Local Educators Support DeWine In Keeping Ohio Schools Closed For The Year
School district administrations throughout Ohio are “probably relieved” Gov. Mike DeWine made the call to keep students at K-12 schools out of the classroom for the remainder of the school year, Akron Public Schools spokesperson Mark Williamson speculated Tuesday, especially when reopening schools May 1 would have invited so many difficult questions with such short notice.
“How do we get kids on school buses to be six feet apart? How do they walk through the hallways? How do they go to lunch?” asked Williamson. “It added so many complications with so little time left.”
Even anticipating what the next academic year will look like and how campuses will be run is going to take a lot of planning by teachers and administration, Williamson said.
“It’s a whole new world,” Williamson said, adding that the district will have to look at different options for educating the students. “Whether they come up with something by September or they do a mix, like the governor said, some sort of mix of online learning and face-to-face learning.”
Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), told The Sound of Ideas host Rick Jackson Tuesday that DeWine made “the right call” in keeping campuses closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year.
But all educators in Ohio will have to look at the schooling that was missed during the “remote learning” period, Gordon said, and the buildings reopen they will need to meet the students where they are in terms of learning and build from there.
CMSD is continuing to work to overcome connectivity issues in the district, Gordon said. Roughly 40 percent of the district’s students don’t have high speed internet at home, so CMSD has set up hotspots throughout Cleveland for students in need. And in addition to the 5,000 Chromebooks that have already been distributed, another 9,000 are being ordered.
Megan McKinley, vice principal of the charter Horizon Science Academy Cleveland High School, said “it’s for the best” that DeWine is keeping schools closed, but added the overall reaction at her school was still “mixed.”
“It's hard, as teachers. We left school March 13 and we weren't expecting that to be the last time with our students,” McKinley said. “We have seniors who we don't know when we'll see them. You know, if we get to see them, do we get to have a graduation? Do we get to have a prom? And then you have the kids that you're just concerned about all the time. What are they going to do until August for food? Are they safe or are they healthy?”