•  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
     
     

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Superintendent Welcome Page

  • 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

     

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