Schools scramble to plan for extended closure

Posted at 5:54 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 19:43:08-04

CLEVELAND — The printers were running so much Friday morning in the teacher's lounge at E. Prep Cliffs Campus, one of them stopped.

"They said we could use their printers if we need to too because they know the craziness that is going on right now," said Amanda Schecter.

"So we might, we might go on a field trip to go print more," said Elizabeth Everett.

Both women are directors of curriculum and instruction at in the Breakthrough Schools system.

They spent Friday collecting, printing and organizing work packets for students to take with them.

At the end of this school day, students would not be coming back for three weeks.

Governor Mike DeWine issued the order Thursday afternoon but he said schools could stay open until the end of March 16. Some, like Breakthrough Schools, chose to close earlier.

It's all an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. School-aged children are not considered high risk, but they are carriers for the virus that is rapidly spreading through the country.

Now, with very little notice, schools are forced to come up with plans for how to care for kids outside of school hours.

"It's not the same as having classroom instruction," said Alan Rosskamm, the CEO of Breakthrough Schools.

But he said the process is evolving and things may change if the closure lasts longer than three weeks.

"We have to care for kids when they are here," he said. "But in extraordinary times like this, we have to figure out how to care for them when they can't be here."

That means making sure kids are fed.

Because 80 percent of students in the Breakthrough School Charter System qualify for free and reduced lunch, every student gets breakfast and lunch for free.

"So, we're still working out the details, but because we also want to maintain the spirit of the Governor's directive, rather than having sit-down lunches, we're working with our suppliers to create some kind of grab-and-go system where kids can come in, get their lunch and take it home or take it elsewhere," said Rosskamm.

DeWine gave districts a lot of liberty to make a plan that fits the needs of their students. Each district will have a different plan for lunches and school work during the closure. Check with your local district for details.

Right now, school are set to start back up on April 3.