Shortage of bus drivers closes WCS schools; county’s districts take measures


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WILMINGTON — A shortage of bus drivers led to Wilmington City Schools (WCS) closing on Thursday with the district announcing via social media: “The transportation supervisor and district administrators have exhausted all options to be able to transport our Elementary and Secondary students without long delays in pick up and drop off. We hope to be able to resume normal school schedule on Friday.”

The high school’s spring musical “Singin’ in the Rain” originally set for this weekend has also been affected.

Theatre Director Ken Lydy announced late Wednesday evening: “We have been notified by the Wilmington City Schools Administration about the Governor’s strong recommendations about no mass gatherings. He also alluded to some harsher measures in regard to ‘orders’ about mass gatherings. The science behind this is called ‘Social Distancing’ and is a tool to reduce and slow the spread. The goal is to prevent overwhelming our infrastructure, as we have seen happen in other parts of the world.

“WHS Theatre Performances scheduled will be restricted to one performance. This special performance will only be held on March 12 (Thursday). It is limited to only two tickets for the cast and crew to invite close family or friends. Only those with the special ticket will be permitted to attend this special performance. All other performances will be cancelled. These guests may only attend if they are in good health.”

He also stated:

• If you are in an at-risk demographic (elderly, immunocompromised or have other health issues) for your protection, you should not attend.

• If you live outside the Wilmington/Clinton County community you should not attend.

• When in attendance, you should keep social distance. Please refrain from hugging, hand-shaking, and physical contact.

“All refunds will be made at a later date and information will be sent out regarding our refund plan,” Lydy added.

Also, the Wilmington Middle School Trust Camp slated to begin March 11 was cancelled and hopes are that it can be rescheduled.

The WCS district posted late Thursday morning: “We are asking our WCS families to closely follow our communications, as things are changing rapidly in Ohio. We continue to monitor the situation and are following guidance and direction from the Governor, CDC, State and Local Health Departments. Please continue to watch our District website, emails, and social media channels for updates as we monitor the situation in Ohio. Our website news feed has the most recent updates @https://www.wilmingtoncityschools.com/district-news .”

The Clinton-Massie website has the following “Alerts”, posted Wednesday, at the top of its home page:

“In an effort to be proactive, Clinton-Massie Local Schools is asking that by the end of the day on Thursday, March 12th, students take home all books, materials, and supplies required for learning. Please consider sending an extra bag to school to help your student transport these materials home with them. The district is assessing and revising its plans on a daily basis as this situation rapidly changes. Just to reiterate, at this time, no school closure is imminent after Spring Break. This is a proactive and preparatory step only.”

A Clinton-Massie Instagram posted Tuesday stated the following:

“It is best for our students that the adults provide them with support, normal routines, and keep them engaged in their learning and extra-curricular activities. To support this mentality, until further notice, we are proceeding with all activities as scheduled unless canceled by the hosting entity.”

At East Clinton Schools, Supt. Eric Magee said Thursday that no new, non-essential field trips will be scheduled. Any currently scheduled field trips will be evaluated individually to determine whether they are necessary or not.

East Clinton officials were working Thursday on a statement for parents and guardians that will be released either later in the day or on Friday.

The statement will include some plans on how to proceed. Officials, said Magee, are looking at activities and gatherings, and determining whether they need to be held, and if so, aim to have them held in a safe manner.

As for athletic events, East Clinton is looking to the Ohio High School Athletic Association for direction. Magee noted most spring athletic events take place outdoors.

EC also is following the leadership and direction of the local health department, he said.

Parents and guardians can look to East Clinton’s website and social media as more details firm up.

The high school has already staged its spring play, remarked Magee.

Keep healthy

Wilmington City Schools has issued the following advice for all students and parents:

“Dear Wilmington Families,

Our teachers and principals have been working hard to reteach and reinforce to our students the importance of handwashing and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. It is also important to know when to stay at home when you are sick. These are the things that we have the most control of in preventing the spread of germs. With the pending spread of the coronavirus we have been communicating this with our students over the last several weeks.

• Handwashing — Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Students need to know that germs get into our body most often through touching our face – eyes, nose, mouth and to try a avoid rubbing their eyes, etc

• Coughing and sneezing — Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of the tissue or cough/sneeze into your upper sleeve.

• Feeling sick — Stay at Home: Just like the flu or the common cold, if your child has a fever or cough, they should remain at home until they are fever and cough free for 24 hours without medication.

We are monitoring the status of the coronavirus. We will work closely with and follow direction from our health department for decisions if we need to take any measures for health protection. We will communicate any specific plans for Wilmington by using email, auto-dial, website and social media. At this time, we are proceeding with normal routines.

Our staff is working hard to provide the needed support when students feel anxious about all of the news they hear. The best thing is to reassure them that they are in safe hands at school and home and that experts are making decisions. It is best for our students that the adults provide them with support, normal routines, and keep them engaged in their learning and extra-curricular activities.”

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News Journal

State wrestling postponed

For more, see Sports, Page 11.