Willoughby-Eastlake schools move to virtual learning until further notice after rise in COVID case

Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 7:32 PM EDT
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WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (WOIO) -Students in the Willoughby-Eastlake School District will return to virtual learning as of Monday. The announcement was made over the weekend after the district determined many positive cases and exposures at Longfellow and Jefferson Elementary Schools required all school buildings to close.

A letter sent to parents and posted on Facebook said, “at this time, because it is currently necessary to close three school buildings, by the Willoughby-Eastlake Reopening Guide, all district school buildings will be closed until further notice.”

Willoughby-Eastlake schools opened for traditional in-person classes with the option or online learning on August 31.

Morgan Gilliam is a 7th grader at Willoughby Middle School. She said, “it’s really hard for me because I can’t focus,” while doing online learning. She said, “I’d rather be in school because I would focus on my work more. At home, I have so many other things to worry about too. I’d rather do other things than school at home, so it’s just easier to do it at school.”

Little did she and her classmates know Friday was their last day in the classroom for the foreseeable future. The district announced to return fully to virtual learning Saturday.

“I think they have a good reason, but I think we should get back to going to school because all the kids would get better grades and focus more,” said Morgan.

Morgan said she has one friend who 'got tested for it yesterday because he doesn’t feel good." He’s still awaiting his results, but he’s the only classmate she knows who may have contracted the virus.

Either way, she insists she’s not worried about being in class. “I’m not scared because as long as we stay safe, keep our masks on, and listen to the policies, I think we’ll be ok.”

But that’s not how some Willoughby residents, like Nathan Fisher, see it. “Remote learning is going to be the right choice. It’s going to be the safe choice,” Fisher said. “If we’re going to stop this virus, they’ve got to go home.”

He thinks the schools were too quick to bring students back to the classroom. “I would rather have a slightly less intelligent kid than a dead kid or dead grandparent,” said Fisher.

“It was a little shocking, a little scary knowing COVID is on the rise locally,” said Tanja Bartulovic. Her children are learning in a hybrid model. She said, “it’s very challenging as a parent to try to navigate it all and try to figure out how to be a teacher.”

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