Cleveland Metropolitan School District delays return to in-person learning

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW)– The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is delaying its return to in-person learning by one week, school officials announced on Thursday.

Phase 1 students will be back in buildings the week of March 8 with Phase 2 students on March 15 and Phase 3 students on March 22. All CMSD students will remain in remote learning for the week of March 1 because of the delay.

“Our entire district team, from the central office to the classroom, has been hard at work preparing for the return of students in the next several days,” CMSD said in a news release.

“However, there are a number of important things that must be in place in order for us to ensure a transition that is not only safe but is also as smooth as possible for both students and educators who will be returning to school in both an in-person and remote learning mode.”

According to the school district, the extra week will give it more time to adjust classrooms, staff assignments, transportation schedules and in-school meal planning.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made COVID-19 vaccines available to educators under the conditions districts agreed to begin in-person instruction by March 1. His office released the following statement on Thursday:

“The position of the state of Ohio remains unchanged. We are hopeful that our recent outreach efforts will be successful in convincing school districts to honor the agreements they signed. We will continue to monitor this situation as we get closer to March 1. More than 97 percent of school districts in the program have been able to implement in-classroom instruction by the March 1 deadline.”

More than 97 percent of school districts in Ohio will implement in-classroom instruction by the March 1 deadline, according to the governor’s office. On Thursday, DeWine said 10 public school districts remain in remote learning.

Last week, the Cleveland Teachers Union said it would not return to the classroom citing safety concerns, including the ventilation system in schools. A CMSD spokesperson said the district purchased 500 air purifiers at a cost of nearly $300,000.

Shari Obrenski, the Cleveland Teachers Union president, said they are encouraged that the district is showing the willingness to adjust their timeline to ensure the safety of staff, students and families.

CMSD CEO Erie Gordon said he is working to address concerns of staff and said this latest timeline change is unrelated to the teachers’ union. He said this was the final day of the first round of staff vaccinations.

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