Back-to-school ads are sparse, teachers are brushing up on cleaning protocols in addition to lesson planning, and in some school districts, desks will remain empty this fall. The question of schooling is in the forefront of everyone’s minds, and with minimal federal guidance or funding, individual districts are left to make the decisions that will drastically affect the health of their communities and the education of their students.
In late July, three of Ohio’s largest urban school districts – Cleveland Metropolitan, Columbus City, and Toledo Public – announced an all-virtual start to the school year. A few days later, after a month-long spike of COVID-19 cases in Cuyahoga County, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health advised districts to begin the school year operating remotely due to the elevated health risk posed to students, staff, and family members. It also recommended schools discontinue extracurricular activities such as sports, band, theater, and choir during the remote learning period.
How are school superintendents using these recommendations to inform their decision-making on whether or not to reopen schools? What are their plans to keep students, teachers, and staff safe and healthy while fostering an environment conducive to learning? How will districts handle quarantine and abrupt shutdowns if someone tests positive?
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