Groveport Madison Schools seeing improvement in battle with COVID

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

The numbers indicate that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding just a bit in Franklin County and Groveport Madison Schools officials say this trend is reflected in the district.

“There’s a downward trend that we want to keep seeing,” said Groveport Madison Schools Superintendent Garilee Ogden.

Ogden told the Groveport Madison Board of Education at its Feb. 9 meeting that the COVID-19 positivity rate in Franklin County at last report was 17.3 percent, but as of Feb. 9, it had decreased to 8.1 percent. She said countywide COVID-19 cases had dropped from 550 per 100,000 people to 414 per 100,000. She said, as of Feb. 9, there were 13 active COVID-19 cases among Groveport Madison staff and students including five staff members and eight students.

Groveport Madison Schools staff was assigned Feb. 3, 4, and 5 for the initial COVID-19 vaccine to be administered and Feb. 24, 25, and 26 for the second dose of the vaccine.

Ogden said more than 80 percent of the district’s staff and bus drivers expressed their desire to be vaccinated.

According to Ogden, overall student enrollment in the district is down 67 from this same time last year.

“The kindergarten enrollment has slimmed, but we gained in other grades,” said Ogden.
She said the student attendance rate is 93.6 percent, compared to 93.2 percent this same time last year. About a third of the students, 2,155, are using the online Cruiser Digital Academy for their schooling while 3,782 students are using the hybrid blended learning model classes, which returned to the schools the week of Jan. 25.

“The return was smooth,” said Ogden. “Our teachers and students were ready and adjusted. I’m proud of our students and appreciate the support of our families.”

The decision to return to in-person classroom instruction was based on available information and ongoing communications with Franklin County Public Health. The district had been in a 100 percent remote online learning model since Nov. 18 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The hybrid blended learning model consists of students being split into two separate groups attending school two days per week and receiving online instruction three days per week. Under this model, half the students would be in the buildings simultaneously (approximately 15 students per classroom), which enables six foot social distancing to be in place.

Ogden said, as of now, the possible return to full classroom instruction any time soon is a “huge if” and that “it’s not really in the talks at the moment.”

She did indicate that, if a decision to return to full classroom instruction would be made sometime in the future, the district would give families a couple weeks notice before implementing it.

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