better, more thoughtful, kinder citizens of the world.  With this in mind, the Rapid Run staff has been working through the summer to create a safe and stable environment for learning and a return to a sense of normalcy.  With the unique circumstances COVID brings to reopening school, we ask that you carefully read this opening message so you are well informed.  We will emphasize safety and inclusivity throughout this year in everything that we do.  It is our hope that, within this letter, we will be able to highlight what we are doing to keep your child safe.  We look forward to collaborating with each of you to ensure we have a successful 2020-2021 school year!  

On Thursday, August 20, 2020 Yesterday you received additional communication on how Oak Hills Local Schools will reopen. We appreciate your attention to that communication and want to make sure there is no confusion about what was shared. The district is making a short-term, temporary pivot to blended learning to help students and staff reacclimate. It begins Sept. 8 and ends Sept. 18. The district continues to be firmly committed to the reopening plan approved by the Board of Education in July and to a full return to in-person learning. We expect all students to return in-person on Sept. 21 unless the state alert level has risen to the red or purple levels, at which time we would move to blended or remote learning as our reopening plan states.   

The Rapid Run COVID-19 response is in compliance with the Oak Hills Local School District plan and is built on the following 6 key pillars: 1)  wellness checks 2) use of protective equipment 3) social distancing 4) hygiene and sanitation 5) limiting contacts & 6) responsiveness to community data.  These pillars are aligned to guidance from national agencies, state directives, and local requests. We will briefly address each of these pillars below. Please review the included Student Experience Document to see how these pillars will look for your child each day. 

Our first line of defense will be wellness checks. Each day, before any staff member or student leaves their home, a wellness check should be conducted.  We will need parents to assist young children in identifying any of the following symptoms.  During this wellness check students and staff should look for the following: 

  • Fever (Temperature >100 degrees) and/or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or Body Aches

  • Headache

  • Loss of taste or smell

  • Sore Throat

  • Congestion or Runny Nose

  • Nausea/Vomiting/Diarrhea

If symptoms are present, especially a fever above 100 degrees, then the staff or student should stay home from school.  We know this is challenging since these symptoms are so similar to other viruses and common illnesses.  Remember to call the absence line (513-467-0300 Option 1) to report the absence.  If you have questions about whether to send your child our health room can support you (513-467-0300 Option 2).  Part of the wellness check is keeping the school informed.  If you or a member of your family tests positive for COVID-19 it is imperative that you contact the school nurse and let her know.  This will help us contact trace and reduce the chances of spread within our school and community.  We are all in this together and we will be successful if we all do our part.

If a student becomes ill during the day we will work with our health room to quarantine that student and contact the family.  It is very important that families make sure that emergency contact information is accurate and up-to-date throughout the school year.

In compliance with the Board of Health order (for additional guidance from the Ohio Department of Health, please see the preceding link) all staff and students will be required to wear personal protective equipment.  This means that, at minimum, everyone in the building will be wearing masks.  It is vitally important that your child wear a mask everyday.  We will do our best to provide students and staff with an opportunity to have “mask breaks” where they can go to a well ventilated and socially distanced area to remove their masks.  We recognize that the first few weeks of school can be quite hot so these breaks may be more frequent than they will be later in the year. 

Social Distancing is not our normal way of doing things in a Middle School. Typically, students are quick to give a “high five” to classmates and teachers alike. This year we will work hard to teach students procedures and routines to distance themselves while still feeling connected and cared for. We will separate student desks, remove flexible seating and place distancing guides (i.e., stickers) around the school to prompt 6 foot spacing when possible.  In some areas students will have plastic shields to minimize risks.  Since the commons is a place where it is difficult to distance, we are asking all students to report to their first class of the day instead of going to the commons.  In addition, some students will be eating lunch in the cafeteria and some in their classrooms until further notice.  

Next to masks, hand sanitizing is the best thing we can do to prevent this virus. We will create routines for the use of hand sanitizer any time a student enters and exits their room. Additionally, extra cleaning supplies have been provided to every classroom to allow for surfaces to be wiped down on a regular basis in between the more thorough cleaning that our custodial staff will do each evening.  Part of hygiene and sanitation is eliminating shared supplies.  Students will only use their supplies and will not share supplies with other students or the classroom.

An unfortunate side effect of decreasing contacts throughout the day is that we will be dramatically reducing parent/community visits to the school. We will not be allowing parent volunteers to work in the building while students are here and will not allow parents to walk their child to class.  By reducing the number of people in the building we can reduce the risk to all members of the Oak Hills Community.

Finally, we will work within the Oak Hills Local School District’s Reopening Plan.  This plan is designed to be responsive to community data and provide the safest environment based on community spread.  We will communicate with families if the plan necessitates that we move into a Blended Model or a Remote Model.

As you know, Rapid Run Middle School is a very special place. I am constantly amazed at the sense of community that this school fosters. Our teachers and staff are committed and talented and the parents are engaged and supportive. With these ingredients we can implement the 6 pillars (above) and have a safe and successful year.

We will be altering our arrival and dismissal procedures to reduce student interaction. These changes should not affect the parent experience too greatly.  We are committed to making drop-off and dismissal safe and efficient and request your support to make that happen.  During arrival and dismissal parents should wear masks and parents are urged to stay in their cars and not congregate near the school doors. 

Throughout the year we will be working to teach students ways to practice safe behaviors that lead to positive outcomes for themselves and their community.  We hope that this will have a positive impact on our school, community, and on your child’s health.

As summer winds down and you plan for the school year ahead we will begin sharing virtual alternatives for a number of the events that typically start our year.  In the past we have had Open House for each grade level in person at the school.  Due to covid restrictions we are creating virtual presentations with videos that will be shared with you in the first few weeks of school.  If you have questions about any of the information that is shared please contact your child’s teachers.  Class lists will not be posted on the doors but instead will be open within Progress Book on the 27th for families that have paid their fees and on September 2nd for all other families.

We understand that this year will be unlike any other and we will all have challenges to overcome.  As the adults helping our children maneuver these times, it’s vitally important that we set a positive tone for our children.  If we are excited and optimistic about the year, our children will be as well.  

Please see the additional information on the website including links for PTA membership, EMA forms and other recurring documents.  We look forward to working with you this school year and helping our students reach their fullest potential.  Together, we will continuously strive for academic excellence and provide a first-class education for our students. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at any time via phone, email or by visiting the school office.

Sincerely,

Geoff Harold

513-467-0300

[email protected]

 

 

Staff

Mr. Geoff Harold     Principal
Mrs. Kristi Bashara   Assistant Principal
Mrs. McDonald   Office Staff
Mrs. McCarthy   Office Staff