Dear Mason City Schools Family,
While we anticipated Governor DeWine’s announcement that school buildings would be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, it doesn’t make it any easier. We truly miss having our students, staff, and families in our buildings, and most importantly the opportunity to connect in person.
Below are responses to common questions from our families and the public.
What does the rest of this school year look like?
Our teachers and staff will continue to serve our students and families through Remote Learning Experiences as we finish the year. Our team is continually reflecting on how to ensure our systems are as supportive as possible to our students and our staff during this unprecedented time, and that we are preparing for the future to the best of our abilities.
We will end new instruction for remote learning a week prior to the last day of school. May 21-27th will be a time for students to have virtual experiences that give them closure and opportunities to say goodbye to their teachers and classmates, as well as opportunities for students to receive support as needed. This may include holding traditional end-of-year celebrations and closing activities in a virtual environment. During this time, our teachers will also engage in professional learning needed to prepare for the 2020-2021 school year.
Are other student activities, including school year-end celebrations, cancelled?
Face-to-face student activities are cancelled for the remainder of the school year due to the closure of the buildings. However, staff are working to create safe connection moments, virtual field trips, etc.
What about the commencement exercise for the Class of 2020?
On Thursday, we received the following guidance from the Ohio Department of Education.
“The Ohio Department of Education has been fielding several questions about graduation ceremonies and other end-of-year recognition ceremonies for students. Educators, students and parents are questioning whether they should attempt to hold in-person events of this nature. While we understand the significance, tradition and rites of passage many of these events represent, particularly for our seniors, schools should hold events virtually rather than conducting in-person events of this type, and record these events whenever possible and practicable. Congregate graduation ceremonies should not be held. Additionally, we recommend holding a virtual or alternate recognition on the original intended graduation date or a date very close to that date. Governor DeWine, during his press conference on Monday, April 20, stated, ‘the gathering of significant numbers of people is a dangerous situation. Just as schools have been innovative in regard to how to teach from a distance, I know that they will be innovative as they look at how…they honor the students…’ We are asking the education community to come together and honor our students, especially our seniors, in a manner that doesn’t pose health risks to anyone. Schools should continue to recognize the importance of restrictions on mass gatherings, and events should be aligned with the Ohio Department of Health’s Order.”
In Mason, we recognize that graduation is a time-honored and legacy-honed tradition. We will follow the state’s directives and hold a virtual commencement exercise as originally scheduled on Sunday, May 24, 2020. The ceremony will be a combination of both live and pre-recorded moments. We also intend to create a multi-step celebration of the Class of 2020 that will include heart-felt opportunities for personal connection. MHS Principal Bobby Dodd will share the full plan for commencement with seniors and their families next week.
Now that we know we won’t be coming back to school in May, can we pick up items left in classrooms and the buildings?
If your child is in need of items required for remote learning, please email your child’s principal and he or she will work with you to have the item delivered to you, or come up with a safe way for you to pick it up.
Next week, we will announce plans for families to retrieve remaining items that have been left at school. In order to maintain social distancing requirements, families will be asked to remain in cars, and your child’s items will be placed in your vehicle’s trunk.
Are spring sports cancelled?
Since schools remain physically closed for the remainder of the school year, all spring sports and tournaments have been canceled by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Will the district be processing refunds for activities that are not happening now?
We are processing refunds for preschool snack fees, before and after school child care programming, and activities that were previously scheduled to take place in the month of May. Please note, once our Fiscal Office receives the request for refunds it will take a couple of weeks to process.
If you have a question about specific fees, please contact your building Principal.
How can we support our commUNITY?
Senior Citizens: United Way of Warren County Volunteer Resource Center in partnership with Warren County Community Services is recruiting volunteers willing to shop for the 250 identified low-income and at-risk senior citizens in our community. These are the most basic and sustainable items. A $50 gift card, shopping list, and box can be picked up on Saturday April 25th at United Way of Warren County (3989 S. US Route 42, Lebanon, OH 45036) between 11am-6pm. Then return the items on Thursday April 30th to Warren County Community Services (570 N State Route 741, Lebanon, OH 45036) between 10am-6pm. Please sign-up for the available slots.
View previous updates.
Thanks for all you are doing during this challenging time. We are stronger together!
Public Information Officer