AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - After two weeks of deliberation, the Akron Public Schools Board of Education has voted to begin the year with virtual-only learning for its 21,000 students who are spread across 45 schools.
“The 2020-2021 school year will begin with remote learning for our students,” said Superintendent David W. James in a prepared statement following Monday night’s board meeting. “We have studied and researched. We have followed guidance from all of the experts locally, regionally, statewide and nationally. We have also met with and discussed plans with other Ohio schools large and small. It is our belief this is the best way to begin; the safest way for the greatest number of students and staff.”
In the lead-up to the decision, the board considered two other options: full-time onsite learning, and “blended” learning which would have utilized both onsite and remote curricula.
“As a board, we spent hours and hours looking at what is best for our students and our staff,” said Board President Patrick Bravo. “The risk of having that many students and teachers trying to keep everyone safe, at this particular stage of COVID-19 is just too great. We plan to watch carefully and reevaluate our plans as we approach the end of the first semester.”
The reevaluation will come in roughly nine weeks, and full-time or blended learning will be back on the table.
Online Learning for Fall 2020:
-Teachers will develop robust programming to provide support and close the gaps that occurred during the spring online learning
-Staff training and professional development will continue to support teaching and learning throughout the 2020-2021 school year
-Teachers will assess student learning needs to design and plan personalized learning pathways
-Planning for interventions to be based on identified student gaps in knowledge
-Continue using the Ohio Learning Standards as the basis for teaching and learning
-Continuation of the PK-12 College & Career Academies of Akron transformation
Students in special programs (STEM, Early College or any students taking college level courses) must follow what the university schedule dictates whether those are in person or online.