Tallmadge school officials continue with hybrid learning approach

District leaders trying to determine when students can return to buildings full-time

Laura Freeman
Kent Weeklies
As the COVID-19 risk levels in Summit County have changed a few times, Tallmadge school district officials are trying to determine when they may want to change their restart model for students.

TALLMADGE – Since the Ohio Public Health Advisory System has changed the COVID-19 risk levels in Summit County a few times, city school district officials are trying to figure out when they may want to change their restart model for district students.

Tallmadge schools have three potential levels of operation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Level 2, which is a hybrid of both in-person and online students, is being used now. Level 1 has all students in person in school, and Level 3 has all online learning if schools are mandated to close.

In the hybrid situation, students are distributed among the three schools to create spacing. Students in grades 7 through 12 are on a Blue/Gold schedule and attend on alternating days to reduce class sizes. The district does not follow the county's purple, red, orange and yellow levels, which is determined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

"The county has gone from orange, then red, and now yellow in three subsequent weeks, which tells you how dynamic it is," said Steve Wood, the district's chief operating officer. "We're glad we didn't tie to that. We want to provide stability."

Wood said the schools are looking at how long a yellow mode or low event mode must last before considering bringing all students back. 

"If we have confidence based on cases in the community and schools, we would want to get kids back into the building," Wood said. 

According to the guidance issued by Summit County Public Health on Aug. 10, a majority of four conditions would need to be met before students attend five days per week and include sustained declining cases in Summit County ideally for 4-6 weeks; a move to a yellow-risk status as defined by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System; increased testing capacity for youth: and a decrease in hospitalizations, which is a marker for community spread.

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