Chardon Local School District officials are turning their efforts to planning for the 2020-21 academic year, and have outlined possible models of operation, Superintendent Michael Hanlon announced at the Board of Education meeting on Monday.
He talked about a possible system of closures, with red being the most intense with 100 percent distance learning, yellow somewhere in the middle and green being the least harsh with 100 percent in-person instruction. The districts may have to move between each model as new information emerges or a spike in cases occurs, he explained.
To plan for the upcoming school year, Dr. Hanlon opened “enrollment” for parents who are interested in the “blue” model that would allow children to participate in distance learning entirely if families do not feel comfortable having their students in school buildings.
Ohio closed school buildings statewide in mid-March as one of the measures to control the spread of COVID-19. Students then engaged in distance learning to finish the 2019-2020 academic year. Districts are now mapping plans to open schools in the fall.
Dr. Hanlon added that the district is taking several steps to prepare for the upcoming school year while they await further guidance from the state, including evaluating personal protective wear inventory, purchasing additional sanitization supplies and looking at classroom capacities.
The board approved two required personnel policies related to the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, one for the medical and family leave act expansion and the other for emergency paid sick leave.
Treasurer Deb Armbruster told the board that the district has $25 million in its bank account. The foundation payment that the district must refund to the state has been reduced by $192,000 thanks to the 6 percent capacity in state foundation fund cuts imposed by the recently passed House Bill 164, she said.
Board member Karen Blankenship announced that the Chardon Schools Foundation has canceled its Firecracker 5K race, the second fundraiser they’ve had to nix this year.
Ms. Blankenship added that the foundation recently auctioned off several tickets for sporting events that have since been canceled due to COVID-19. Anyone who wishes to get a refund should contact Dave Jevnikar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During his student-staff liaison report, board member Guy Wilson said end of year activities either didn’t happen or looked different this year due to the global pandemic.
“Often we would talk about concerts and transition ceremonies,” Dr. Wilson told the board. “We’ve not been able to do that this year, but one nice thing I did see was I talked last time about the high school having student spotlights and they’ve included them also in elementary schools for students transitioning up to middle school.”
He said that the alternative end of year events went well, including the Chardon High School motorcade to celebrate graduating seniors and the screening of the school’s commencement video, which took place on May 23 at the Mayfield Road Drive-In Theatre.
“They were able to view the video with presentations and speeches for commencement, including watching themselves go on stage and receive their diplomas,” Dr. Wilson said. “A different but a nice end to the year for those seniors.”
The Chardon Board of Education will meet on June 29 to close the 2019-20 fiscal year via YouTube live. More information will be posted to the board page on the district’s website in the coming weeks.