BEACHWOOD, Ohio — Troy Woodard and his fifth grade son are cautiously excited about Beachwood City Schools reopening.
"I think my son needs the socialization, he needs the structure, he needs the constant interaction with the teacher. I think that is better for him,” said Woodard.
Woodard understands there are risks when he sends his son back Sept. 21.
"We don’t want him to get COVID and spread it to other classmates or to the family, you have to be worried about that,” he said.
Woodard said he’s confident the district is trying its best.
"What lead us to the decision to open on the 21st was the sustained decline in virus spread in Northeast Ohio,” said Beachwood City Schools superintendent Robert Hardis.
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Cuyahoga County for the past couple weeks have been declining.
The district said when it reopens for in-person learning, lots of things will be different.
"Small groups of students at the elementary levels will be in school with a single teacher throughout the day,” said Hardis. "At our middle and high school, only half of our students will report to school at anytime, it’s essentially a half day schedule.”
He went on to talk about the safety protocols.
"All of our staff, all of our students, will be wearing masks the entire time,” he said. "We have hand washing and hand sanitizing located in all of our buildings in every classroom.”
About 75% of students will be coming back into the classroom, the other 25% have already opted to stay home for the entire semester.
"I wish they could go to school, we’re not super comfortable with that,” said Paul Filsinger.
Filsinger has three kids in the Beachwood City School district and he said he thought about sending them back, but his 80-year-old mother-in-law lives with them.
"If my mother-in-law catches this, that’s going to be tough, that’s going to be real tough,” said Filsinger.
He said he’s confident in the district, but he's doing the best thing for his family.
"I’m sure they’re doing the best they can with physical barriers and having everybody wear masks,” he said. "I’ve got a 6-year-old and a 7 year-old and they are going to not socially distance and I don’t blame them for it.”
Both of these parents said they hope they are making the right decision for their families, as the school district continues to figure things out too.
"I don’t know,” said Filsinger. “We’re all just trying to navigate this together, I don’t know what the right answers are.”