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Reporting on the state of education in your community and across the country.

CMSD Starts Remote Classes With Focus On Digital Orientation

Jacqueline Hawley’s fourth graders at Campus International School drew their faces during in-person meetings ahead of the first day of school. [Jacqueline Hawley / Cleveland Metropolitan School District]
A Campus International School classroom with self-drawn pictures of each student at their desks.

Northeast Ohio’s biggest school district welcomed students back to school Tuesday for nine weeks of online classes.

CMSD CEO Eric Gordon said the focus of the first week will be for students and families to get devices including laptops, orient themselves with the virtual learning software and to make sure they have everything they need for the remote learning period.

“We do have a checklist that we sent to homes and posted on our website to help families know what are the things they should be paying attention to this week,” said Gordon, speaking to ideastream Tuesday. “So, I would encourage people to go to our website for that.”

Gordon also suggested that students and families with questions first turn to their school staff for answers in order to avoid a potential rush to the district’s help line which operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

CMSD ordered 28,000 Chromebooks, the last of which arrived on the Saturday before school started, Gordon said. The district is passing out devices to students on Tuesday and Wednesday on school campuses.

The district also bought 14,000 hotpots on top of those purchased after the school shutdown last spring. He expects students and families will be asking for additional hotspots after the first week of school.

“I am concerned that families are going to find out that when they put two or three young people on the internet, what they thought might have been adequate in their home may not be," said Gordon.

CMSD will continue distributing meals on its campuses for all area children. Gordon said the district expanded hours for meal distribution from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and are providing families with two pickup options. Children and families can pick up meals for the entire week on Tuesdays at one of the high school campuses or they can do a daily meal pickup at any of the district's K to 8 school buildings on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays. 

“On Tuesdays they'll actually get two breakfasts and two lunches per child because Wednesday is a close, sanitize and restock day,” said Gordon.

Jenny Hamel is the host of the “Sound of Ideas.”