Nordonia Hills teachers ask district to switch to remote learning for start of school year

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NORTHFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio (WJW) — Ten days before they are scheduled to return to work, some teachers in a local school district renew their appeal for school officials to begin the school year remotely. 

Friday, they released a letter to the community outlining their concerns.

Teachers in the Nordonia Hills City School District in Summit County are scheduled to return to the classroom on August 24. More than 3600 students return about two weeks later, with a hybrid model of instruction with 25% learning from home.

“The other three fourths of students would then be divided by alphabet, into sort of like an A/B schedule on those Monday, Wednesdays and Tuesdays, Thursdays,” explained Nate Loman, president of the Nordonia Hills Educators’ Association.

The association sent a letter to school officials recommending full virtual learning for the first nine weeks due to coronavirus concerns.

Loman, who is a high school history and economics teacher says 60% of teachers do not feel safe with the existing hybrid plan. He says they would prefer to teach from their classrooms with students learning remotely from home.

“Half the students are coming twice a week and the other half are coming twice a week, so that essentially exposes all of our teachers and teaching staff to the entire school population,” Loman said.

According to the letter, a growing number of teachers have concerns about students’ ability to follow mask and social distancing guidelines and emphasize the Board of Health recommends virtual instruction.

“Our staff are afraid of I mean, not only for their own health, but for their families’ health,” said Loman.

Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark issued the following statement:

“I would never ask teachers to do anything I’d be unwilling to do myself…with the protocols we have in place, I am confident that our schools will be safe for staff and students…in addition, we had nearly 800 students sign up for remote learning. We needed staff to work remotely from home teaching these kids, and only forty teachers expressed interest, out of 220 on staff.”

“We’re not trying to be confrontational, we just thought it was important to reflect the concerns of a pretty solid majority of our membership,” said Loman.

The association president says teachers will show up for work, even if the district opens up with the hybrid learning model.

Both sides say, although they have a different opinion, they believe everyone has the district’s best interest at heart.

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