Chardon High School went to hybrid learning this week because of an increase in students and staff members being quarantined districtwide due to the coronavirus. That was just one of the many changes made by the school district in response to the rising local numbers in the ongoing pandemic.
As of early this week, there were 66 students and 26 staff members under quarantine in the Chardon Local School District, according to school officials.
“We have worked to maintain in-person instruction in the face of many challenges related to the pandemic,” Superintendent Michael P. Hanlon said. “Unfortunately, the impact on available staff is becoming increasingly difficult to address. I must emphasize that this is not due to the presence of active cases, but the ordered quarantine combined with the lack of substitute personnel.”
Geauga County early this week remained in the red zone, the second highest of the state’s four-level alert system based on coronavirus case numbers and rates of increase.
Given the number of quarantined staff at Chardon Middle School and Chardon High School, staffing levels and the ability to maintain school operations has been stretched to a point where the district is unable to maintain sufficient staff to operate programs effectively, school officials said.
As a result, the district is making changes. A hybrid model for the high school will be put in place through Nov. 24. Chardon Middle School will remain 100 percent in-person with the exception of grade five. That grade will be fully virtual through Nov. 13 due to the ordered quarantine of most teachers in that grade level, officials said. In-person instruction for grade five will resume on Nov. 16.
Munson, Park and Maple elementary schools and the Tiny Toppers Pre-K program will continue to conduct classes in person with no changes.
Though Geauga County is seeing minimal spread of COVID-19 in school buildings, Chardon officials expect the number of those under quarantine to increase.
“We credit this minimal spread in our schools to the health and safety protocols we have implemented and, most importantly, the work of our students and staff to minimize the risk of exposure,” Dr. Hanlon said in a letter to parents.
Active cases in Chardon as of late last week were 0.04 percent the district’s student population and 1.40 percent of the staff, according to school officials.
Health officials recommend a 14-day quarantine period for both those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as people who come in close contact with others testing positive for the coronavirus.
As of early this week, Geauga County recorded 1,203 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Statewide there have been 255,000 confirmed cases and 5,524 deaths due to the coronavirus.
The next board meeting is Nov. 16.