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Local districts formulate COVID-19 fall school reopening plans

Posted at 8:50 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 11:23:27-04

CLEVELAND — Northeast Ohio school districts are working on plans to reopen their buildings this coming fall but said many of the big decisions will be based on state and county coronavirus recommendations later this year.

School leaders in Cleveland and Parma explained how they'll finish up this year and get prepared for next year, in mid to late August.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon told News 5 remote learning will continue through the rest of this year, as will food distribution at the districts 22 meal sites, with the program rolling into its summer distribution.

Gordon said students will be graded on a pass/fail basis for the fourth quarter, with their teacher making that determination.

“We have seen over 5,200 students in a single day, which mean 10,400 meals in day, and those numbers will continue to grow as we move into the summer," Gordon said.

"When it comes to final grades, let’s look hard at the third quarter grade, or the grades up to third quarter and the students efforts."

"Did the student and the family do all he or she could to be engaged, leaving it to teacher judgment."

Parma Schools Superintendent Charles Smialek told News 5 students should expect to see a final report card in the second week of June.

Both Parma and Cleveland schools said they will be working toward stocking up on personal protective equipment in the coming months, and could employ a staggered schedule for this fall to reduce the number of students in classrooms, hallways and cafeterias.

"Our first task is to secure as many supplies as we can, from hand sanitizer, potentially masks, certainly wipes," Smialek said.

“We may have to have a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule where students are coming in person, and then a Tuesday, Thursday schedule where the other half of the class is coming in, and then we can rotate that.”

Gordon and Smialek said it's not likely their districts would make wearing masks and gloves mandatory for students and staff, unless health officials made it a requirement in the fall.

Gordon said wearing personal protective equipment could be more likely be a personal choice in the districts school buildings.

"But i think that we’re going to expect to see that people are going to want to see masks and gloves, and particularly young children who are still learning good hygiene skills," Gordon said.

“We have to look at fewer kids spread out more fully in cafeterias, when it’s time to do that, or maybe bring meals back to classrooms where there is less congregating.”

Gordon said the district is also exploring school building bathroom protocols for the upcoming school year, and even the potential for hand washing stations outside each classroom if needed.