Walnut Township Local Schools Current Level 

Yellow Status

Status updated on 12/31/2020 at 11:47 a.m.

Topic: Learning Model Update

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Dear WTLSD Community,

I would like to thank our community for your continued support as we battle the spread of COVID-19 in the state, county and within our district. We are working with the Fairfield Department of Health and the Fairfield County EMA in the vaccine rollout for school personnel in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, the number of vaccine doses is very limited and will take time for school personnel to become vaccinated. The rollout of vaccines for school personnel is providing light at the end of this difficult school year.

I have been reviewing state, county and local data as well as internal data of confirmed COVID-19 cases and quarantines that have impacted our students and staff since our return on January 4. COVID-19 is still having a direct impact on our students and staff and a full reopen would put our students and staff at greater risk.

At this time, Walnut Township Local Schools will remain in our Hybrid Learning Model as we begin the second semester on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. I will maintain the district in Hybrid Learning through February 26, 2021. By the end of February, the district will have a much clearer picture of how quickly our staff will be vaccinated and may be able to adjust the instructional model as a result.

The district will continue to review internal and local data to make adjustments to the learning model with the intent to fully open as quickly as we are able to do so without compromising the safety of students and staff. The availability of substitutes in all areas of the district continues to be problematic and a full reopening would potentially put our students and staff at risk and force the district to go fully remote for a period of time. I am optimistic of changing the model once we get a clearer picture of the vaccine rollout to school personnel in the coming weeks.

I strongly encourage our families to sign up for meal pick up each week (both Laker Virtual Academy and students attending face-to-face). The National School Lunch Program is providing meals to all students (breakfast and lunch) at no cost to families or the school regardless of need. In fact, the more students that take breakfast and lunch, the more you are helping the district with federal reimbursement. The reimbursement supports the districts food service budget and we hope families consider signing up on the district website.



Kirby Signature

Food Service Update: Free Meal Extension

October 20, 2020

Laker Families,

The US Department of Agriculture has announced that ALL students enrolled at Walnut Township Local Schools will receive FREE Breakfast and FREE Lunch regardless of income status through the entire 2020-2021 school year.

On October 9, 2020, the USDA extended no cost meals to all children through the entire 2020-2021 school year. This benefit has been made possible through the US Department of Agriculture Waiver. As a result, ALL students enrolled at Walnut Township Local Schools, regardless of income status, will receive one FREE breakfast and one FREE lunch daily.

Laker Virtual Academy students can sign up to pick up their breakfast and lunches on the district website at www.walnuttsd.org.

Students will still need to purchase ala carte items. Families will still need to complete free and reduced meal application paperwork to be eligible for 2021-2022 carryover benefits after waiver ends and for instruction fee waiver. Please contact Karen Reedy at kreedy@walnuttsd.org or by calling 740-467-1144 with any questions. 

Laker Virtual Academy Students - Meal Sign up

WTLS Update

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Good Afternoon Walnut Township Local School’s Community,

I know the hybrid instructional model that the district has been engaged in since our first student day on August 25 has not been easy for many families we serve. I am very aware of many of your concerns related to hybrid learning and the desire to return to a fully reopened educational experience for students as quickly as possible. The staff of the district, including myself, are laser focused on how to ensure we are able to safely reopen school fully while ensuring we are maintaining the health, safety and welfare of students and staff.

I would like to thank all of you for your continued support as we continue to be as flexible as we can be to serve our students. The way our community members have come together to support each other and our young people makes be even more proud to be leading the district.

The district has been fortunate enough that we have ZERO students testing positive for COVID19, ZERO staff members testing positive for COVID-19 as of today, September 15. I have been reviewing county level data, data by zip code of our local zip code and those around Millersport, trend data for our area as well as observing mask compliance among students and staff, and reviewing enrollment for each instructional period in grades K-12 and simulating what a full reopening would look like in each classroom and each instructional period.

I have determined that our district is able to reopen fully for those students attending face-to-face school five days per week beginning Tuesday, September 29. Purple Gold day students will all report to school beginning on Tuesday, September 29. Laker Virtual Academy students will continue to engage in school remotely.

In my observations over the past week, I have found that most of our classrooms are able to withstand a full reopening with all students while maintaining some social distancing based on class enrollment. We have a handful of classrooms that raise concerns among myself and the building leadership. In order to address the concerns, we have observed in spacing, the building principal’s will be working with our custodial and maintenance staff to address those specific issues and ensure that we have desks and tables moved to locations where they are needed. In some situations, the district will need to relocate an entire classroom for the safety of students and staff to larger areas to maximize social distancing.

As many around me know, I do not take this decision lightly and have spent a great deal of time speaking with many of my staff members, health professionals internally and externally and reviewed a significant amount of data to make the most informed decision for our students, staff and community. I must reiterate that things change very quickly with this virus and between today and Tuesday, September 29, the data that I have used to make my decision may change which would force me to decide to stay hybrid longer. I want to make sure each and every one of you are aware that as the circumstances change daily, the district may need to adjust as well. I am committed to giving our staff, students and families we serve as much notice of changes to our schedule as possible to assist in making arrangements for childcare. During a full reopening, we may have to switch back to hybrid or fully remote learning if the data indicates it is what is in the best interest of our students and staff with little to no notice. I cannot emphasize enough to be sure you have your plans in place for hybrid learning and full remote learning if the situation merits moving back to one of these two models.

In making this transition, the district is asking the community we serve to support us in keeping our schools fully reopened by doing the following: Tuesday, September 15, 2020

1. Check your students at home for the following symptoms:

a. Fever of 100 degrees or higher

b. Chills

c. Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

d. Fatigue

e. Muscle or body aches

f. Headaches

g. New loss of taste or smell

h. Sore throat

i. Congestion or runny nose

j. Nausea or vomiting

k. Diarrhea

l. Cough

2. DO NOT SEND your student to school with the above symptoms as we will need to send them back home.

3. Wearing masks

4. Washing hands or using hand sanitizer when you are not able to wash your hands

5. Avoid others that are sick

6. Limit gatherings

If we all continue to take the steps I mentioned, the district will be able to keep serving students face-to-face in a full reopen or in a hybrid format.

I want to reiterate that local data over the coming 13 days will impact whether or not the district will be able to fully reopen on September 29.

Thank you for your continued support,

Will Kirby


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