Part two of my “Flowers surviving in a Grandview alley” series. The allium managed to survive the concrete blocks stacked on top of it, and sent the flower up inside in defiance. I can find purple alliums online, and orange alliums, but a two-tone mix seems to be rare.
The Grandview school board is in session right now (7-22-20, 7:30 PM.) The plan for the new school year has not gone up for a vote yet, but given the board always follows superintendent Culp in his recommendation, it looks like it may be returning full time, but will start with a hybrid half day plan.
(July 29 – Culp is now following the lead of other FC schools and starting in the full time online learning mode).
(More than 200 parents are watching this board meeting as of 8PM)
Major changes will be required to make the school safe from Covid 19. All students, all staff and teachers, will be wearing masks full time (except while eating lunch). Sanitizer will be used often, work areas will be cleaned throughout the day. Plexiglass dividers will be placed between desks when possible.
The buildings will be off limits for all visitors – even parents will not be allowed inside. The lockers will be unused. The students will take packaged lunches from the cafeteria and return to the classroom to eat.
Culp said they will try to play sports as normal. Not sure how that can work. They are waiting for word from the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Pandemic levels may affect the school
The plan showed a graphic that indicated the school will return to full time in the school if the level of pandemic is at a low and medium level (the exact factors for these levels was not discussed). At higher levels the school would go to the Plan 2 – students will attend for half days, and do online learning the other half of the day. The highest levels of pandemic could force full time online for all.
The plan is for the pandemic levels to be taken from Grandview Hts. infection levels, and Franklin Co. The incidents of infection inside the school will be part of the data.
Parents may opt out of in person school
An option will be offered to parents who want to keep their kids at home, something called the Florida Virtual Learning online school plan will follow an online curriculum, supplemented by local teachers (not sure how that can work when the teachers will be full time with the regular classes).
There is some confusion over the online school the board is recommending, there is a Florida Virtual Academy and Florida Virtual School. This article explains the difference. I couldn’t tell which one the board was suggesting from the video. (Later – Florida Virtual School, as linked above, is the correct online school.)
The school will be sending an email out to all parents in the morning that includes all of the info presented during the board meeting. The recording of the board meeting will be saved on the school YT channel.
Other schools announce their plans
(July 28) “At a Tuesday news conference, Columbus City Schools Superintendent Talisa Dixon announced all students will learn online to start the 2020-21 school year. Columbus City Schools officials have abandoned their plans to partially reopen buildings to students to start the upcoming school year.”
The South-Western City School District, the second largest in the county, will be starting the 2020-2021 school year in a 100% remote learning model.
The Dublin schools (third largest) will start with the hybrid model.
July 29 change in plan – all online until pandemic levels change
The school was going into a hybrid plan with half of the students in the school at a time, which decreased the size of the classes and lowered the chances to spread Covid in the school. But the possibility remained that a kid would be infected, go to classes before he showed any symptoms, and spread the Corona virus to others. Testing would have shown the spread happened inside the school, and the school would have been shut down. This could have happened multiple times, wrecking havoc to schedules.
From Culp’s July 29 email:
Based on these new Franklin County Public Health recommendations and in deference to the sobering COVID-19 spread in Franklin County, unless something significantly changes, I plan to recommend to the board that Grandview Heights Schools begin the school year in full-time distance learning. … It is my intention to bring students physically back as soon as we are able based on improvement in the above outlined criteria and guidance from FCPH; therefore, I am not recommending a specific date to return to school. – Superintendent Culp
Furlough for teachers?
There are a number of private Facebook groups where discussion of the schools and board decisions are taking place. Apparently someone suggested that the Grandview teachers should be furloughed while the school is 100% online learning, so that the money saved could be returned to the taxpayers.
This plan was not supported by many, and caused outrage in some. I don’t know why anyone would take a suggestion like this seriously, there would be so many logistical and legal issues (including a lawsuit by the teacher’s union) that I wonder if this was some sort of prank.
Board votes at Aug. 1 meeting
The Grandview community garage sales will be returning July 11. I didn’t see a list of rules for the sales, but in the past the hours were 9AM to 3PM. There was also no C-19 rules for the sale, so you will need to follow the city rules for facemasks – any enclosed space will require masks. Social distancing will be hard in the small areas in front of sale tables, so do your best to keep your separation from others.
The studies I have read show that contact transmission of the virus is not that common, so you don’t need to wear gloves – but you should carry some hand sanitizer, and wash your hands after you return home. Leave your sale finds sitting on a hot back porch, or out in the sun, and any virus will be baked into submission.
Mayor Kearns joined the city of Columbus, and some other suburbs, and proclaimed that masks to protect residents from C-19 must be worn in all public buildings.
Section 7: I hereby direct all adult resident and visitors to wear a mask or face covering when inside a business or any indoor area accessible to the public, and when using public transportation, with the exception of those who have a documented medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering, to use their best efforts to maintain social distancing in outdoor spaces, and to promote mask usage by children where feasible. – from Grandview Hts Mayor Kearns, in her proclamation of civil emergency. Amended July 3, 2020.
Columbus, Bexley, Dublin and other cities in FC have already made mask laws. The county health board has asked the county commissioners to pass new rules for all of Franklin county.
County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola told the county commissioners during an emergency session Thursday evening that a blanket face-mask mandate for all areas under Franklin County Public Health’s jurisdiction (everything in the county outside of the cities of Columbus and Worthington) likely would be more effective, as opposed to differing requirements across cities, villages and townships. “We think it would be a much better approach,” Mazzola said. “It would certainly create a comprehensive policy for our community. We hope that the legal authority is there for us.” – from the Dispatch
The Grandview Board of Health said Covid-19 is here in our town
Watch the video recording of the June 25, 2020 meeting for the pandemic info in Franklin Co and our city. Joe Mazzola, Franklin County Health Commissioner, gave us the new numbers for the county. In the past, Grandview had so few cases of Covid that the exact number could not be announced because it could identify the individuals, risking violations of HIPAA laws.
As of June 25, there were 14 confirmed C-19 cases in Grandview Heights. Since the video is more than a week old, there may be more.
According to Mr Mazzola, there have been 25 to 30 new cases in FC per day for the last month. If the 4th of July holiday brings large family groups without masks together, he expects that number to increase.
Interesting data from Mazzola – FC will be adding 20 new full time contact tracing personnel, who are now in training.
There are no teeth in the mask laws
All of the mask laws and proclamations have easy to dodge qualifications. Simply saying “I have a medical condition that will not allow a mask” can be used – nobody will ask for a document. Police will not be issuing tickets (one of the worst groups for following the mask recommendations I have seen in public are the police).
However, this will give business owners full rights to demand anyone entering their doors to wear a mask. They always had the right to require masks, this proclamation adds to the authority they have to take temperatures, ask for social distancing, and use of masks.
Business owners can trespass non-compliant guests – and failure to comply can result in charges, the same as it always has been for owners who wanted disruptive people out of their business.
The Grandview Hts school board met in a special meeting via video conference on June 18th, discussing major changes in the school policy as they react to news about C-19 and how it will impact the school next year. How will they hold classes when the pandemic is still a hazard? Will kids be required to wear masks all day? Will the school hold split sessions, in alternate order to cut the number of kids in the school building? What about some children going to school in the morning, then returning home at lunch, and the second half of the class attending in the afternoon?
In the past, the board recorded the video of regular meetings and posted them on YouTube. But because the Ohio Open meeting laws doesn’t require these special meetings to be recorded, the board is in effect throwing the opportunity the keep parents informed about major changes in the next school year into the trash.
Many options discussed – except allowing the parents to see the board by video recording
The June 18 meeting covered three possible scenarios for the next school year. The school may continue to hold all classes via online learning with no students in the school buildings. This option was not discussed much, maybe because the board feels pressured to get kids out of the homes they have been restricted to since March. They are also reacting to the studies that show that school kids have been falling way behind since the schools emptied and online instruction has been forced on all children.
The second option is split school sessions. Half of the kids will have regular classes, while the other kids are doing online learning. Then the next day the second half will attend, and the first half will pretend to do their class work at the computer. This could be alternating days (good luck keeping track if your kid keeps alternating days of the week – every other week the schedule will be flipped).
It might be morning classes for some, while the other half attends in the afternoon. The idea of split sessions is to limit the number of kids inside the buildings, half the attendance allows more distancing between students.
The third option will be to throw all of the kids into regular classes, as before the pandemic, but with many rules to prevent transmission of the virus. I didn’t get the feeling this would happen unless the “magic end” to the C-19 happens through a mythical early vaccine.
Option two and three will require mandatory, all day wearing of masks, at all ages. Good luck keeping a class filled with fidgety first graders in their masks all day.
You needed to watch the meetings which are happening now, but you can’t because they don’t want you to
The video conference board meetings are allowed because of HB 197. All of the video conferencing services allow the user who starts the meeting to hit a record button, which can then be posted online. The board paid a camera person to record some regular meetings last year, but since the pandemic it has become simple to record and post all meetings by a few clicks.
But since the board doesn’t have to record special meetings, with video or audio, they feel free to toss the opportunity to post videos away.
They are required to allow attendance at special meetings, which means that they must post a link that allows you to attend the video conference as it happens in real time. A handful of parents were in the conference – less than 6. I would guess that 99% of all the parents didn’t even know the meetings allowed attendance.
Further proof – if the Grandview school board has an opportunity to close down accountability, restrict parent voices, and dive deeper into the bunker, they will make the wrong choice every time.
Protest marches in response to the Floyd police murder have been held in Columbus and suburbs for the last two weeks, Grandview has now held a march, called by the organizers “Ending White Silence: Protest & March”.
First video of the step off, more on the way.
The videos of the Columbus police engaging with the protesters marching in response to the police murder of George Floyd shows that some of them have learned nothing about appropriate use of force. Videos show U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio being pepper sprayed by Columbus Police during protest. Many other videos show reporters and others being sprayed, and police riding horses directly into crowds.
Residents of Grandview Hts. might think “that was Columbus cops, our officers are here at home”. Unfortunately all of the Columbus suburbs have signed mutual aid agreements with the Columbus police department, so they were required to help during the protests. These aid agreements are really needed by small departments like Grandview, a major emergency, like a toxic waste spill on the RR tracks, could require many times the personnel we could field. The flip side of the agreements might bring our police into dangerous situations where they have had little training.
I asked the PIO of the Grandview Hts police if our officers were called in to aid Columbus during the protests.
We responded to a mutual aid request on Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Columbus due to riots. We assisted with traffic control and had no direct contact with protesters or those rioting. – Officer Scott Bruney
Do you have any photos of Grandview police working the streets of Columbus during the protests? Please send them here to this blog, contact info in the “About” section.
What policy should Grandview Police change after the protests?
We have not heard any public comment from new police chief Ryan Starns since the murder of Floyd and the protests. I would like to hear how he has reacted to the actions of the Minneapolis officers, and how he thinks this could be prevented from happening here in Grandview.
I would like to know what policy the department has for restraint of citizens during arrests.
I would like to know how complaints against police officers are processed, and what outside review of complaints are available.
Body Cams are standard in Franklin Co. – except in Grandview Hts.
Minneapolis cop Chauvin didn’t have a body cam at the time he murdered George Floyd. Another officer named Thao did have a cam, but it isn’t clear what was captured by it, because he spent most of the near 9 minutes Chauvin kneed on Floyd’s neck facing away. It did record Thao asking if Floyd should be moved to his side, and clear intent to kill him when Chauvin refused to move off his neck.
I wrote about body cams in an older post, and noted that the spiked baseball bat wielding Grandview resident was restrained off camera (the only cam was in the car in front of the house). If the officers had used deadly force against Metters (and the police union said that he could have been justifiably shot), there would have been no video inside the house.
Grandview police need to update equipment and issue body cams to all officers on the street. If the response from Mayor Kearns has not changed, she will not be ordering the Chief to act.
If you were inspired to protest against the police abuse in the Floyd case, and want to see changes, let’s start here in our community. Call, send emails, to the Chief, the Mayor, and the Council. Demand that accountability is needed for all officers, and body cams are a vital part of that.
Photos taken at Pierce Field, Buck Park, and Wyman Woods, at the end of a Memorial Day weekend (See edit at bottom for news about a playground liberation group).
Somebody got tired of the closed playground equipment, fenced off since March 24 as a response to the Covid-19, and tore down the plastic fencing that was wrapped around the swings and slides. Although there was an incident with some fencing being pulled down weeks ago at night by kids, this looks more like exasperated parents who decided to revolt and retake the playground equipment.
There was rumor of a sign that had been left at Pierce field, something with the message “Open our playgrounds or give us back our taxes”, but
I could find no evidence (see below) of this sign. Three parks with similar ripped fences does point to some sort of coordinated group.
In the big picture, I don’t see this as much to get upset about. I don’t want to see the children of our city getting sick, but the stats say most will recover with minor harm. At this point, it seems inevitable that the corona virus will burn through most kids.
I’m more worried that kids who play on equipment that has ripped down plastic fencing around it will be taught a very unsafe lesson – that orange plastic fence can be ignored. That sort of fence is standard for many construction areas. It will result in tragedy if kids tear down a construction fence and end up at the bottom of a trench.
(Edit) Found an example of the sign that was posted near the parks that had fences torn down.
What do you know about the park liberation group?
I have been asking the Grandview Hts police some questions about the torn down fences and the signs which were posted at multiple locations (three on the fence facing Marshals, the pool, maybe more). The cops are being very tight lipped – because they were ineffective in patrolling the parks? Or did they see the fences being torn down, and turned a blind eye?
Were you part of the group that posted the signs?
What is your reasoning for tearing down the playground fences? Why post the signs? Did you try to contact the Mayor or the council members, and ask them to open the parks? What did they say?
Are you a Grandview resident who was in the parks while the fences were torn down? What did you see? Did you report anything to the police?
Use the contact form on the About Watching Grandview page (linked at top) if you would like to be anonymous. The form will ask for an email address, you can enter a fake one.
Active playground liberation group on Facebook
(edit 6-4-20) A Facebook group is organizing a playground liberation direct action this Saturday, June 6, from 10 AM to Noon. They are saying they will not refuse police orders if caught taking fences down, but will be out opening playgrounds and posting signs with a “take back our parks for our children” message.
I’m guessing that this facebook group is not the same people who opened Grandview’s playgrounds, because this group has no “return our taxes” messages in the comments. There are some people angry that “Karens” are taking photos and calling the cops during past actions.
(Edit) I didn’t see anyone protesting at the playgrounds. Maybe because DeWine is opening all outdoor playgrounds on June 10.
I sent this email to Chief Starns last week. As of 4-21, he has not answered any of the points I made to encourage the Grandview police to be good examples for PPE use. I do know that the department continues to have a “do what you want” policy for the officers.
I learned this week from an email with officer Bruney that the Grandview police department has no policy on facemasks and other PPE, it is left to each officer’s discretion when to wear a mask.
I think this is a mistake.
First, although some officers might be diligent, and wear masks for any interaction with the public, some will not. I think this is too important for a “do what you feel like” policy.
COTA busses now have rules that require all riders to wear masks. The Governor has asked us all to wear masks. A number of business are now requiring masks. We are still on the rising part of the curve – this doesn’t look like a time to be allowing less use of PPE.
Second, if the use of PPE is voluntary, are officers not wearing masks inside the police station? If so, the entire department – and all of the families of the officers – are now one large pool of potential sharers of the virus. One child might get infected, then give it to the parent on the force. That officer then returns to the department, and can spread it inside the building (because officers don’t wear masks). The entire department may become sick at the same time. This would be catastrophic for the city of Grandview.
Third, police officers act as examples of good behavior for the community. When we see officers wearing a mask as they drive through town – a cloth mask would be OK – that encourages us all to continue to protect ourselves and our families. When we don’t see a mask on the police, it allows those who “don’t think the virus is real” or are just tired of the masks, to use the example of the officers to slack on protection.
We are not past this pandemic, and we all need to continue the safe practices that will bend the curve. I don’t think a “do what you want” policy is helping the community.
(Edit) Houston, Texas is the next large city to require masks for everyone in public areas.
The R’s are the expected group who are opposing masks, but the police unions also are saying they don’t want to wear masks. I just can’t understand how a group which is supposed to be about protecting the public are trying to endanger it, because they are inconvenienced by masks?
(More) This article in the Atlantic covers the reasons we should all be wearing masks. The most important quote:
Models show that if 80 percent of people wear masks that are 60 percent effective, easily achievable with cloth, we can get to an effective R0 of less than one. That’s enough to halt the spread of the disease. Many countries already have more than 80 percent of their population wearing masks in public, including Hong Kong, where most stores deny entry to unmasked customers, and the more than 30 countries that legally require masks in public spaces, such as Israel, Singapore, and the Czech Republic. Mask use in combination with physical distancing is even more powerful.
Read the story! The important fact is that a cloth mask can stop you from spreading the virus, when you are asymptomatic and don’t know you are infectious.
(4-27) Gov. DeWine will be opening offices and retail stores on May 4, with the following rules:
Beginning May 4, DeWine said office workplaces can reopen, along with manufacturing, distribution and construction services. All businesses must follow strict health protocols if they choose to reopen, including a “no mask, no work, no service, no exception” requirement for employees, clients and customers at all times.
The governor cares enough about saving lives that he will require face masks – but the Grandview city council doesn’t care enough about our police force, and the citizens they meet, to require masks on the police officers?
(5-6) Massachusetts’ Mandatory Mask Order is now in effect. Anyone found without a mask in public will face a $300 fine.
(5-27) Ohio governor DeWine says wearing a mask is ‘about loving your fellow human being’
(5-28) New York Gov. Cuomo signs executive order that allows store owners the right to ban any customer that enters without wearing a mask.
My first quick scan of the video of the online conference the board held instead of a regular April meeting gave me the impression that they were novices at this video conferencing. On deeper scan, I saw a lot of shocking behavior – like wandering off during the meeting, zoning out, playing with a dog. The worst was Truett walking away from the meeting – while a report on finance was under way – so he could make a phone call. While he was supposed to be chairing the meeting.
Pretty sad first video meeting for the board, let’s hope they shape up.
This was the first video conference for the school board, so they are still getting up to speed on the technical issues needed to hold professional online meetings. Still, it has been weeks since most of us have been using zoom, and the board is making rookie mistakes, that can be corrected with minimal effort.
Mr Bode used a background substitution app to throw a Brutus Buckeye photo behind him during the board meeting. Although the rights to use that photo were probably open, since it came from this OSU webpage, doing this wrong can get your video booted off YouTube. Photos come from photographers, who want paid for their work.
YouTube has surprising skill in analyzing videos for copyrighted material, and a nearly impenetrable process for deleting videos (and whole channels for repeat violations). Ask the city of Grandview how that works – they had multiple strikes, then lost a YT channel.If Mr Bode’s background is not an open copyright, like CC, it is in violation of the rules. It might seem minor, but the wrong background photos can get your video, and channel, deleted.
Light is the key to good video
A number of board members have issues with lighting. Mr Guse is the worst, his face is completely dark, his camera is overexposed by the light from the windows behind him. Truett and Wassmouth have similar light issues. There should be no bright lights behind you during a video conference, or directly to your side. A wide light source should be in front of you, like a window.
Bringing your dog into the video was cute the first week of zoom conferences. We have long past that time. Wassmuth brings nothing but distraction to the board meeting by allowing her dog in the room. Yes, Ms Gephart, we all know you have long hair, playing with it and swinging it around every few minutes is as distracting as the dog.
Like the city council meeting, if you made a drinking game out of counting the number of times they touched their faces during the video, you would be passed out well before the end.
The right to speak before the board
Technically, Mr Truett was correct when he said that the board is not required by law to allow the pubic to speak at any part of the Grandview Hts regular board meetings. As he said – maybe in an effort to push the board into taking this action in the future – the board could just delete the page of the rules the board has set for itself, and hold all future meetings with no “Comments from Visitors” section of the regular meetings. That would be legal – and in violation of the spirit of the Open Meeting laws. It would also end a traditional practice that has been in place for a hundred years or more.
Mr Truett pointed out that the regular board meetings are not “hearings”, although there might be budgetary hearings that take place before the regular meetings. Those hearings ARE mentioned in SB197, the new law requires the ability “to converse with witnesses”. This requires a live presence in the same medium that the meeting is conducted. If the board is required to allow people into the online conference for hearings, it can simply extend the same option to any parent that wishes to speak before the board during the regular meetings.
The board did allow a representative from the construction company to join in the 4-8-20 video conference, he spoke live and we could see him on the video. The board can allow parents to join in and speak during meetings, they showed us they have the technical expertise to make it happen. The board simply doesn’t want to hear live comments from visitors.
Construction update from “Jay”
The board allowed someone called “Jay” to enter the video conference, with live video. He was never identified , other than “he has a construction update”, so we can guess he was from the company that is building the new middle school. I think this is a case of a video conference being too informal, the board would have at least stated his full name and title before a meeting in person.
A quick detour back to the issue of allowing parents to enter the video conference during the “Comments from visitors” section of the meetings. This “Jay” had no problems entering the video, then leaving after he was done. There is no technical reason why the board can’t also allow parents to speak – the board just doesn’t want to hear and see parents. Any time the board has the option to cut public input out of board meetings, they do it.
Jay said the construction workers would be maintaining six feet distance rules, per social distancing guidelines. Good luck with that – I have worked in construction, and know it will be nearly impossible.
The most laughable new policy for protecting the workers from Covid-19 is the “survey” the construction super takes each morning. The worker must attest they have not traveled, not been in contact with someone who is sick, and that they don’t have an elevated temperature.
Anyone who thinks a construction worker is going to honestly answer “yes” to any of these questions – when being honest will probably lead to a quick firing – doesn’t know how these workers operate. They have families to feed, and will try to hide any sickness they have right up to the point they can’t stop coughing long enough to do the work.
Constructions workers are treated as disposable cogs by the bosses, but the truth is, really skilled workers who know what they are doing, and don’t stand around BS’in with each other all day, are rare. We will not find a replacement supply from workers who lost their jobs while working in an unrelated field. This was acknowledged by Jay, he said the Corona emergency will likely cause shortages of workers, and materials, as the supply chain is disrupted.
This was the first time in the meeting at which they briefly discussed the effects of the pandemic on the construction and finances of the school. They should have done much more.
(Edit) The construction report was from Jay Tadena, Senior project manager for the new school construction.
Finance Report from the Treasurer
At 17:40, President Truett stands up and leaves the meeting in progress, at 20:17 in the video, Wasmuth leaves the conference to wander off and do – something? Bathroom breaks? This was highly insulting to the treasurer, and just would not have been allowed during a normal meeting. The video conference is not being respected by the board, and if they can’t keep their seats because they are too bored or fidgety, the president needs to use the gavel and bring some order to the meeting. Which Truett couldn’t do. Because he was one of the wandering off members.
Board chairman was on the phone during meeting
On further review – at 21:48, you can see a quick glimpse of Truett – he was on his cell phone, talking to someone. While he was supposed to be chairing a school board meeting. He doesn’t return to the meeting until 22:50. Not that it matters whether he was answering or making the call, I never heard a ring, so making this call was all Truett’s choice.
At 20:50, the treasurer finally gets around to mentioning the possible effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the finances of the school. This should have been a major part of the meeting – or even a new, special meeting. The economic effects of the corona recession will hit the school hard – but it is being nearly ignored.
Treasure Collier said she had been talking to other school treasurers, and thought the school would have little short term downturn in property taxes. The three year re-valuation is based on the first of the year numbers, so it will take three more years before property value dipping from recession will bring those property taxes down. What the board doesn’t discuss is the property re-valuation that can be done at any time, by special request with the Board of Revision . If the housing market crashes, homeowners in Grandview will be cutting their taxes well before three years.
Collier said there might be cuts in state funding, but said “it is all speculation at this point”. This was some ostrich level minimization of financial cuts that are for sure on the way.
A hint about my next board meeting email
I’m guessing the board will stop reading emails into the record for the next board meeting, but in case it continues, here is what I’m thinking about.
Pandemic isolation measures will continue. In My Evil Hour, I feel like we are headed into One Hundred Years of Solitude. The school board thinks it has the love of the parents for building a new school, but they will find the end Of Love and Other Demons will crop up – such as supply disruptions, and skilled labor shortages. When they must end the construction of the new school, it will be a Chronicle of a Death Foretold.