Falls students to return to virtual learning after Thanksgiving until at least mid-January

Marsha McKenna, Editor
Cuyahoga Falls News Press
All Cuyahoga Falls students will return to remote learning after the Thanksgiving break until at least mid-January. Grades K-5 had returned to five-day in-person instruction Nov. 16, while grades 6-12 remained on a hybrid plan.

Cuyahoga Falls students and staff will find themselves saying goodbye this week not for just the Thanksgiving break but until sometime after the new year.

While no official vote was taken, the Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education members recommended that Superintendent Todd NIchols return students to all-virtual learning until at least after the Martin Luther King Day holiday in mid-January. 

The board held a special meeting Monday night to discuss the return-to- school plan.

Nichols said he plans to make an all-call to parents at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night about the change.

Nichols stressed the goal is to deliver "high quality instruction in a safe way." 

"We've been trying to make the best educated decision we can, " the superintendent said, adding the number of positive cases of students and staff "are not very high" but they are growing.

The decision came reported coronavirus cases continue to shatter state and county records.

Ohio shattered its record for new COVID-19 cases Monday as hospital leaders sounded their loudest alarm yet about an influx of virus patients.

Ohio reported 11,885 new cases Monday, a number that's likely inflated because of a two-day backlog of reporting from the Cleveland Clinic and Mercy Health. Ohio's previous record for new cases reported in a single day was 8,808 set Friday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Summit County reported 531 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.

On Nov. 16, grades K-5 in the Falls returned to five-day, in-person instruction; middle and high school students remained on a hybrid plan. Students who are taking online-only classes will continue in that set-up for the remainder of the first semester.

At the board's regular meeting on Nov. 18, staff members addressed the board and administrators, many calling the decision to return to in-person learning "irresponsible" due to safety concerns they felt were not being addressed for both students and staff.

The four board members present (Board Pesident Karen Schofield was unable to attend) said they favored a return to virtual and commented on the multitude of emails received from parents and staff.

Board member Alex Hall, who stated returning to remote learning will be the "best option," acknowledged those who contacted the board members by saying, "We heard you - and I agree."