NORTHFIELD CENTER — While the skeleton of what the new school year will look like is taking shape, many details still are being crafted.

Superintendent Joe Clark said in a July 7 message to the district’s families that the district will release its "official plan no later than Aug. 14, hopefully sooner." The school year will start Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day, and will end May 28, the Friday before Memorial Day.

"The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority," Clark said. "Our hope is to have all students return to school in the fall. However, we will adhere to whatever health and safety requirements are prescribed by Summit County Public Health, the Ohio Department of Health, and Governor [Mike] DeWine’s office."

Clark provided an outline, which included knowns and unknowns as of early July.

Parents will be asked to screen their children daily before they go to school, Clark said. Students with temperatures above 100 degrees or other symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home.

Masks will not be required for children in kindergarten through second grade. Masks will be recommended for students in third grade and up and will be required in some cases; when masks may be required is still being ironed out.

Full-time remote learning will be available for families who opt out of in-person instruction although families must commit to a semester at a time. Instruction will be provided through online vendors, Edmentum and Acellus, and supported by Nordonia teachers. Remote learning will be available all year.

Buses will run, Clark said, but how many students will be allowed on the bus at a time is still being decided.

As of now, all sports teams can practice but it remains up in the air as to whether there will be games, Clark said.

State guidelines

DeWine released the regulations on reopening schools July 2, with an emphasis that many decisions will be left to the individual districts.

"We know that each school system, and perhaps each school building, will likely look different in the fall. We also know that Ohio has a long history of local control and that school administrators and teachers know their schools best," said DeWine. "Working together and consulting with educators and other health officials, we have developed a set of guidelines, backed by science, that each school should follow when developing their reopening plans."

More details on the new school guidance are available on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

The guidance outlines call for all staff and volunteers to wear a face covering unless doing so would be a violation of industry standards, are not advisable for health reasons, or there is a practical reason for not wearing a facial covering.

In addition, it "is strongly recommended that students in third grade and higher wear a face mask unless they are unable to do so for a health or developmental reason," according to information from the state

"The majority opinion among experts appears to be that children kindergarten through fifth grade can wear masks as long as consideration is given for the age and developmental level of the child and the physical situation the child is in at that moment," according to the state regulations. Students also are strongly encouraged to wear masks while they are on school buses.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@recordpub.com