CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday unveiled public health guidance that will shape the upcoming school year, which begins on Aug. 17 for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
“While we won’t be able to resume schools as normal this fall, we do have an opportunity to intentionally design a school plan that protects health and safety and that is also more fair, just and equitable for Cleveland’s kids,” CMSD CEO Eric Gordon wrote in a letter released to faculty, parents and students on Thursday.
DeWine’s new guidelines list several steps schools must take , which include:
- Vigilantly assess symptoms. Anyone with a temp. of 100 degrees or higher, or with coronavirus symptoms, must return home.
- Wash and sanitize hands to prevent spread. Schools must provide hand sanitizer in high-traffic areas.
- Thoroughly clean and sanitize classrooms and school facilities.
- Engage in responsible social distancing. Schools are asked to maintain six feet of distance between students, staff and volunteers at all times.
- Face coverings: Staff will be required to wear face coverings, unless it is unsafe or it interferes with the learning process. The state strongly recommendation that children third grade and up wear masks.
In response, Gordon briefly outlined CMSD’s reopening that could include one or more of the following scenarios:
• An online remote learning environment for all
• A hybrid model that includes both virtual and in-person learning, with students alternating between the two options
• A largely in-person, in-school operation for most students
Gordon said in-depth reopening planning is under way. and that plans are subject to change once the school year begins.
Akron Superintendent David James said to meet the guidelines, the district had already been planning on a steady dose of virtual learning, specifically for high school students.
The superintendent has sent a plan to the school board, but it’s just a vision, still weeks before school starts.
“This is going to change once school starts, it might get better, it might get worse, we just have to be prepared for all of that,” James said.
Finances will come into play and James was pleased to hear the state, through the CARES Act, is prepared to provide financial support.
James knows it will be difficult to please everyone in the district, but the hard work is underway with a multi layered goal in mind.
“How can we meet the needs of students underneath the constraints of social distancing, trying to stop the spread of disease and making sure our employees are safe,” James said.