COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– Governor Mike DeWine says the state of Ohio plans to reopen schools in the fall.
DeWine outlined what his administrations and the Ohio Department of Education have decided so far:
- intent to reopen in the fall
- local school boards will set start dates
- state is working on broad outline of health guidelines
The governor elaborated on conversations he has had with educators saying Ohio’s schools are diverse and the guidelines from the state will be broad so each district can adapt them to their individual needs.
He also added that schools should have a backup plan in case a spike in COVID-19 cases happens.
Later Tuesday afternoon, the Columbus City Schools announced its newly-formed Reopening Task Force is planning on how the district can reopen for the 2020-21 school year.
“This school year certainly did not end how anyone could have ever predicted,” said CCS Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon in a statement. “With the COVID-19 pandemic still upon us, it is important that we begin our preparations now to welcome back our 50,000 students and 9,000 staff members for the 2020-2021 school year. There are still many unknowns and uncertainties as we look ahead, but our focus is on making the best decisions to protect the health and safety of our students and staff.”
The task force is developing a plan that would allow the district to implement one or both of the following options:
- A robust K-12 online academy for parents who prefer to keep their students at home
- A blended learning model with both in-person and online instruction, interventions, and conferences
The task force was formed to create a plan that allows school buildings to reopen while adhering to guidelines and recommendations from local, state and national health officials.
According to the statement, one of the top priorities for the task force is to gauge the needs of district parents. To that end, families should expect to receive a phone and email survey to provide the feedback to the district.
The task force is expected to provide a recommendation plan to the Board of Education in late June.
The governor closed K-12 schools across the state in mid March initially for three weeks at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. That date was later extended to May 1, and then, for the remainder of the school year.