Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday that students and teachers across Ohio would continue remote learning for the rest of the school year.
He defended the announcement, stating COVID-19 is still spreading and poses a health danger to both staff and students.
Teachers said this affects both the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year and planning for the start of classes in the fall.
While the announcement was expected, the finality of the decision is emotional for teachers.
“Knowing that I am not going to end the year giving them hugs and being able to say bye to them the way that we would want to wrap up the year is going to be really unfortunately impactful for all of us,” Shelly Travaglianti said.
Travaglianti, known by her 18 first graders as “Miss T,” said in August students will be walking into classrooms for the first time in five months.
She said this creates an inevitable learning curve.
“There’s gonna be a lot more assessment that needs to take place,” Travaglianti said, “We are going to have to assess where these students are and we are definitely going to have to make the changes necessary.”
Laura Leanza Preston teaches fourth grade at Boulevard Elementary School and knows home internet access isn’t the same for students across the board.
“Some have parental or an older brother or sister that’s really helping them,” Preston said, “Others are just doing it on their own.”
Some teachers have even resorted to communicating via social media with students who are unable to access digital classrooms.
“So we’re out there trying to connect,” Preston said, “But it just doesn’t replace the teacher connection of sitting in a room together.”
Both Travaglianti and Preston said assessing the emotional and academic needs of new students will be a top priority in the fall.
“Ending the year that way and starting next year just has a very different stain to it that we’re not used to,” Preston said.