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Akron Public Schools pauses plan to return to in-person learning, will continue remote learning

District also pauses winter sports schedules
Akron Public Schools
Posted at 7:40 PM, Nov 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-21 19:40:37-05

AKRON, Ohio — Akron Public Schools informed its staff Friday that it would be temporarily shelving its plans to bring some students back for in-person learning in December, due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the area and the state.

Superintendent David James sent a letter to teachers in the district to thank them for the hard work they’ve done since the start of the pandemic and to inform them of the delay in the plan to return to their buildings.

“Because of the frighteningly rapid increase in COVID cases here in Ohio and in the nation, we find ourselves downshifting once more. Even with our usual diligence and sound, strategic planning, we are at the mercy of this virus,” James wrote. “ And so it is, with that, we must temporarily shelve our plans to bring some students back for site-based learning in December. Our planning for this will not be interrupted, however. It will and must continue. But, for now, we will not be putting into action our so-called remote-plus plan to bring students into the classroom for special assistance.”

In addition to putting a hold on plans to return to in-person learning, Akron Public Schools will be pausing its winter sports schedule and reevaluating them in mid-December. Three non-league games that have already been scheduled to be played will continue, James said.

“The health and safety of our students, staff and families still comes first, and we still follow the guidance of public health experts who are, themselves, feeling overwhelmed right now more than at any time since March,” James wrote.

Read the full letter below:

Dear APS Teachers:

The jumble of the day’s news with all of its noise and chaos can sometimes leave us feeling battered and even emotionally drained. I believe it is safe to assume we all have found ourselves in that position over the past nine months or so. The work you have done, along with the incredible work of all of our teams and staff members is to be honored. We are grateful for your purposeful mission and dedication to our students.

Tonight, I write this letter so that I may again offer what guidance I can provide, a compass if you will, for the immediate future here at Akron Public Schools. Because of the frighteningly rapid increase in COVID cases here in Ohio and in the nation, we find ourselves downshifting once more. Even with our usual diligence and sound, strategic planning, we are at the mercy of this virus. And so it is, with that, we must temporarily shelve our plans to bring some students back for site-based learning in December. Our planning for this will not be interrupted, however. It will and must continue. But, for now, we will not be putting into action our so-called remote-plus plan to bring students into the classroom for special assistance.

I might also mention that, save for three non-league games already scheduled to be played, we will be pausing in our winter sports schedules and reevaluating them in mid-December after the county’s stay-at-home advisory expires (or continues).

So, we continue with remote learning; the only in-class work that will be done will be students who must come in for state testing. The health and safety of our students, staff and families still comes first, and we still follow the guidance of public health experts who are, themselves, feeling overwhelmed right now more than at any time since March.

Please do all you can to take the sobering pandemic news of each day seriously. Carefully follow the best advice and stay close to home so that we may do our part to stem the spread of COVID.

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