Local schools in limbo as they await more details from Governor DeWine about reopening

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PARMA, Ohio (WJW) — Educators say planning for school this fall is becoming increasingly difficult as they await additional guidance from the governor and public health officials about possibly reopening school buildings.

“Everyone is waiting for the governor to make a decision about when schools can be reopened and what the conditions for reopening are going to be,” said Scott DiMauro, the Ohio Education Association President.

DiMauro says the OEA represents more than 121,000 public educators across Ohio, making them the largest organization to do so in the state.

“I think its quite likely in a lot of cases you will see some kind of combination of in person and online learning,” he said.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District did not provide a comment on their plan for the fall. Akron Public Schools said their plan is not final. Both Mentor Public Schools and Euclid City Schools declined to comment.

Charles Smialek, superintendent of the Parma City School District said in a survey with more than 1,800 responses parents seemed to want their children back in a classroom. However, he says many fell on the opposite side of the issue.

“There are other parents, same time, who said listen you can do whatever social distancing measures you can possibly enact, we’re not going to send our children back until there’s a vaccine,” he said.

*Read more stories on the impact of the coronavirus, here.*

Smialek says the district is looking at several options for possibly reopening in the fall including, all remote learning or potentially bringing students back into the building if allowed with new social distance measures as well as a third scenario.

“Sort of a hybrid where students are coming in shifts either an AM, PM shift or you’re on for two days Wednesday might be a cleaning day then the second group comes in Thursday, Friday.”

The potential options are not final and depend on what is recommended by state leadership. Until additional guidance is announced, educators say its difficult to plan ahead and provide parents with answers they need.

Strongsville City Schools says they are examining potential scenarios for next school year based on state guidelines. A spokesperson sent the following statement:  

“Several work groups and committees consisting of administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents have been formed to meet regularly and develop plans throughout the summer so that our District is fully prepared to provide the safest learning environments for our students, teachers, and staff when school resumes in the fall.” 

“I know that our educators have stepped up and done extraordinary work in keeping our students engaged through really challenging circumstances but people are worried,” said DiMauro. 

Smialek says he is expecting to receive an update from the governor next week regarding plans moving forward.

*Click here for more on Gov. DeWine’s Responsible RestartOhio plan.*

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