Loveland Magazine has reached out to local leaders asking them their thoughts about how to mitigate the possibility of Hamilton County being elevated to Alert Level 4 Purple in the State’s COVID 19 Pandemic Alert System. Hamilton County is on the watch list to go to the highest level, possibly by Friday.

Loveland Schools are scheduled to begin classes in 43 days on August 26.

Here is what we believe will be the mandate under the Level 4 Alert:

Hamilton County is on the State Watch list to possibly be elevated from the current RED Level Alert to the highest, PURPLE Level Alert. That destination would mean that the county is experiencing “Severe exposure and spread.” The order from the state would be, “Only leave home for supplies and services and Stay at home/necessary travel only.”

The invitation was sent to the School District Superintendent and all Board members, as well as the Loveland City Manager, the Mayor, and all councilmembers. We have received responses from two community leaders.
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Dr. Eric Schwetschenau and Dr. Kathryn Lorenz sent their thoughts. Lorenz is the President and Schwetschenau is a member of the Loveland Board of Education
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Dr. Eric Schwetschenau

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appreciate being asked for my opinion regarding the effect that the Coronavirus pandemic has on our community and our school system.

I would like to be clear that this is my opinion only. I cannot speak for the board or the school system as a whole.

I encourage everyone to watch the Board work session scheduled for July 15th at 6 PM where the back to school plans for this year will be discussed!

Governor DeWine has instituted many policies and systems in order to try to decrease the overall disease burden from this new threat to our public health. One of those systems has a strong possibility of being triggered this week, moving the alert system for Hamilton County from Red to Purple.

Over 100,000 Americans have died from complications associated with this novel virus. It is certainly difficult to keep up with the constantly changing environment and the multiple shifts in recommendations and advice from different sources. Due to this fact, there have been many contradictory and confusing opinions which have spread.

With my background as an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician I’ve spent my career dealing with respiratory illness as well as its spread and consequences. I hope that my advice is taken as being from a place of deep concern for community health. I would encourage anyone to read the guidance issued by the state for our schools.  https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/schools/K-12-Schools-Guidance.pdf

I believe it is fair to say that we would all like to see our children in schools as much as is safely possible in the upcoming year. None of us want to see schools become centers of disease spread for our community.

In order to best reduce the possibility of this event, we all need to do our best to keep down the overall number of cases. As we have seen in multiple countries, it is possible to drastically reduce and even eliminate community spread of this virus with appropriate safeguards and behaviors.

How do we do this? It’s simple. There are several methods that are well studied and well known to decrease transmission of respiratory illnesses. Although this virus is new and it’s behavior is still unpredictable, our behavior need not be.

1.  Wear face masks. This is especially important when in situations in which there is close contact for extended periods of time, and especially when that occurs indoors.

2.  Wash your hands frequently. Make sure that frequently touched surfaces are cleaned on a regular schedule.

3.  Social distancing helps. The exact number of feet you are away from someone is arguable, and open to interpretation. It has become commonly accepted that a 6 foot distance is a reasonable one due to the mechanical behavior of the respiratory droplets that appear to be the primary method of spread. This number is by no means perfect, but is the best ‘guess’ we have as to a safe distance at this time. Is 20 feet better? Sure. Is 3 feet ok? Maybe, in some cases, but not as safe as further distances…

Think of these three steps as layers of protection, just like bundling up in the winter. Each layer helps to decrease your likelihood of transmitting or catching this illness.

Can we do anything between now and Thursday to change the trajectory of the number of cases in the area? No, that die has already been cast.

Can we as a community make decisions that significantly decrease the spread of viral illness and get us back to low levels of disease? Absolutely.

Schools in Loveland are scheduled to start in 6 weeks. If our number of cases continues to increase it will be even more difficult to ensure safe and healthy schools.

I challenge all of us to be the best neighbors that we can be. Let’s do our best to keep our Loveland families and our community healthy.  Let’s do our best to get and keep our kids in school safely!

 


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Dr. Kathryn Lorenz

The Board has not met or issued a statement regarding the issue you raise. My response is simply as a citizen and an individual board member.

There is widespread thought in the Loveland community that schools should be opened for in-person instruction next month. I believe we all want what is best for Loveland students and staff, both for educational achievement and for the safety of all.
If a stay-at-home order is issued, schools cannot be open.
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I personally try to follow, as best I can, the guidelines regarding face coverings, hand washing and social distancing.

It is my hope that those efforts will help us as we seek to serve the Loveland community.

 

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