The Chardon Local School District formed a back-to-school task force consisting of 30 staff members, parents and school board members, Superintendent Dr. Michael Hanlon announced last week.

“We recognized the need to have a broad-based input for the process of return to school, and therefore brought that group together to begin working on all of the aspects of what schools is going to look like in the fall,” Dr. Hanlon said after the May 18 board meeting.

Dr. Hanlon added that the ad hoc group is faced with more questions than answers at this point, at least until the state comes out with concrete guidance on opening schools in August for the 2020-2021 academic year. Dr. Hanlon said the guidance likely won’t be very cut and dry.

“There are unique considerations for each school district, so while we have these ‘guardrails’ that are being established by the state, they are just that. They’re guardrails. They’re not specific prescriptions for Chardon, and we’re going to have to ask, so what does social distancing, if that’s in play for classrooms in August, then what does that look like in Chardon?”

He said that part of the reason that the task force was created was to figure out which specific rules Chardon should put in place when it comes time to plan the reopening process, since Gov. Mike DeWine has made it clear that each district will have some control over which guidelines to use.

“My anticipation right now is that this group will have some recommendations for the board,” he said. “We really need to have recommendations by that June board meeting as far as what direction the board is going to go. There’s a lot of work to be accomplished to reinvent what school is going to look like in the fall and respond to all concerns and issues that are there.”

Residents can expect to hear more concrete news from the task force at that June board meeting, which will be streamed live on YouTube on June 15 at 6:30 p.m. pending any new public meeting directives from the state.

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