Willoughby-Eastlake schools lay off 226 employees

Support staff could be brought back in January when the district hopes to return to in-class instruction.

Willoughby-Eastlake schools lay off 226 employees

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Willoughby-Eastlake schools laid off more than 200 employees on Thursday during a special meeting of their board of education.

The district reduced the number of non-teaching staff because the district needs fewer custodians, teachers aids, and food service helpers while it is providing schooling online, according to video of the district board meeting.

The students in the district are attending class virtually because of the surge in the number of COVID-19 infections.

A district representative said during a special meeting of the board that the decision to lay people off was very difficult, but that ultimately the district couldn’t continue to pay staff while the buildings were closed.

“We did the very best we could to keep as many people gainfully employed as we could,” the representative said. “But ... by virtue of being remote, we simply do not have the need for some positions.”

The board discussed bringing staffers back on January 19. But said that that date could change depending on the number of COVID-19 infections.

As of Thursday evening, the district representative said they had 19 active student cases, 26 staff cases, and 42 active district cases.

“Those are not quarantine those are people who are COVID positive,” he said.

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