Talawanda schools set mask guidelines for school year

By Chloe Price

When Talawanda schools begin classes on Aug. 18, masks will be required for students and staff in the three elementary schools and optional for those in middle school and high school, the district announced this week.

The reason for this distinction is because there is no vaccine approved for the ages in elementary school. Whereas students and staff in the middle school and high school are of ages that are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“Over 80% of our staff has been fully vaccinated. However, we do not know who has gotten it due to HIPAA laws,” said Holli Morrish, director of communications and public relations for the district. “We have also had staff who have wanted to get the shot but were not eligible because they were recovering from COVID-19.”

The school district has also held vaccination clinics where students over 12 could also be vaccinated if they wanted to.

“Parents have the right and authority to choose if their child gets vaccinated,” Morrish said. “Vaccination clinics have been available and all of those dates have been sent out to the parents to let them know when they are.” 

The school district’s blog also is promoting a free vaccination clinic that will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Butler County Fairgrounds, 1715 Fairgrove Ave., in Hamilton. No appointments are necessary and free $50 gift cards are being distributed, through the state’s “Get The Shot” program to all those who get the vaccine.  

Students attending Talawanda High School, Talawanda Middle School, Bogan and Kramer Elementary Schools will start on Aug. 18. 

Meanwhile, the first day for students at the new Marshall Elementary School will be slightly delayed because of construction issues, Morrish said. 

“They will start a few days later,” she said. “Next week we have an inspection and that will give us more information on when we can bring students in.” 

The start of classes at Marshall Elementary School will be delayed for “a few days,” until final inspections are completed of the new construction, seen here in the background. Observer File Photo

The new school is immediately adjacent to where the old Marshall school stood on US 27. The old building was demolished over the summer.

High School students will start their days at 7:45 a.m., and get out at 2:50 p.m. However, on Wednesdays they will be dismissed at 2:05 p.m. Middle school students will start at 8 a.m., and dismissal will be at 3:05 p.m. On Wednesday’s they will leave at 2:20 p.m. The hours on Wednesdays are different due to teacher in-service days that occur district-wide. 

All elementary schools will begin class at 9:30 a.m. and go until 4:15 p.m. Although they will be dismissed early on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. to allow for teacher in-service days.

An orientation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the high school for freshman and new students on Aug. 11. An upperclassmen open house will be held Aug. 16 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the high school. The school district’s website, www.talawanda.org, has detailed information on what the school will do if there is a breakout of the coronavirus.

Talawanda announced in July that it has no plans to offer any virtual learning options this school year.