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Monroe Local Schools eNews - January 2021

Governor Releases New Quarantine Guidelines

There have been some important updates concerning COVID-19 protocols and policies. On December 30, Governor DeWine shared new quarantine guidelines for K-12 schools. These updated guidelines impact staff and students who are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

K-12 Quarantine Guidelines (per Ohio Department Health January 7, 2020):

  • If a student or teacher is exposed in a classroom environment or while on required school transport (e.g., school bus) to someone with COVID-19, quarantine is not recommended for the exposed individual as long as masking and other appropriate protocols were followed.

  • The new guidance does not mean an end to quarantines. Students could still be quarantined based on exposures outside of the classroom (lunch, athletics, etc.) and if masking or other protocols were unable to be followed. These quarantine decisions will be made in consultation with the Butler County General Health District.

Ohio’s updated quarantine protocols were developed in consultation with many resources, including an evaluation of K-12 school students conducted by the Ohio Schools COVID-19 Evaluation Team. The study showed that, in a supervised classroom setting, there was no discernible difference in rates of COVID-19 among students who were close contacts with someone with the disease and students in the same grade who were not close contacts.

Monroe’s current health and safety protocols will continue to be reinforced, and parents will still be notified of positive COVID-19 cases and quarantines via email. Based on the COVID-19 data over the break and this week, we will be making a full in-person return on Monday, January 11.

We will do everything we can to preserve the in-person schedule. COVID-19 data is monitored daily, and an increase in cases or a shortage of substitutes may cause us to transition to hybrid or remote learning. It is important that families have a back-up plan if the district must shift to remote learning or is unable to cover bus routes due to a lack of drivers. Know that we will try to give parents as much notice as possible in these cases.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and efforts to keep our schools safe!

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January is School Board Recognition Month, a time to show our appreciation to school board members throughout the state of Ohio. School board members are ordinary people who have an extraordinary dedication to our public schools.

School board members take their responsibility and public trust seriously, dedicating an enormous number of hours to their work both in and outside of board meetings. Attending school functions, preparing for board meetings, reading financial reports, reviewing agendas, and making a host of difficult and challenging decisions are just some of the regular activities board members participate in through their service.

"Monroe School District is fortunate to have such dedicated Board Members who are passionate about providing the best educational opportunities for our students. They value the public's trust, celebrate our students' successes, and appreciate the work of our educators," said Monroe Superintendent Kathy Demers. "We cannot thank them enough for their service."

Calamity Days to Remain Non-School Days

Monroe's calamity day policy will remain the same this school year. If Monroe Schools are closed due to inclement weather, it will be considered a calamity day, and there will be no school for both in-person and VLA students.

Weather-related delays and closures will be communicated via our automated calling system, a separate system from the OneView parent portal. This automated calling system enables parents/guardians to select specific preferences for receiving robocalls. Click this link for information on using Monroe's automatic calling system. Please contact your child's school if you have any issues.

The district will also communicate weather delays or closures on social media, the district website, local TV news/radio.

Monroe Fire Department Donation Opens Access to Free Digital Books

The Monroe Fire Department donated a portion of their CARES funding to Monroe Local Schools and the district has used this money to purchase Sora a collection of digital books that families can access for free. Students will now have 24/7 access to e-books and audiobooks on any device and the ability to check out age-appropriate e-books and audiobooks through the Sora app. Within the Sora app, students are also able to access e-books and audiobooks from the MidPointe Library. A MidPointe Library card is required to gain access to their collection and expands the choice of titles, especially for beginning readers.

Accessing Sora:

Monroe students can access Sora via the Sora URL: https://soraapp.com/library/swocaoh or by heading to Soraapp.com and searching for Monroe Local School District or entering the setup code: swocaoh. The student will need their Monroe Gmail address to log in. If you need help logging in, click on the help button on the login page.

Other Helpful Tips:

If you have difficulty with accessing or logging in to Sora, please contact our Director of Technology Tony Thornton at tthornton@monroelocalschools.com.

Monroe High School Launches New Course-of-Study Site

Monroe High School will be launching a website for students and parents to help them select courses for the 2021-2022 school year. The site, which goes live on January 11, will feature individual videos of Monroe High School teachers sharing information about their classes. This site is a new way of sharing course information with Monroe students. In year’s past, written course descriptions were shared to help students choose their courses for the next school year. The MHS course of study site also includes details on graduation requirements to help students at each grade level choose their schedule for the 2021-2022 school year.

“Our high school team wanted to ensure our students and families had a chance to hear directly from the teachers before selecting their classes for next school year. We have outstanding teachers and course offerings and I feel the site will really help students make the best choices for their high school studies,” said Monroe High School Principal Tom Prohaska.

Thrive in the Hive-Mental Health Resources for Families

Thrive in the Hive is a monthly mental health newsletter produced by Access Counseling Services. The goal of this newsletter is to provide Monroe families with education, interventions, and self-care tips for you and your children to take care of your mental health.

Thrive in the Hive - January 2021

Creativity In Our Classrooms

Before winter break, Jordan Lamping's 4th graders were able to use their imagination and improve their writing skills for their "Trapped in a Snow Globe" project. In this creative writing project, students had to write and illustrate what they would do if they were trapped in a snowglobe.

"I was so impressed with how creative students were on this project, and how hard they worked to make their stories truly come to life," Mrs. Lamping shared.

District Leaders Meet with New State Representative

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On December 18, Monroe School District leaders hosted incoming State Representative Thomas Hall at the district offices to share information on the district and discuss Monroe's capped state funding situation.

In addition to Monroe's Board members Tim Carpenter and Tom Leeds, Superintendent Kathy Demers, and Treasurer Holly Cahall met with State Rep. Hall and his legislate aide. Hall began his first term as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives on January 4 and represents the 53rd House district which consists of northern and western Butler County.

"We are grateful for Rep. Hall's time and attention and look forward to continuing these open lines of communication with our state legislators. We will continue to share the challenges and inequities of our state funding formula until a more equitable model is put in place," said Kathy Demers.

Pictured L-R: Board Vice-President Tim Carpenter; Legislative Aide Nick Morgan; Rep. Thomas Hall; and Board member Tom Leeds.

Monroe Elementary Yearbook Orders

Parents are now able to order the Monroe Elementary School yearbooks. Orders are being accepted online or via mail with checks payable to Lifetouch. The elementary is not accepting orders at school. A flyer is being sent home to all MES families with the ordering details.

Winter Athletics

Due to health restrictions, attendance and capacity restrictions will continue for winter athletics. Games may be canceled or postponed due to the spread of COVID-19. Athletic events are posted on the Athletic Department website and Twitter page at https://twitter.com/HornetsInGame.

We will be live streaming our boys and girls high school and junior high home basketball and wrestling events this season. Links are posted on our athletic website.

Free Breakfast/Lunch Continues to End of School Year

A reminder to all families that the USDA announced earlier this fall that all school meals are free to all Monroe Local School Students through the end of May 2021. Students must select all components of a “Class A” lunch in order to have the meal charge waived.

Students can still purchase a la carte items which are not free under the current plan from the USDA. As a reminder, you can add money to your account on EZPay online.

If you think you qualify for free and reduced lunch, please fill out the free and reduced lunch form on the OneView parent portal or request a paper copy from your office or cafeteria. Qualification for free and reduced lunch could provide a waiver of school fees.

Important Calendar Reminders

January 11: Return to in-person learning

January 11: Board of Education tax budget hearing at 6 p.m., organizational meeting at 6:15 p.m., and regular meeting at 6:30 p.m.- Meetings will be live-streamed on YouTube Live.

January 18: NO SCHOOL - Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 12: NO SCHOOL - Teacher In-service Day

February 15: NO SCHOOL - Presidents Day

Translation Now Available for Newsletter

Visitors to our What's the Buzz e-newsletter can now translate our newsletter into multiple languages. The translation feature is powered by Google Translate. Once you access the newsletter online, go to the top right side at the Accessibility Bar, and click on the "Translate Newsletter" link. A dropdown menu will be provided to allow you to select your chosen language.

Ahora la traducción está disponible para el boletín informativo

Nuestro boletín electrónico se llama What's the Buzz ahora está disponible en varios idiomas. La función de traducción funciona con Google Translate. Cuando acceda al boletín en línea, vaya a la parte superior derecha de la barra de accesibilidad y haga clic en el enlace "Translate Newsletter". Se proporcionará un menú desplegable que le permitirá seleccionar su idioma.