Safe Return to School

Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides federal resources to support states and local school districts. Recent federal guidance clarifies expectations for states and districts, including the development of plans that must be approved by the U.S. Department of Education before the remaining one-third of the federal funds can be allocated. 

The federal template includes a requirement that districts and community schools receiving American Rescue Plan funds must publish local “Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plans” by June 24, 2021. 

The elements of our plan are detailed below, and can also be viewed as a PDF at this link.

Policies for Incorporating Mitigation Strategies

Universal and correct use of masks    

  • All staff and students were instructed on proper mask wearing and were required to wear a mask.  

  • We integrated “Wash Up! Back Up! Mask Up!” into our PBIS implementation.      

  • Masks will be optional for staff and students for the 2021-22 school year unless our health partners from Lorain County Public Health, MercyHealth - Lorain, and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine advise otherwise.

Physical distancing    

  • We were remote for the first semester.  

  • For the second semester we used a hybrid model where no more than half of our students were in-person at a time.  

  • Our students and staff were spaced six feet apart from preschool through 12th grade. Markings on the floor ensured that desks and movement in the hallways kept staff and students six feet apart.    

  • We will return to regular spacing for the 2021-22 school year unless our health partners advise us otherwise.

Handwashing and respiratory etiquette    

  • All rooms and communal spaces in our schools were equipped with sinks or hand-sanitizer stations.  

  • Our drinking fountains were also turned off for the school year.  

  • Scheduled hand-washing was integrated into transitions during the day.    

  • We will keep the hand-sanitizer stations for the 2021-22 school year.


  • Cleaners were scheduled to disinfect surfaces throughout the day.  

  • When we had a staff or student who was COVID positive, the entire room was disinfected with a misting spray.    

  • We will return to regular cleaning procedures for 2021-22 unless our health partners advise us otherwise.

Contact tracing    

  • We developed our own contact tracing process in partnership with our health partners and CDC guidance.    

  • We will discontinue contact tracing for 2021-22 unless our health partners advise us otherwise.

Educate on when to stay home    

  • We developed multiple communications throughout the year on COVID symptoms and when to stay home.  

  • Our communications included town halls with our health partners, videos, web-resources, and print-based resources.    

  • We will continue to educate on when to stay home for the 2021-22 school year.

COVID testing    

  • We designed and implemented a rigorous COVID testing procedure in partnership with our health partners.  

  • We used PCR tests to test our athletes and coaches weekly, any staff member who wanted to participate weekly, and a random sample of students weekly.  

  • We discontinued testing staff two weeks after our second vaccination, and we discontinued testing our students the last full week of school.  

  • We administered 8,167 tests and had a 0.77% positivity rate.    

  • We will discontinue COVID testing for 2021-22 unless our health partners advise us otherwise.


  • In partnership with the Lorain County Health Department we hosted 14 vaccination clinics for our staff, students, and community.  

  • We had 93.2% of our staff vaccinated.    

  • We will likely offer another mass vaccination clinic for our students, community, and staff in August before school starts.

Plan to Address Continuity of Academic and Non-Academic Services

Lorain City School District recognizes that all students and their families have been impacted by the pandemic unlike no other crisis during our lifetime. All of our students have been vulnerable during this unprecedented time. Also, we realize that students who encountered learning progress challenges prior to the pandemic faced challenges during the pandemic as well and that these challenges were likely exacerbated during the past year. Students and families in our district have been met with a wide range of non-academic barriers throughout this time. As a district, throughout the pandemic, we have invested time into personally connecting with and surveying our families to help us understand their needs so that we can serve through an equity lens. We will continue this personalized outreach as we continue to support our students’ learning pathways, social/emotional needs, and non-academic barriers. 

The following services and programs are being developed in response to this feedback, and will continue to be evaluated through ongoing stakeholder input:


Increased Access to Technology | The Lorain City Schools will be expanding technology learning resources to those we serve in the following ways:

  • Students: This fall all students will be provided with a personal ChromeBook, which will facilitate learning both in the classroom and at home. Please note that while learning will be held in-person this fall, students will be able to take their devices home so that learning can continue beyond the school day, on days in which they cannot be present at school, and during school closures. 
  • Staff: Beginning this summer all staff will be provided with a personal MacBook to replace the district's many antiquated and malfunctioning devices. This shift will also ensure all staff are universally accessing the same electronic platform, improving our ability to share documents, collaborate online, and support one another through our own professional learning needs.
  • Community: We are exploring a partnership with the City of Lorain, Lorain Public Library System and others to provide free city-wide internet, helping to resolve accessibility inequities that have plagued our community for decades.

Extended Learning | The Lorain City Schools offered Summer Camp programming at every grade level to deliver face to face, hands-on opportunities that deeply engage our students beyond the school year. This approach is particularly important to our district as we seek to re-establish relationships and routines after a year in which our students spent the first semester of the year in a remote learning environment and the second semester of the year in a hybrid learning environment.   

  • Participation: The program was open to all district students as well as those needing targeted support based upon, but not limited to: Attendance rate (K-12); NWEA MAP and iReady diagnostic scores (K-8); Academic course achievement (9-12); Recommendation of Administrator, Teacher, School Counselor, Social Worker, etc. (K-12). We are pleased to share that alSummer Camp seats were filled before the regular school year concluded.
  • Free to all: Summer Camp participants benefitted from free enrollment, free meals, free transportation, free before and after care, and free field trips. 
  • Partnerships: National Inventors Hall of Fame, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Lorain Historical Society, among others.

Expansion of the Arts  |  The Lorain City Schools have experienced a challenging financial past, resulting in major cuts to personnel, services and programming. As is often the case when cuts must be made, fine arts were among the first to go, even as there is overwhelming evidence that the arts have a dramatic positive impact within schools. Abundant research tells us that students who participate in the arts are more likely to graduate on time, have higher measures of self-efficacy and tend to score higher on state tests. We are rebuilding our arts experience in the following ways: 

  • Providing additional Visual and Performing Art teachers so that all students have access to fine arts programming
  • Increasing the district budget for Visual and Performing Arts, ensuring programs are abundantly resourced for student exploration
  • Increasing opportunities for extra-curricular arts programming by funding teacher supplementals that extend arts opportunities beyond the school day

Increasing Wraparound Services | Currently, MercyHealth - Lorain provides an array of basic medical services to students, families and community members through a medical clinic within Washington Elementary School. In response to family and community feedback, our schools will further expand wraparound services to include:

  • Hiring additional social workers to help students, families and teachers address problems such as truancy, social withdrawal, overaggressive behaviors, rebelliousness, and the effects of special physical, emotional or economic problems. Social workers will also be called upon to help address issues such as substance abuse and sexuality issues in the higher grade levels
  • Establishing partnerships to provide additional supports including dental care, vision care and mental health support
  • Organizing Community Resource Rooms within our schools to safely and privately connect students and families to needed supports such as free legal aid, housing, financial supports, clothing, hygiene products, cleaning supplies and similar needs
  • Hiring staff to implement and oversee the above services including an Executive Director and Director of Wraparound Services

Secondary Learning Continuity |  The secondary learning team is extending and expanding coursework for students grades 6-12 through the following initiatives:

  • Adding staff to teach high school courses at the middle school level, providing students in grades 6-8 with learning experiences in career technical education, early college, foreign languages, and extracurriculars previously offered only at the high school level
  • Adding supports to our Success Academy alternative school so that students enrolled in this program have access to more robust coursework beyond English, Math and Social Studies.

Periodic Review

This plan has been incorporated into the district’s "We Believe" Strategic Plan and will be monitored monthly by the District Leadership Team (DLT), consisting of representatives from all stakeholder groups. All elements of the plan will be measured by both student progress and adult implementation indicators. Progress will be measured quarterly with adjustments made to the plan as needed based on both qualitative and quantitative data.

Public Input

Between June 2020 and May 2021, Lorain City School District has surveyed families and staff to help us understand their needs so that we can develop this plan to provide mitigation strategies to ensure a safe return to school and to develop strategies to address academic and social/emotional needs that have been created due the pandemic. 

A plan update will be provided at each Board of Education meeting with an opportunity for public comment and input. At any time, all stakeholders can also provide input via the link below. Feedback will be reviewed by the District Leadership Team and considered when making revisions to the plan. 

Provide Public Input Here

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