Prevailing Opinion Points to Fall Online School

Board Gets Closer to Deciding
Posted on 07/21/2020
Image of Important StampThough no vote has yet been taken on how Akron Public Schools students will be educated this fall, school board members and Superintendent David W. James, Ed.D., leaned decidedly toward an online-only option at a special board meeting Monday, July 20, 2020.

During July thus far, Ohio has recorded an average of 89 hospitalizations a day — nearly 50% higher than June’s average of 60. The virus led to 743 people being admitted into Ohio hospitals last week, the highest since the record week of April 5 when 853 were admitted. James said Monday the challenge of reopening buildings was already hard, but the virus continuing to spread at record levels in Ohio has raised additional concerns. He made a point of mentioning the current and particularly aggressive spread of COVID-19 in Summit County shared with him in a meeting with public health officials earlier in the day.

“We may need to look at starting our school year 100 percent remote learning,” James said.

A number of board members indicated they were in favor of the idea of starting the year remotely or at least in favor of exploring it.

The president of the teachers’ union cited a recent survey the Akron Education Association conducted with its members and said many believe it’s too soon to bring students back, given the projected risks.

One idea suggested by teachers would be to wait an entire grading period before making any change to the starting plan. Other options would be a combination of online learning and in-classroom instruction. Grading periods cover nine weeks.

David James indicated phasing in other plans is certainly possible.

He added, “This isn’t just limited to the schools. We’re part of the at-large community in Akron and Summit County, and if we don’t handle things the right way, things could get worse.”
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