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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Getting Back to Class: Akron Public School Teachers and Staff Set to Return to Buildings

photo of East CLC
Staff will begin returning to Akron Public Schools for in-person learning March 8. Students will follow a week later.

Since March 16, 2020, when Governor Mike DeWine announced an “extended spring break” for students and staff until April 3, 2020, Akron Public Schools have adapted to online learning and supporting kids from afar. Almost one year later, Akron Public Schools will bring teachers and staff back to buildings beginning March 8.

While students and staff have not been in their classrooms, the schools have pulled together over the past year to provide instruction to the district's 21,000 students by providing Chromebooks to students in grades 2-12 and food assistance for those children who relied on receiving two meals a day at school.

Now, as they prepare to return to campus, the school district’s primary concern is obtaining and administering vaccinations for roughly 3,000 instructors and staff.

It had hoped to receive all doses at once, but instead began vaccinating teachers and staff on Saturday, Feb.6 with 900 doses. Akron Education Association President Patricia Shipe says those employees will get their second dose on Feb. 27. The remaining employees will receive the first dose this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12 and 13, and their second dose on March 5 and 6.

This week, families are being asked to let the district know whether they want their child to return to in-person instruction or continue learning remotely.

Akron Education Association Patricia Shipe on the return to in-person learning
If students choose to continue learning remotely they may be assigned a different teacher.
A photo of Patricia Shipe.

“Going remote they’re not guaranteed having their own teacher," Shipe said, "because those teachers could be teaching in-person classes.”

Shipe says remote students will have an Akron Public Schools teacher, but the district won’t assign those teachers until they have the survey results late next week.

She says teachers will have a week to prepare before the first students return to school beginning March 15.

Brie Camp is a junior journalism major who began their education as an English major but recently began journeying into journalism. Brie has always held a passion for words and their many sneaky ways of stringing them together to create meaningful stories. Brie is pursuing a career in journalistic writing and has recently been focused on LGBTQ stories and experiences through the mediums of student media organizations like The Burr and Fusion magazines. They are enthusiastically continuing this exploration of all words and wonderings at WKSU this semester.