SHS Weekly Update

Happy New Year!!

Principal's Update

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday break and a Happy New Year. I really enjoyed getting time to see family, watch the SHS winter basketball tournament, and actually get some sleep.

I wish we were not still talking about COVID but we are still having to deal with the virus and the recent Omicron surge.

Dr. Ryba sent out communications about changes to our daily operating procedures for the first two weeks of school.

Please make sure that you update your seating charts ASAP in order for us to ensure that we have current information.

Here is an excerpt from his email to staff:

All Staff

  1. You must wear a mask at all times unless you are alone in your office, classroom, or district vehicle. If you are not alone - no matter how far you can socially distance - you are to be wearing your mask except when eating lunch. Employees that fail to follow this mandate without a mask exemption on file are subject to discipline.

  2. When eating lunch, eat alone. If you do not have the space to eat alone, socially distance greater than 6 feet. If you are unsure as to how this can occur based on available space, work with your building administration / supervisor.

  3. Remain greater than 3 feet apart when working with students, staff, or socializing.

  4. Complete a daily health screening and stay home when you are sick or have symptoms.

  5. For those who may have traveled over the holidays, there is no need to fill out a form to return to work.

  6. Coaches…please work with your AD and/or building administration with regard to masking requirements for athletes during this time. You will be responsible for communicating and enforcing these masking rules. The parent FAQ includes a statement that coaches will be reviewing masking rules with athletes.

  7. Emailing or calling to report you have COVID or COVID-related symptoms to your principal and/or HR doesn’t complete the absence reporting process. If you are out sick for any reason, you need to put your own absence in AESOP.

  8. If you are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID and are vaccinated, you may still report to work. However, if you begin to have symptoms, please stay home and get tested. If you are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID and are unvaccinated, you will need to quarantine for 5 days. In both cases, you will need to send an email to Jenni Pelko and your principal or direct supervisor and share the last date and time of exposure to the positive individual. There is no requirement to be tested if you are not showing symptoms. Specific directions will then be sent to you on how to proceed. Note. Vaccinated means receiving 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

  9. If you test positive for COVID, remember that when reporting a positive COVID result, please send an email to Jenni Pelko and your principal or direct supervisor sharing (1) the date and time symptoms began - if present, (2) the date you took the test, (3) a copy / picture of the positive test, (4) vaccination status, and (5) any direct contacts - those within 3 feet longer than 15 minutes regardless of masking. There is no requirement to get retested to return to work. Specific directions will then be sent to you on how to proceed. Note. Please pay special attention to the parent FAQ detailing the reduced isolation period that was approved by the CDC and is being implemented in the district. Staff that have tested positive for COVID and do not have symptoms on Day 6 of their isolation will be able to return to work on Day 6.


  1. All student desks must be in rows and socially distanced as far as possible. Those classrooms with tables should socially distance students at the tables as far as possible. Table dividers should still be available at your building and can be requested through your building principals or custodians.

  2. As a reminder, teachers are required to live stream or post recorded lessons when students are absent for COVID-related symptoms, in quarantine, and/or subject to an isolation order. Teachers may also suggest alternative means to engage students that are absent for these reasons and implement the alternative strategy with the approval of the building principal. If you are not live streaming or posting recorded videos, remember that your alternative method must be pre-approved by the principal prior to enacting.

  3. Lessons over the next two weeks should not include group activities where students cannot be at least 3 feet apart. You can have reading groups, math groups, labs, projects, etc. only if you can keep students more than 3 feet apart. If 3 feet of social distancing cannot be accomplished, then these activities should be put on hold over the next two weeks.

  4. Physical Education teachers should consider their lesson plans over this two week period and adjust accordingly taking into consideration that students will be wearing masks.

  5. There may be adjustments to district scheduled professional development. HR will communicate those adjustments, but be prepared to have substitute teachers cancelled. We will do our best to give you as much advance notice and reschedule as soon as possible.

Building changes

In order to ensure that we are meeting safety protocols some of the following changes will occur at the high school.

  1. Lunchroom tables will have to return to a limit of 3 students per table. We will utilize the overflow lunchroom in the middle gym. With 3 per table the number of students who will be contact traced will be minimized.
  2. Per the policy all students, staff, and visitors are required to wear a mask through January 14th.
  3. Classrooms will be structured to keep students at least 3 feet apart which, when wearing a mask, will keep the students in person. There are some exceptions such as band, orchestra, and certain classrooms that we will try to reduce contact tracing risk as much as possible.
  4. Students who do have to quarantine will be able to log into their classrooms via livestream and utilize google classroom to do their assignments. Teachers should mark students who are not logging in absent.

Survey (building needs)

In the results of the survey that I sent out in December, staff identified the top two key issues impacting instructional time:

1.Skipping classes: 71% identified as either their primary or secondary priority.

2. Cell phone usage in class: 58% identified as their primary or secondary priority.

Cell phones are to be put away during class unless the classroom teacher has allowed students to use it. This is at the discretion of the teacher as I know some of you use them for lessons or as a reward. What we want to stop is the incessant use of the phone when you are trying to teach your lesson. Please assign a detention when students are not following protocols in your classroom. If a student has continued use of the phone after being asked to put it away we will be calling home and discussing with the parent progressive discipline including removal of the phone during class time.

Please refer students for skipping class as they will receive Saturday Schools as we need to curb skipping classes as it has become a serious issue in the building.

There will be PBIS programming coming to incentivize getting to class 1st period. In the meantime I would review, with students, that they will begin to receive a detention for being late to class (especially first period). I suggest that on their 3rd tardy they receive a detention.

I am including my communication to the community, yesterday, on these issues as well as tardiness to first period.

Cell Phones

Cell phone usage during class and when students leave to use the restroom has become a serious distraction to the learning environment in the building. As a parent I appreciate the need to be able to contact your child in case of emergency but the reality is that some students are using cell phones during instructional time, filming in our restrooms, and using social media during classroom time. Effective on January 3rd Strongsville High School will enact the following cell phone policies:

Cell phones are to be put away, silent, and not visible during classroom time. There is no reason to take a cell phone out to text, snap, or play a game when a classroom is in session. Students who do so will be asked to put it away. If they continue to use it during class it will be taken from them and returned at the end of the class/day. Continued use of cell phones during class will result in a detention, Saturday School, or further discipline per the code of conduct.

Hallway Traffic

The hallway traffic during the school day has become excessive with students roaming the building when they should be in class. The number of students walking around during their study halls, lunch, or leaving class and not returning is going to change immediately. Students should be traveling the hallways with a purpose. When students leave a classroom to use the restroom they will be signing out and recording the time they are leaving and the time they return. Skipping classes has become a bigger issue this year with too many students not going to class and going to study hall or lunch when they should not be in those locations.

Any student who skips a class will be receiving a Saturday morning detention (8am-10am) served with an SHS admin. Failure to attend this detention will result in additional consequences.

Students with late arrival who come in early need to be in the cafeteria until the bell rings to end 1st period.

Students at lunch are to be in the lunchroom(s) and not walking the building or in the stairwell.

Students with early release are to leave the building at the end of their day. If they are waiting for a ride they must be in the cafeteria.

Students are not to leave study halls or lunch and roam the building

First Period Tardiness

During the pandemic we seemed to have lost some of the priorities of getting to classes on time. During the morning arrival the number of students that are in the hallways at 7:25, class starts at 7:20am, and still heading to their first period classes has created a huge distraction for teachers who have students walking into classes several minutes after the bell rings. Many of these students arrived around 7am and were in the cafeteria and are still arriving late to their classes or are late because they stopped to get a Starbucks or Dunkin. This needs to change as it is still important to arrive at class on time and allow for teachers to stop losing valuable instructional time at the start of class. Please let your child know that getting to class is important. Teachers can issue detentions for late students.

Leaving the Building

Strongsville High School does not have an open campus. The number of students that leave for lunch and try to enter through a side door is compromising the safety of the building. Students are not to leave and return without checking in/out through the office.

Students are still calling parents to pick them up because they are not feeling well and are then leaving without letting the attendance office know. We need all students and parents to work through the attendance office and/or clinic when they are leaving ill or with an appointment. When a student simply leaves we have to track them down in order to make sure they are safe and accounted for. Student safety is of the utmost priority for us so please notify the attendance office when a student is leaving the building.

Video to the community on building updates

Here is the video link I sent to parents yesterday. It contains the same information written in the newsletter. It is a bit long (8 minutes) but highlights why we are focusing on the implementation of our code of conduct.