Younger Nordonia students will return from winter break to hybrid learning

Lee Eaton students, and the students and the middle and high school will stay remote the first week back

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
The elementary school students in the Nordonia Hills schools will return from winter break in hybrid mode. Students at Lee Eaton, the middle school and the high school will remain in remote during the first week back.

NORTHFIELD CENTER – The Nordonia school district’s students at the three elementary schools will return from winter break Jan. 4 in hybrid mode for the first week. Lee Eaton, Nordonia Middle School and Nordonia High School will return from break to take all of their classes online for the first week.

Superintendent Joe Clark, in a message sent to district families, said starting the second week, Ledgeview, Rushwood and Northfield elementary schools will go from hybrid to five days a week, and Lee Eaton, the middle school and the high school will transition to hybrid.

Clark said that nearly 40% of the district’s positive COVID-19 cases came within 10 days of Thanksgiving break, and that “the increase in positive COVID-19 cases among our staff and students was likely due to community spread during the holiday break.”

“Based on existing literature, the incubation period -- the time from exposure to development of symptoms -- of COVID-19 ranges from 2 to 14 days,” Clark said. “This period is distributed among a typical scientific curve, which means the majority of new cases come three to eight days after exposure.”

The district’s plan for handling instruction after winter break “will allow the secondary buildings to run through the most dangerous incubation period from New Year’s Day before returning to school, at the same time providing plenty of social distance at the elementary schools during this same period,” Clark said.

According to information from the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, 75 in-person option students tested positive for the novel coronavirus, as well as six fully remote students since the school year started. To date, 38 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since September. In November, 32 in-person students, two remote students and 16 staff members tested positive for COVID-10. In December, 24 in-person students, four remote students and 16 staff tested positive for COVID-19.

“As with everything COVID-19, things can change with the drop of a hat,” Clark said in his message to families. “In our case, the hat dropping would be an outbreak among staff that would make operating a building impossible. I will continue to monitor student and staff positive cases and quarantines and inform you if the plan needs to change.”

Clark asked that students and their families “please wear masks, avoid large gatherings, wash your hands often, and maintain distance with others.”

“I am looking forward to students returning to school on Jan. 4, and I am hopeful that we can keep schools open for the rest of the year,” Clark said.

The number of students switching school formats in the second semester “was minimal,” Clark said. He added that he hadn’t “gotten much feedback, but in general, people switching from remote to in-person “want their kids to be around other kids,” and those moving from in-person to all online “are fearful of the rise in COVID cases.”

The biggest difference was with eighth grade, where 14 students switched from all remote to in-person, according to information provided by Clark. At the high school, seven juniors and seven seniors switched from in-person to online, the largest number of students to switch to remote learning.

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