•  East Knox Board Of Education
    23201 Coshocton Road
    Howard, OH 43028
    Phone: 740.599.7000 x1002
     
    Board Office Fax: 740.599.5863
    7-12 Building Fax/Guidance: 740.599.6815
    K-6 Building Fax: 740.599.6397
     
     

Upcoming Events

  • There are no upcoming events to display.

View Calendar

Financial Headlines

  •  PAFR  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

Superintendent Welcome Page

  • 17 October 2021

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

    Knox County Schools received the following updated guidance from Knox Public Health on Friday:

    The proposed “modified quarantine” applies to K-12 students that have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19;

    The K-12 student may ONLY attend in-classroom if both of the following are true:

    -The student remains symptom free (asymptomatic);

    -The student wears a mask while in-doors, or unable to socially distance if outdoors, for the entire duration of their quarantine;

    A student required to quarantine may not participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, band, social clubs, during their quarantine period even if they are able to attend school using the modified quarantine guidelines presented.

    Students who are unable to wear a mask for any reason during their quarantine period may not attend school and must stay home for the duration of their quarantine. ď‚· If a student develops any symptom(s) consistent with COVID-19; headache, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, fever or chills, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea:

    -And tests positive using either a PCR or antigen test, the student must stay home and isolate for a minimum of ten (10) days from the start of symptoms providing they demonstrate improvement in their symptoms;

    -And tests negative using either a PCR or antigen test, the student should remain home until symptoms improve and the student is fever free without medication for a minimum of 24 hours;

    -And does not test, the student must stay home and isolate for a minimum of ten (10) days from the start of symptoms and the student’s symptoms improve and remain fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.

    Role of Schools Officials School officials that opt in to the modified quarantine must demonstrate a commitment to the following:

    -The district must have a policy and/or procedure in place to monitor for symptoms of students under quarantine while in classrooms.

    -The district must cooperate with public health authorities in matters of isolation, quarantine, and recommendations for exclusion.

    -Parents of students identified as a close contact in a school setting will be informed of the known exposure and will be provided the option outlined above. In the event the family chooses to quarantine at home, that shall be acceptable without punishment.

     

    29 September 2021

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

       Please see East Knox's endorsement letter below regarding Knox Public Health Commissioner Julie Miller's letter to state leadership.

    Sincrely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt

     

    September 29, 2021

     
    Dear Governor DeWine, Dr. Vanderhoff, Mr. Himes, Rep. Carfagna and Sen. Brenner,
     
       The East Knox Local School District Administration has worked hand-in-hand with Knox Public Health for many years, but even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cooperation between our two entities is instrumental in ensuring the safety of our students, staff and community. East Knox fully supports  and endorses the letter KPH Commissioner Miller sent you on September 16, 2021 (attached). We urge you take action immediately to implement Ms. Miller's suggestions as soon as practical.     
       Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns regarding this issue. We look forward to continued leadership at all levels as we strive to educate our children through sustained in-class instruction in a safe environment. 
     
    Sincerely,  
     
    Steve Larcomb, Supt.
     
    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Julie Miller <jemiller@knoxhealth.com>
    Date: Thursday, September 16, 2021
    Subject: Schools
    To: bruce.vanderhoff@odh.gov, "Himes, Lance" <Lance.Himes@odh.ohio.gov>, Rick Carfagna <Rep68@ohiohouse.gov>, Andrew Brenner <Brenner@ohiosenate.gov>

    Dear Governor DeWine, Dr. Vanderhoff, Mr. Himes, Rep. Carfagna and Sen. Brenner,
     
    I will preface my email with a note of appreciation to each of you for your service to the state, your compassion and concern for all Ohioans, and your leadership throughout the past 18 months. I may not have agreed with the decisions you made or guidance you provided but I have trusted that you and your teams were making those decisions based on the best available research or evidence-based practice known. Unfortunately, my trust in current decisions has begun to waiver as I have had to lead my team of dedicated public health professionals through a pandemic with the ever-changing guidance, orders,  and rule & law changes that you have made and expected our team to support and/or enforce without question. I know that the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners and other public health professionals have asked for changes to be made to the K-12 guidance and contract tracing guidance to alleviate the burden on our local public health systems. 
    I am writing today, to ask that you strongly consider making changes to some processes related to this pandemic in support of AOHC and others. I am sharing concerns and providing  solutions in order to demonstrate my commitment to Knox County and its residents.
     
    1) Change Covid-19 from a Class A to a Class B disease. I do not know all of the steps that must take place to make that happen however, our contact tracing personnel are exhausted - meaning we are at capacity even with outside temporary staff & volunteers & we are physically and mentally exhausted. State provided assistance through PCG is also lagging behind. We also question how effective contract tracing is at this point in time? With addition of rapid at-home testing capabilities that are not proctored or under the direction of a health professional now available broadly, any contact tracing efforts are a mute point, since the majority of individuals who test positive do not know to report to their local health department or choose not to notify us. Ohioans already know what to do or know where to find the guidance for quarantine and isolation. Making this change will allow us the opportunity to take our time to work with positive cases and reduce the load on our already overwhelmed local public health system. 
     
    2) Move to new guidance for K-12 schools in Ohio that allows quarantined/close contact students who are asymptomatic return to school masked. The number of quarantined students in our jurisdiction that are missing in person education and who can and should be in school is substantial. Every day we hear from frustrated school administrators, faculty, parents of students and others that believe we, Knox Public Health, are keeping their children, who are not ill, from school and that those students are suffering mentally, emotionally and educationally. I am aware that there is a "pilot project" being done in Warren County that involves masking asymptomatic students. Because of the publicity of this pilot project, I have been told and some evidence provided to me, that other Ohio school district boards of education are choosing to issue guidance for their districts that allows for this very thing. The movement of other school boards of education is ultimately causing our local school boards to consider doing the same. I have advised our school boards that Knox Public Health cannot support that move should they make it and that they would be defying the legal authority given to the Knox County Board of Health to quarantine close contacts of Covid-19 positive cases. I have already called our county prosecutor about this issue and he feels that the Knox County Board of Health has more authority in the guidance and orders for communicable disease than does a Board of Education. I DO NOT want this to turn into a legal dispute between our agency and our local schools who have been such great community partners prior to and during this pandemic. Something has to change. 
     
    I know that I am not the only health commissioner dealing with these very issues and that you have heard from others before me. It is now time for me to communicate the thoughts and concerns of myself, my team, our school partners  (copied on this email) as well as our Board of Health (copied) to you and ask that you consider the changes I have presented. Knox County and Ohio need these changes. 
     
    Please stay healthy and safe.
     
    Respectfully, 
     
     

    Julie Miller, RN, MSN
    Health Commissioner

     

     

    3 September 2021

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

    Please be advised that East Knox staff members continue to observe COVID-19 protocols that were originally established at the start of the 2020-2021 school year and re-established effective August 20th. Protocols that remain in place include, but are not limited to:

       1. Parents of students attending school should supply their student(s) with a minimum of two masks/facial coverings per school day. The decision for reusable versus disposable masks/facial coverings is each parent’s decision.

       2. Students in Grades K-12 are required to wear a mask/facial covering at all times while riding a bus.

       3. Parents who drop off their student(s) at school should ensure the student(s) is wearing a mask/facial covering upon exiting the vehicle.

       4. Students in Grades K-12 and all adults are required to wear a mask/facial covering when entering and/or exiting a school building. Teachers and/or Principals may allow students to remove their masks/facial coverings when social distancing of 3’-6’ separation can be             maintained especially during classroom time.

       5. Masks/facial coverings are not required inside of buildings when a person is seated and a minimum of 6 feet separation can be maintained.

        6. Mask breaks are provided as needed when students are settled into their classroom seats at each teacher’s discretion.

        7. Parents/students and staff members need to continue conducting health/safety checks every day before coming to school. Students and/or staff members who have a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees or exhibit signs of illness (cough, sore throat, body aches,              etc.) should stay at home.

        8. Students may be subject to a temperature check upon entering a bus and/or school building. Students who have a temperature at or above 100.4 or exhibit signs of illness anytime during the school day will be dismissed and should be picked up immediately. Note:                Please do not have your child go to school and “try” if he/she is feeling ill.

        9. Staff members may be subject to a temperature check upon entering a school building. Staff members who have a temperature at or above 100.4 or exhibit signs of illness anytime during the school day will be dismissed as soon as practical.

        10. Hand sanitizer should be available in high traffic areas including, but not limited to, building entrances, classrooms, cafeterias, and school buses. Everyone should wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer when entering a building a periodically throughout the day.

        11. Restrooms are sanitized after Elementary recesses and Junior/Senior High lunches using approved disinfectants and/or wipes labeled and/or approved for use against COVID-19.

        12. Buses are sanitized after morning and evening routes using approved disinfectants and/or wipes labeled and/or approved for use against COVID-19.

        13. Recess equipment is washed and/or sanitized using approved disinfectants and/or wipes labeled and/or approved for use against COVID-19 after recess periods.

        14. Meals are served in the cafeteria whenever possible with 3 feet minimum separation. Cafeteria tables are washed and/or sanitized using approved disinfectants and/or wipes labeled and/or approved for use against COVID-19 after each lunch period.

        15. Classroom table surfaces are washed and/or sanitized using approved disinfectants and/or wipes labeled and/or approved for use against COVID-19 during the school day when possible if students are not present in the classroom and at the end of each school day.

    As always, the Administration continues to monitor and make adjustments as needed to enhance the possibilities of students continuing in-class instruction.

    I hope you have a great Labor Day Weekend!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

     

    August 29, 2021

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

       As you may know, East Knox implemented a facial covering/mask requirement in accordance with Board policy in the first week back to school. The reason for this decision is quite basic. Students and staff wearing facial coverings keeps students in school instead of sitting at home in quarantine. Within the first few days of the new school year, East Knox had approximately 35 students quarantined due to close contact exposure at school. It was quickly evident that quarantine numbers would continue to escalate if decisive action did not occur.

       The facial covering/mask requirement isn’t a political statement. It’s not commentary on whether or not they prevent COVID transmission. It’s not commentary on the effectiveness of vaccines or whether or not people should receive them. It’s about ensuring our students have the opportunity to remain in the classroom for instruction which is where they should be. Plain and simple.

       Quarantine rules are in effect by Knox Public Health (KPH) in accordance with Ohio Revised Code 3307.08 regarding contagious diseases. Anyone who is deemed to be a close contact to someone else who tests positive for COVID are quarantined as a result. Under current KPH rules, students (and/or adults) are not considered a close contact if they were wearing a facial coveing/mask when a person who tests positive was also wearing a facial covering/mask at the time of potential exposure in most cases. As of today, 53 Junior/Senior High School students and 10 Elementary students remain in school instead of quarantine because the facial coveriing/mask requirement is in place.

       The Administration will continue monitoring the pandemic as it relates to our schools and make further adjustments as the school year progresses. That’s the update for now. As always, thanks for your time.

     Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

     

    August 19, 2021

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

       East Knox received further guidance from Knox Public Health this morning regarding individuals testing COVID-19 positive as well as those who are found to be close contacts. Just this morning alone, East Knox staff notified the parents of over 15 students to come pick up their quarantined student due to close contact with someone testing positive and the list has grown since then. I wrote in earlier communications this month that East Knox would adjust COVID protocols as needed. Unfortunately, we are already at that point after three instructional days.

       Effective tomorrow morning (Friday, August 20th), East Knox returns to the indoor mask rules that were in effect during the 2020-2021 school year. Anyone entering an East Knox building is required to wear a mask due to rapidly rising quarantine rates amongst our students and staff. Masks will continue to be strongly encouraged at outdoor events, but will not be required at this time. We will continue to evaluate the situation and make further adjustments either way as the data leads us.

       East Knox did not start a separate online school this year. However, the District did purchase the APEX online program for Grades 7-12 again. This program is meant to provide flexibility for temporary learning situations such as medical issues, credit recovery, etc. The current quarantine situation should certainly qualify for course enrollment. Parents of students in Grades 7-12 should contact our Guidance Department at (740) 599-7000 extension 2004 to enroll their student if interested. Students enrolling in APEX will need to remain in the program for the duration of the first semester to ensure they receive credit towards graduation requirements. Please keep in mind that it may take several days before your student's online schedule is activated due to the numerous class scheduling activities already taking place with new student enrollments.

       Our District's goal is to keep students in school. Wearing masks will hopefully greatly reduce the number of close contacts requiring quarantine. We will continue to evaluate the situation and make further adjustments either way as the data leads us.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

    August 5, 2021 

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

         As you may recall, I previously communicated on July 27th that facial coverings (masks) will be required on school buses until further notice regardless of whether or not individuals have been vaccinated. 

         I also wrote that health officials highly recommend that anyone not vaccinated should wear a mask inside a school building as we did last year. This is a recommendation and not currently a mandate.

         However, please be advised that quarantine rules are still in effect in accordance with Ohio Revised Code 3307.08 regarding contagious diseases. Anyone who is deemed to be a close contact to someone else who tests positive for COVID may be quarantined in accordance with recommendations from Knox Public Health. That means any student (or adult) not vaccinated and not consistently wearing a mask may not be able to attend school in person while in quarantine status which could last from 7-14 days. It is still currently the parent(s)’ choice whether or not your student wears a mask while inside the school building for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

         The fulltime mask requirement may be reinstated district-wide if average student attendance rates fall below 85% for five or more school days in a row or if otherwise mandated. The above may also be further adjusted if and when there are additional clarifications from health officials.

         That’s the update for now. We look forward to the first day of school on Tuesday, August 17th!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

     

    27 July 2021

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

         The East Knox Local School District has followed guidance from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to do so as the new school year commences.

         The ODH issued guidance yesterday that masks in schools are “strongly recommended” for anyone who has not been vaccinated. Please note that this is not a mandate. It is the parent(s)’ choice whether or not your student wears a mask while inside the school building for the 2021-2022 school year.

         The CDC issued a legal order on January 29, 2021 requiring masks to be worn on all public transportation (including school buses). This order continues to apply regardless of whether or not individuals have been vaccinated. Therefore, in accordance with the CDC order, anyone riding on a school bus will wear a mask.

         Please be advised that the above may be adjusted if and when there are further clarifications from ODH and/or the CDC.

         Unfortunately, there is no option for online education sponsored by East Knox this year due to problematic changes to online education put into law by the Ohio Legislature. Legislators would have us believe they did a favor in allowing school districts to create their own online school separate from the traditional school. They did not.

         One last thing that needs to be stressed is that the student code of conduct will be enforced. There will be no tolerance for anyone harassing another person about whether or not he/she is or is not wearing a mask.

    That’s the news for now. I hope you have a great remainder of your summer!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

    22 July 2021

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

         I reviewed the past few summers’ worth of Purple Pride articles as I sat down to write this. I laughed when I looked back on Summer, 2018 and compared it at the time to the Pax Romana- a time of relative peace in the Roman Empire that lasted a couple hundred years. Things have changed a bit since then. Commentary on this past school year cannot possibly be covered in a novel let alone a few paragraphs in this newsletter. It is truly incomprehensible on so many levels when reflecting on the gargantuan effort it took on everyone’s part to make the 2020-2021 school year happen at all let alone the success that it was.

         Every class leaves its mark. The Class of 2021 is no different. A few items of note include: 65% of the class had a 3.0 grade point average or higher; 21% of the class had a 4.0 grade point average or higher; first boys’ basketball sectional championship in 30 years; first baseball district championship in school history; and first back-to-back football playoff appearances since 1992-1993. The following statistic, though, is the most important. This class has a 100% graduation rate! Not a single classmate left behind in a year of global pandemic. That is quite an accomplishment!

         East Knox staff retention rates have fallen from 16% annual turnover during our fiscal emergency in 2015-2016 to around 4% since then after voters approved the 10-year operating levy. We have an uptick this year as several of our veterans are embarking on the next chapter of their lives in retirement while a couple others sought employment closer to home. The Board recognized our retirees at the June 17th meeting. Honorees include: Donna Buckingham (26 years), Roxanne Berry (33 years), Corby Frere (34 years), Peggy Hardesty (26 years), Lois Jacobs (20 years) and Stephanie Warner (33 years).

         Our $19 million construct project continues full steam ahead. I had the honor on June 1st to tighten the last bolt on the first vertical column installed in the new building. The project to date has continuously captured two of my favorite phrases regarding the undertaking: on time and under budget. However, we are starting some supply areas of potential concern as we get deeper into the meat and potatoes of it all. For example, the contractor found it difficult to procure sheet metal screws for the decking, but prevailed nevertheless. We are also seeing supply shortages in areas such as paint. That is obviously an issue considering we want to paint the entire gymnasium this summer in addition to most areas of the rest of the 1994 addition. It continues to be a dynamic process that requires daily attention. Fortunately, our experiences with Elford Construction continue to be top notch.

         I look forward to another exciting and challenging school year as we educate our students. My guess is that we may have one of the larger Kindergarten classes in recent history as a number of parents kept their students home an extra year with the unknowns of the pandemic this time last year. I am not sure if it is Covid related or just that the nationwide teacher shortages we have heard about are now affecting Knox County. Either way, we are fortunate to find quality applicants though they have indeed been much fewer in number. As I write this, we still need to hire three special education teachers to start to 2021-2022 school year. However, I remain confident that we will be fully staffed and ready to go when students arrive for our first day of school on August 17th.

    That’s the news for now. I hope you have a great remainder of the summer!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb

    Superintendent of Schools

     

     

    18 June 2021

    Greetings,

        The Board and Administration recognized six retiring staff members at the 6/17/21 school board meeting. Together their experience adds up to 172 years at East Knox. Congratulations to Lois Jacobs (20 years), Donna Buckingham (26 years), Peggy Hardesty (26 years), Roxanne Berry (33 years), Stephanie Warner (33 years) and Corby Frere (34 years). Thank you for all you have done for our Bulldog community. We wish you much happiness and good health in the years ahead!

    Sincerely,

    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

    17 June 2021

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

    As the summer break continues, there is a complete revamp of the building-level Administrative Team for the 2021-2022 year due to resignations and retirement. Cody Reese is moving from the Elementary to take over as Junior/Senior High Principal. Joining Cody is our new Assistant Jr/Sr High Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Scott Brickner. Missy Moreland is the new Elementary Principal. We welcome Ben Snedeker as our new Director of Student Services.

     
    The campus is a beehive of activity with the 1994 Jr/Sr High renovations in full swing. As with all things, patience is the order of the day as our construction crews are working diligently to have that part of the building ready for our use again when school resumes.
     
    I hope you are having a great summer. Please be safe!
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Steve Larcomb, Supt.

     

    2 April 2021

    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

         I don’t know about you, but I sure am excited to have warmer temperatures and a real sense that we are about to shed not only the winter months, but also the malaise of the pandemic. People just seem to be happier and more patient as of late. There is a real sense of joy and cautious optimism as Pfizer, Moderna and now J&J vaccines are increasingly available in the U.S. I in no way judge those who do or do not get their vaccinations. Everyone travels their own path. However, I will say that I am thankful to get mine and even more so when my wife was able to get hers as well a few days later.

         The years continue to pass faster and faster as birthdays come and go. This past year has been both a blur and a long slog at the same time. What seemed unthinkable early last summer became the “normal” throughout the school year to date.  Knox County Superintendents spent many hours last summer (not to mention before and since) discussing how to educate students in a pandemic environment. At the time, a “red” county designation was thought to be a critical crisis point that would keep schools shut down. Now the designation is barely noticed as we live with it every day and adapt accordingly. That is a real testament to how we typically find work-around solutions when presented with an issue that cannot be immediately resolved.  Our students, staff and parents have been very cooperative in observing mask requirements and minimizing risk factors to exposure as much as possible as we continue all-day, every-day classroom instruction since last August 24th.

         In other news, our construction project continues on time and under budget. Our construction folks were only delayed about a week when we had that cold spell around the third week of February. Fortunately, those types of issues were built into the schedule. Building footers should be in the pour process by the time you read this. This summer will be an exciting time as progress will continue to move forward swiftly. I remember well, spending many days of my fourth-grade year watching an overpass built outside my second story classroom window. In some respects, I get to relive my youth as I have a front row seat from my office. The windows occasionally rattle and I wonder at times whether the bulldozer is coming on through the building, but I am not complaining one bit. It continues to be an exciting time at East Knox and I am grateful to be a part of it. Our students’ futures are incredibly bright thanks to you and this community.

    That’s the news for now. I hope you have a great spring!

    Sincerely,

     

    Steve Larcomb

    Superintendent of Schools

     

CLOSE
CLOSE