Though summer just started, families are wondering how their school districts will conduct classes for the 2020-2021 academic year. It is a fair question to ask since August, the traditional start date for many area public school districts, is just weeks away.
Parents must figure out how to balance their work with their children’s educational schedules. Will they need additional childcare at home? How will the days be structured?
Area public schools are making plans but waiting for additional guidelines from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, state health officials and the state education department before settling on final plans. The governor has said that local districts will make final decisions that best fit their students. That makes sense. What works in a rural setting may not be the best path for a suburban or urban district.
School buildings were closed by the state in mid-March as part of the effort to slow the spread of the contagious and deadly COVID-19 virus. The buildings remained closed through the end of the academic year with students completing their course work through virtual classes. This worked well for some students, but not others.
Though the state is opening up, the virus is still here. As of Wednesday, Ohio had 45,537 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,704 related deaths. Each day brings more cases of the virus. So, we must proceed wisely. With no vaccine, health measures like hand sanitation, social distancing and masks must be figured into the plans.
All districts are hard at work figuring this out, but we could not help but notice the detailed and open discussion the Chagrin Exempted Village School District has been having with administrators, board members and residents.
In a recent meeting, Superintendent Robert Hunt shared specifics of options under consideration.
The brick-to-click plan gives students in school buildings the ability to quickly move to virtual at-home learning should a massive outbreak occur. The click-to-brick plan has students first learning virtually with the ability to move into the physical school buildings. The blended plan uses online and in-person instructions.
There are considerations of half days for students so classrooms are not too crowded. Figuring out transportation and lunches are among the list of details that must be worked out.
Chagrin will reach out to parents for feedback, an important component of the groundwork.
We look forward to all districts being this open with their planning process so parents and children have an opportunity to weigh in on what may or may not work for them.
The key is to reenter safely and responsibly while creating an effective learning environment.