Some school districts going remote after Cuyahoga County issues stay-at-home advisory

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Some local school districts are considering a return to full remote learning again after Cuyahoga County issued a stay at-home advisory.        

“Please stay remote, keep our teachers, staff, students and community safe… this is not the time to go back to school,” said Lakewood parent Amy Bennett.

A small group of parents demonstrated before an emergency Wednesday night meeting of the Lakewood School Board. The meeting had been scheduled before the advisory was implemented.

“What we agreed to and was determined in the fall by parents, what we were surveyed on and the feedback we gave is not the model that’s being voted on and they changed that,” said Lakewood parent Heather Kama-Starr.

Board members voted unanimously to allow the district to bring students back into schools before the end of the first semester on Dec. 17.

The agreement, negotiated with the teachers union, replaces a system that based whether to hold in-person, hybrid or remote learning on Ohio’s color coded coronavirus map.

“Creating the flexibility and nimbleness, if you will, to meet the diverse needs of all of our students in the district,” said Lakewood City Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Barnes said during the meeting.

“And there’s nothing in here that requires us to go back to school on November 30th?” asked a board member.

“That’s correct,” responded Dr. Barnes.

Currently, Lakewood classes are fully remote, but some parents tell FOX 8 they want their children physically back in school.

The teachers union released the following statement:

“The Lakewood Teachers Association urges Dr. Michael Barnes, who has the sole authority to make this decision, to keep the Lakewood City School District in its remote instructional model until an improved public health situation permits a return to our buildings. We believe that the health and safety of everyone in the Lakewood City Schools must be his sole guiding principle. We further believe that his mandating an in-person return in the current public health climate would be irresponsible and would display a reckless disregard for the health and safety of the Lakewood City Schools community on his part.

The LTA would like to be clear that we do not oppose conducting in-person instruction. We miss our students and look forward to the day when we can welcome them to our classrooms. However, we are adamant that such instruction must take place only when it is safe to do so. Sadly, the deteriorating public health situation means that now is not that time.

The LTA calls on Dr. Barnes to act responsibly and in the interest of health and safety by keeping the Lakewood City School District on its remote instructional model.”

School officials say remote learning will always be an option for parents.

“Regardless, my kids are staying home, this is not about me and my family, this is about the teachers,” said Bennett.

In direct response to Cuyahoga County’s Stay at Home advisory, the Shaker Heights school district will return to full remote learning after Thanksgiving.

Strongsville will remain in person until Thanksgiving. On Thursday, the school board will discuss what happens after the break.

And in Westlake, students are in hybrid learning this week and had already planned to be virtual next week before the holiday. The superintendent says they will discuss the advisory with the Board of Health on Friday.

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