TALLMADGE - Flexibility is needed as the school district went from a classroom teaching model to a remote learning platform in days after Gov. Mike DeWine closed the schools March 12.

"I’m proud of the staff and parents," Ferguson said. "It was a lot of work for teachers, administrators, families and students, who have been awesome."

It’s a new learning experience for everyone, and some things went really well, Ferguson said. The staff has received feedback from teachers and families on what works and what doesn’t.

"We have a new mantra: flexibility," Ferguson said. "Our primary concern is the well-being of our students and families. We need them to stay safe and healthy."

The school district continues to meet its families’ essential needs for food, wellness and time together, he said. School is important, but those things are more important.

This week 3,000 meals were made to meet needs of families in the district, he said. Tallmadge school closure hotline meals began with 160 people signed up in March. 

"In the last two weeks we’ve increased another 100 for a total of 300 families," Ferguson said.

Breakfast and lunch are provided for three days on Monday and two days on Thursday between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at Tallmadge Middle School and Saxon Village, 265 North Thomas Road.

The meals they distribute must meet state health requirements, which include milk and some perishables. The meals should be refrigerated if not eaten right away.

Any Tallmadge student under 18 can have a meal by calling the School Closure Meal Hotline 330-633-5587 or go to tallmadgeschools.org.

The Tallmadge Rotary delivers meals for those who don’t have transportation, he said. The Dare to Share program provides weekend bags for students who need weekend meals.

Kim Ray of Tallmadge Rotary has increased that program and is using the Tallmadge Community Center to pack and delivery food and toiletries.

"I remember during Hurricane Katrina, we did a school supply drive and delivered supplies to New Orleans’ Seventh Ward during the crisis for them," Ferguson said. "Today some of them are doctors, lawyers, nurses and teachers so the message is they made it through that and they’re successful."

In the final nine-week period of school, remote learning may not be as good as having students in the classroom, but teachers and staff will make it as good as they can with a priority on the students and family well-being, he said.

The district has given out 200 Chromebooks for students with technology needs.

"We’ll make it through this and get through this," Ferguson said. "We can catch kids up when we’re back in the building."

For more information, follow www.tallmadgeschools.org for "frequently asked questions" which is updated daily.

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.com