This has obviously been an ever-changing situation over the last few months and continues to develop with the new state-wide mask mandate from Governor DeWine. Our student’s health and safety are of utmost importance to all of us at Bridges. While we strive to satisfy everyone with our opening guidelines, we realize that there are many varying views concerning what is the safest course of action and that each family will ultimately have to determine what they are comfortable with.
If the current mask mandate for the entire state of Ohio is still in effect when we begin in September, we will obviously be required to wear masks at Bridges. Please refer to the order (which can be found here) for details and exemptions, which include medical reasons, lunchtime (eating and drinking), and participation in exercise in our physical education class. It is up to families to determine if their children fall under an exemption. If a student or teacher is not wearing a mask, we will assume they are exempt per the order. When the mask mandate is lifted, barring any other outside intervention, Bridges is not going to require masks while students are with us for school, but students are free to continue to wear a mask if they and their family would prefer. We respect that each family has different opinions on this issue and we support your right to choose what is best for your family.
Concerning social distancing, many of our classes are relatively smaller with 10 students or less, but it is not always feasible to maintain a six-foot distance from others at all times because of the room size and other circumstances, such as the science classes’ involvement with experiments and lab partners. Due to this, we will not be able to fully enforce social distancing at Bridges this year. Your student is welcome to maintain a greater distance whenever feasible in a classroom, but many rooms will not be able to be specifically set up with this in mind. We will simply do our best at distancing as much as space and class content allows.
We will be extra diligent about cleaning surfaces this year. Teachers will be cleaning tables and other hard surfaces like the doorknobs and chairs in the classrooms in between classes to help prevent the spread of illness, whether Covid or seasonal. Of course, we continue to recommend that your student wash their hands frequently during the day and we will have hand sanitizer available in the hallway at all times.
In light of the current pandemic, the health of teachers, students and staff will be taken even more seriously. Therefore, students and teachers should not attend Bridges classes with any signs of illness, and should be fever free (with no medical intervention) for 48 hours before returning. Teachers will be prepared to deal with these necessary absences, so please contact them as soon as possible. We urge you to take these recommendations very seriously as even the spread of the seasonal flu in years past has been very rapid among students.
If local schools determine that it is necessary to move all of their students to remote learning, the Bridges Administrators and Board of Directors will have discussions and decide how to proceed at that time. We are not a school and, therefore, are not under the same requirements and guidelines. However, if an order from the Governor specifically closes businesses as was done in the spring, we will have no choice in the matter. We do not anticipate this occurring but if that situation arises again, we will be prepared to continue just as was done last spring with the transition to online schooling.