This is one of a series of stories about how the school year is going at school districts in Ashland County.
ASHLAND -- Nearly three months into the 2020-21 school year, Crestview Local School District's Superintendent Randy Dunlap says it's going well -- considering the circumstances.
The district has recorded three positive COVID-19 tests -- two staff members and one student, according to its COVID-19 dashboard. Two have recovered before the last update on Nov. 16. These are cumulative numbers.
Since the beginning of the school year, 64 individuals have been quarantined. Of these, 26 have finished quarantine.
"For all that we are currently enduring, our year is going pretty well," Dunlap said.
The district did recently move its entire first grade class to a remote learning setting due to lack of available staffing from contact tracing.
Potential positive cases and quarantined status of staff members determines the district's instructional methods.
"We evaluate each on a case-by-case basis before we determine a plan of action that could potentially affect the daily instruction," Dunlap said.
The district, situated along Ashland and Richland County lines, relies on the Richland County Health Department for guidance. It also continues to follow the mask mandate and practice social distancing "as best it can," Dunlap continued.
Further, cleaning and sanitation procedures have been increased. Buses, too, mandate masks and are regularly cleaned, according to Dunlap.
"We have been continuously evaluating our distancing and trying to expand that whenever and wherever possible while doing our best to not take away from the instructional environment," he said.
The district hopes to keep school as "normal as possible" before, during and after the holiday season.
"We are hopeful that our community will continue their efforts in helping us to remain open," Dunlap said. "We rely on their due diligence to follow the guidelines and help us keep their children, and our staff, safe and in school for as long as possible."
Though challenging, he believes this school year is better than last. He feels it's preferable to transitioning to a fully remote setting as the district had for the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year.
"I believe that everyone is happy to be back in school and hopeful for a different 2021. We are working to make the time we have face-to-face with our students as normal as possible while making them feel as safe as we can," Dunlap said. "So much was missed in the spring that this is better than what happened to end the year. I am so proud of our staff, students, and community as we muscle our way through these difficult and trying times.
"I would say that the words resilient and persevering are very appropriate for our staff and students. I can honestly say that I believe everyone is happy to be around each other."
The district also offers a fully remote, online option for approximately 200 students who chose not to come back to the in-person environment.