Plans Remain in Discussion Phase

Blueprint for APS Reopen and Recover
Posted on 07/15/2020
Image of Important StampA nearly four-hour meeting left members of the Akron Public Schools Board of Education with a clearer idea of what school could look like this fall, but it also brought to the surface new questions about nearly every aspect of APS Reopen and Recover.

The district calls its plan Reopen and Recover to make clear its mission to not only reopen educational opportunities but to help students recover, academically, from last spring's COVID-19 affected learning environment.

A team of staff, teachers, administrators and parents worked on recommendations that include starting school a week later than the staggered August 27, 28 and 31 dates previously planned. The team consists of 150 persons.

The new recommendation from the team gives teachers a week longer to prepare by opening Sept. 3, 4 and 8. Start dates would depend upon grade level.

Some on the board took it a step further, suggesting start dates in mid September.

All families will be offered an online-only option in case they do not want their children to come back to school in-person.

APS Chief Academic Office Ellen McWilliams-Woods, Ph.D., presented the plan again, as she did at the last meeting, updating where necessary and answering numerous questions posed by board members.

A change did come in transportation plans between the last board meeting and Monday's meeting. If approved, APS would allow two students per seat, allowing for 44 on a bus at once; all would wear masks and use hand sanitizer before boarding.

The board did not vote on any of what it calls "decision points" of the plan to reopen and has yet to decide just when that vote may come.

APS Reopen and Recover would employ six feet of social distancing among all students and staff, consistent with federal and state guidance.

McWilliams-Woods said, "This essentially cuts classrooms in half necessitating staggered days of attendance for many of our students."

Protective masks will be recommended for students and staff.
  • The youngest students and those with the most significant disabilities would be able to come to school five days a week for a full day. 
  • Preschool students could come every day for half a day.
  • Starting in third grade, students would come to school two days a week.
  • High school students would do the majority of their learning online but would come to school for projects, small group work, hands-on activities or science labs.
At Monday's meeting, McWilliams-Woods stressed that students might come to school once a week or more, but it will depend on a schedule set by their College and Career Academy. In other words, one size will not fit all.

A decision was made Monday regarding I PROMISE School, which typically runs on a schedule that is separate from the rest of APS. That schedule usually includes a start date in late July. The board voted to delay the opening for just this year; the school’s calendar will be the same as the district’s.

Parents should keep in mind, under the current timetable, they would have to choose by the end of this month whether they want to be fully remote or send their child to school per the plan for their grade level.

Again, however, the plan remains just a blueprint until there is a vote by the board.
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