STOW – The school district administration isn’t revealing any plans for school reopening until the July 20 school board meeting.
While Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson and Tallmadge school districts are releasing information for parents about the upcoming school year, calls to Stow-Munroe Falls superintendent’s office have met with the answer that they are not ready to share information.
Students are scheduled to return to classes on Aug. 18, with kindergarten students starting on Aug. 24, according to the school calendar approved earlier.
Parent Antoinette East-Jenkins said she would like the school district to make a statement of some kind.
"It’s hard for parents to plan if they don’t know what option A may look like or what option B may be," East-Jenkins said.
She had several concerns about safety such as compliance with CDC and state guidelines, wearing masks and shortage of supplies.
East-Jenkins wanted to know if students would remain in one classroom all day and how would the district handle lunches, gym, art class, music and recess or breaks. How would children with social or emotional needs be able to receive physical comfort.
Another concern was how the district would handle a positive test for COVID-19 and who would be quarantined. Children with special needs is another concern for parents as well as children with medical needs who may not be able to return to the classroom.
"They [school district] want to do the best for the kids and teachers but knowing nothing is making parents anxious," she said. "Give out options and know what students aren’t coming back. Push back the date for school starting."
Tallmadge will present three plans to its school board July 15 and each plan depends upon the circumstances of COVID-19. If Gov. Mike DeWine should close schools again, one plan will implement online education for the entire district; another plan is a hybrid that will allow both online learning and in class learning; and the final plan would be implemented if conditions improve or a vaccine is found for the virus and school would be in person for everyone with safety protocols.
Tallmadge, which tentatively plans to open Aug. 17, is offering Online Tallmadge for students who choose to stay at home for the semester and learn remotely.
The Tallmadge School District is balancing health and safety of students and staff with education that maximizes the number of students in the grade levels in the building, said Superintendent Jeff Ferguson. Protocols involve temperature checks, wearing masks, hand washing and social distancing. The building designs are being studied to determine how students can maintain social distancing.
The Hudson City School District was initially scheduled to have students start the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 26, but officials are now looking to have a staggered start on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, according to District Superintendent Phil Herman.
Like Tallmadge, Hudson would have three models which could be all-remote instruction, all-in-person instruction, or a hybrid. Herman said district staff wants to be prepared to "move fluidly between models should the virus change or [if] guidance changes for schools."
Herman said the additional preparation time from a later start date will also be used by staff to practice social distancing and the safety protocols that will be established.
Cuyahoga Falls City School District officials are planning to resume classes on Aug. 24, which is five days later than originally planned. This delay is proposed to allow teachers to have additional preparation time.
Students will have one of two learning options. The first option would have the student population divided in half and each group would attend classes in person two days a week and then engage in online learning the rest of the week. The second option would have a K-12 virtual academy for those who do not want their child attending in-person classes.
"These two options allow us flexibility should the spread of COVID-19 increase," said Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols. "Our entire staff will be prepared to move toward 100% virtual instruction if necessary, which we will employ until the situation improves."
Woodridge School District Superintendent Walter Davis said that he planned to present a formal plan to the Woodridge Board of Education at its July 21 meeting and, pending approval, will post the plan the next day on the district’s website.
One option is a return to school plan and the other a fully online virtual option.
Davis said that district staff measured out classrooms in the elementary school, and found that the classrooms could fit "at least 20 kids 6 feet apart."
"We believe at the elementary level things are looking good," he said. "Our class sizes aren’t much bigger than that, anyway."
For the kindergarten classrooms, which typically seat four kindergartners each at a round table, the district could reduce it to two per table and add plexiglass, Davis said. This would fit about 18 students per kindergarten class.
Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Reporter Phil Keren contributed to this story and can be reached at email@example.com.