Dublin-Worthington News Stories

August 11, 2021: Hybrid Meeting

Sunday, August 15, 2021 By: Tara Burchett-Maxwell
This was the 6th meeting of the 47th year of the Dublin-Worthington Rotary Club.

We welcomed a visiting Rotarian; Jim Allen who just moved back to Ohio from Virginia. 

This week's Sergeant, Alan Grossman, "charged" fines this week. No pin, $1; No name badge, $1; inappropriate dress, another $1. Have you responded to the Rah-Rah email? Steve's email poll? $1 for you too. He mentions seeing someone storing chocolate in the back of their car....also, do you have your car radio on country music? If not, $1. He closed with a joke: What do you call a bear with no ears? A b.......
Speaker
Trent Bowers, Superintendent of the Worthington School District
Topic
Decision making during Covid
Jennifer Best, who is a member of the Worthington School board, indroduced our guest. In 2015, Dr. Bowers became the Superintendent of Worthington Schools.

Trent talked about the 2 phases that the district have been working on. Phase 1 being renovations to the middle schools and the new middle school which will have an open house later this month. The new middle allows the district to move the 6th graders from the elementary schools into the middle schools. The other middle school buildings are getting picnic pavilions added for more outside learning time. 

Phase 2 is a renovation for Thomas Worthington High School and a plan to replace one to two of the elementary buildings. Phase 2 will also work on the High School enrollment rebalancing. The phases strive to show the importance of the community voice. 

Worthington Schools will have an estimated 11,000 students start on August 18th. Last year, due to Covid, there was a dip of about 300 students but over the summer, they have had around 500 new students enroll. The goal at the end of last year was to return to school everyday and that goal has been met. There was even summer school in June. On July 9th, while Trent was on vacation, the CDC recommended new mask guidelines for this year. Within two hours of that announcement, Dr. Bowers had recieved 30 emails about what the school would and should be doing. He stated that the CDC also makes guidelines about how much sleep to get and how much screen time students should have so to keep things in propective, how do you choose what guidelines to follow? What to you do when people refuse? 

Ohio lets the local suburbs make their own decisions. The state funding received this year is 6 million less than what could fund all the students. Suburban districts are tasked with raising the gap in funds themselves. What determines the decisions for Covid are the local health departments and the school boards. Worthington is a part of Columbus Public Health unlike the surrounding areas which fall under the Franklin County Health Department. This school year will start with K-8 wearing mask indoors and 9-12 with a mask recommendation. Trent shared that data has 60% of the 9-12 grade aged students are vaccinated. When a person who is vaccinated comes in contact with a person suspected on Covid, they do not have to quanuantine. This means they can continue to participate in school and activities. 

Moving foward, Dr. Bowers' main focus is to socially reconnect and rebuild a sense of belonging; to rebuild the community and the Worthington School staff. If you factor in the point that everyone is human and the opinions shared on social media platforms, no two people have exactly the same views and ideas. He shared that he thought doing online school and hybrid learning were the right thing to do at the time but he now is thinking otherwise because kids need to be together and they need to be in school. The same situation could happen with the mask guidelines. 

As for moving forward with Covid, Trent states, "no one really knows for sure."
 
To watch the full presentation, click here: https://youtu.be/bIG3HlqTS78

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