Deadline looming for Ohio schools to declare intent for online, blended learning option

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CLEVELAND (WJW)- The deadline is looming for school districts to formally declare their intent for blended or online learning this school year with the Ohio Department of Education.

Schools districts that meet Tuesday’s deadline would have the ability to switch to blended or online learning if COVID-19 cases reach a level where school districts or school buildings need to close.

A similar scenario is happening now at Sandusky City Schools who announced students at the middle and high school would transition to virtual learning this week due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Our district has had the unfortunate circumstance of having four positive COVID tests occur at Sandusky High School among our faculty members,” said Eugene Sanders, the CEO and superintendent of Sandusky City Schools.

Several school districts have already submitted their intent to state officials prior to the deadline.

“We filed the Blended Learning Declaration with the Ohio Department of Education to allow us to deliver instruction remotely if we are forced to do so,” said Charles Smialek, superintendent of the Parma City School District. “However, we have no intent at this time to return to exclusively virtual instruction and will work diligently to exhaust all other options before making such a change.”

Districts stress that a declaration of their intent to the Ohio Department of Education does not automatically mean they will return to blended learning.

“We filed ours so that if we need to switch to remote learning for a period of time due to outbreak, we can do so,” said Joelle Magyar, superintendent of Brecksville-Broadview Heights City Schools.

A spokesperson for Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District said they submitted a school district online learning notification and a school district blended learning declaration to state officials.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, districts who fail to meet the deadline may need to use calamity days to meet the minimum number of instructional hours necessary if COVID cases were to force a school closure

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