CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland schools will continue to operate remotely for the remainder of the fall semester.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon announced Friday that his district has decided to abandon plans to begin hybrid learning and will remain entirely remote through winter break in December.
“This has candidly been the single most difficult decision that I have made probably in my career as a CEO,” Gordon told Fox 8 News on Friday.
Gordon along with superintendents from numerous other school districts across the county participated in a virtual meeting with representatives of the Cuyahoga County Board of Heath on Friday.
“They feel that this is not a blip, but this is an alarming trend as we enter cold weather, flu season, and holidays when people gather,” said Gordon. “That’s why we are taking a cautious approach for the balance of this year up to our winter break.”
Gordon also said the district knows there are “very high health disparities” that exist in Cleveland which makes COVID-19 far riskier for the community. He says this is part of the reason the district has been so cautious.
“We will get through this. We’ve worked together as a learning team and we will keep doing that. Winter break will be here before we know it. We all need it and we will see where we go from there,” said Gordon.
The district’s decision was endorsed by the Cleveland Teachers Union.
CMSD began the school year on August 24 in a virtual environment. The district originally planned to operate with online-only learning for at least the first nine weeks of the school year, at which they would re-evaluate their reopening plan.
The district surveyed families, caregivers and educators in July about their comfort level for returning to in-person school.
Among those surveyed, two-thirds of parents and caregivers said they were very concerned or only slightly comfortable at returning to school; only 14 percent said they were comfortable returning to school. The results among educators were nearly the same — 63 percent were very uncomfortable, and only 16 percent comfortable.
At that time Gordon also said the district’s reopening plan would remain flexible and that if conditions warrant and COVID-19 continues to spread, CMSD would be ready to conduct the whole year remotely.
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