Hudson school students will go to school part of the week

School board agrees to amend plan to start the year in a hybrid model

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
Athletes demonstrate in support of keeping the sports program operating despite COVID-19 concerns as students prepare to return to resume school Monday at Hudson High School.

HUDSON — In a change in previous plans following Summit County Public Health guidelines announced this week, the Hudson schools board of education decided to have students attend classes part-time in-person and part-time online for the beginning of the school year.

The school board unanimously agreed Monday night to start the school year on a hybrid model after Summit County Public Health recommended districts start remotely.

Initially, the board was going to go by the state’s Ohio Public Health Advisory System, where there would be school five days a week at yellow and orange, or Levels 1 and 2, switch to a hybrid model at red, or Level 3, and will completely remote at Level 4, or purple. On Monday, Summit County was at Level 2.

Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said in a conference announcing the new guidelines Monday that in the past 14 days, the county has seen 117 positive cases per 100,000 people.

“We have seen multiple outbreaks with coaching, attending practices, dance, cheerleading,” Skoda said. “We are also, unfortunately, facing a similar situation we had with adults, which is the limited availability of testing.”

Skoda said that the lowest risk of spread would be for schools to meet remotely.

“At Summit County Public Health, we understand the important need for students to be in the classroom,” she said. “However, these are unprecedented times.”

She added there is still a high level of community spread of COVID-19 in Summit County.

Skoda said that if students do gather, the health department will “strongly encourage” masking, and she said schools should follow “aggressive cleaning, and keep six feet social distancing as much as possible.”

Hudson schools Superintendent Phil Herman said that he had some concerns with reopening, especially with flu season coming up, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. He added the district could not entirely limit the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus, only mitigate it.

“These early weeks may be the only extended time for students to make connections to their teachers,” Herman said. “Those connections can make the difference.”

Board president Dave Zuro said that things were continuously changing with the pandemic.

“I think all of us are frustrated in this environment,” Zuro said. “We don’t know what the future has in store. We all desire some stability for our students in our district, while at the same time we need to acknowledge that some changes and adjustments may need to be made. We need to make the best decision for our students.”

The school also is offering an option where parents can have their children take courses fully online. The deadline was extended to Aug. 12 at 5 p.m. These families must commit to a semester at a time.

The district will have a staggered start on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, with the student population divided alphabetically, and with all students reporting to school on Sept. 2.

The school board also unanimously agreed to modify the open house schedule. All open houses will be virtual this year, said Doreen Osmun, the assistant superintendent.

All open houses start at 4 p.m.

Ellsworth and East Woods will have their open houses for grades first through third on Aug. 26; Prekindergarten, kindergarten, and fourth through fifth grades at Ellsworth Hills and Evamere will have their open house Aug. 27; high school students will have their open house Sept. 3, and middle school students will have their open house Sept. 2.

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

Hudson High School athletes demonstrate in support of keeping the sports program operating despite COVID-19 concerns as students prepare to return to resume school.