CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The process of returning to in-person hybrid school for students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District kicks off Monday, as students and parents navigate the uncertainty created by a schism between the Cleveland Teachers Union and district administrators over COVID-19 safety concerns.
Cleveland teachers will continue to teach remotely on Monday, March 8th. The union says the district’s plans to head back to the classroom this week won’t keep staff and students safe.
But administrators for the district say the schools are safe and a number of measures have been taken to protect teachers, students, and staff.
That leaves many waiting to see what will happen as the district implements its plan to return the students to hybrid in-person learning.
Some staff members who are not part of the union are expected to return to school buildings on Monday, but phase 1 of the district’s plan means the first students will not return in-person until Thursday, March 11th.
Here’s the hybrid in-person learning schedule:
- Thursday, March 11th, approximately 2,000 students with special needs will return to the classroom
- Monday, March 15th, Pre-K students through 2nd grade, as well as 9 and 12 return
- March 22nd, 3rd grade through 8th grade, as well as grades 10 and 11.
For parents, it’s a lesson in patience and understanding. Cleveland mother of three Mika Prater says she does have some safety concerns but feels, for the sake of her children’s education, they need to return to school.
“I feel these kids definitely need to be back in a school setting,” she said. “Because a lot of children don’t pay attention.”
Prater says remote learning has been a challenge.
“The system is always crashing,” she said. “Then when it freezes up and kicks the kids out, it’s just a lot of problems with them and Zoom and online period.”
But she feels hybrid in-person learning for just two days a week is not enough.
“I believe like three days should be done because they’ve been out of a school setting for almost a year,” said Prater. “A lot of kids are not doing good.”
On social media, there’s mixed reaction to the plan to return to a brick-and-mortar building.
The public has been posting their opinions on the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Facebook page.
“I want my kids in school. I do not want my kids in school if the schools have not been made COVID safe. These buildings are not ready,” wrote Amanda Hedenberg.
Kim Victor writes on social media, “Hats of to our teachers. Thank you for thinking of our babies first.”
Mandy Metcalf had this to say on the district’s Facebook site: “If the teachers don’t go back to the building before students how will they know where there are problems?”
On Friday the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is calling on teachers to return to their classrooms.
“Teachers and other professionals have an ethical responsibility to return to their classrooms Monday, however, the district will not lock them out of their digital classrooms,” according to a district media release.
The teachers union said that their members plan to work remotely on Monday.
“Members of the Cleveland Teachers will continue to work from home on Monday, March 8th. Students will continue to have regularly scheduled classes and services as they would on any Monday this school year,” said Shari Obrenski, President of the Cleveland Teachers Union. “The leadership of the CTU and the CMSD are working through the weekend to get ready for our “eventual” transition from fully remote to hybrid learning.”