Ohio school districts faced with difficult decisions as pandemic drags on

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Director Terry Allan said he respects the decisions of district superintendents that may fly in the face of county advisories.

Ohio school districts faced with difficult decisions as pandemic drags on

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It has been a tug of war since the pandemic hit Ohio last March as school districts, teachers, parents, and students all weigh-in, all with their own opinions, on the debate regarding in-school or remote classes.

Those decisions are being made at the school district level across the state, which has led to neighboring districts deciding on different modes of learning, which has led to hurt feelings and angry demands by parents.

The decision to stay remote or move back into the classroom, in some cases, flies in the face of state and county advisories.

Gov. Mike DeWine has asked school districts to delay any in-person learning until later this month.

In Cuyahoga County, the Board of Health has issued a stay at home advisory, and like the state advised that schools delay in school learning.

But some districts, dozens around the state, have ignored those recommendations.

“They’re under pressure to make the best decision for their district, and we respect that,” said Terry Allan, the Director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

Allan wanted to be clear that he would not criticize any district in Cuyahoga County for re-starting in-person classes, but he said the advisories put out by the county are based on science and data.

“What happens in the community happens in the schools,” Allan said, “It’s interrelated; those folks can then expose people in their own families.”

School districts all have unique characteristics that they must account for as they make what they hope is the best decision for their specific district, even if that flies in the face of local advisories.

“We’ve been meeting with the superintendents every week, and so we’ve gone through this challenge together,” Allan said.

The county plans on making a recommendation soon regarding a possible extension of the stay at home advisory.

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