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Akron Public Schools to Begin Bringing Back Students March 8

photo of Akron Public Schools headquarters
Akron Public Schools
The Board of Education agreed unanimously to a return date one week earlier than previously planned.

Akron Public Schools will begin to return to in-person learning March 8. At its meeting Monday night, the school board unanimously agreed to the date, which is a week earlier than previously planned.

The district had been publicly criticized by Gov. Mike DeWine for failing to meet the March 1 start date agreed upon in order to get the district’s staff vaccinated. Supt. David James says they wanted "to do whatever we can to move it up."

Students in Kindergarten through second grade will return to classrooms March 8. All other students will return March 15.

The district has been working closely with its teachers on the plan. Akron Education Association president Patricia Shipe said the goal has always been a safe return and she believes they've achieved that. "We've always wanted to get back in but we wanted to return students and faculty back to the building safely, in a safe manner," she said.

Akron won't finish administering both doses of vaccines to all staff until March 6.

Student Board member Chandler Forshee from Kenmore Garfield High School told school board members people are excited to get back in the classroom.

APS Student talks about returning to school
Chandler Forshee is a student member of the board of education and spoke at the Monday night meeting.
Kenmore Garfield High School student Chandler Forshee, a student member of the board of education, speaks about the return to school during the board meeting Monday night.

“So as you can imagine, everyone, including teachers, students and even the parents, are chomping at the bits to see everyone together again in person. As we all know seeing someone through a screen and seeing that person in front of you is a lot different.”

The district surveyed families to determine how many planned to send their students back to school; 69% of students will return to in-person learning, while the other 31% will continue with 100% remote learning.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.