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Students return to classrooms across Northeast Ohio despite COVID-19 concerns

Posted at 6:59 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 06:59:01-04

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — Cuyahoga County is still classified as red on the state's advisory level system and health officials say when the risk of spreading COVID-19 is high, students should not return to classrooms.

But not every district agrees.

Some districts like Brecksville and Solon are moving forward with their own plans. Solon’s superintendent, Feed Bolden, said he believes guidance from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health will allow them to stay the course when it comes to in-person learning. On Monday, it’s 7 through 12th-grade students who started a hybrid schedule. The plan will allow students to have an alternating schedule of two days in school and three days of remote learning.

“The kids are excited to be there, and we’re excited to have them,” Bolden said during Monday’s school board meeting. “We’re at about 30% capacity in the building which enables us to have a much larger distance especially in the population that is the most mobile and the most able to transmit the virus.”

We’re told families of students in kindergarten through sixth grade have been able to choose in-person learning five days a week since on Oct. 5.

“Our parents are being very patient with us as our teachers are going through the anxiety of managing both in-person students and remote learners all at the same time,” Bolden said.

Meanwhile, parents in Lakewood are fighting for the same opportunity. Some parents told News 5 they’re upset after the district made it clear during its Monday board meeting that it will continue with remote learning if Cuyahoga County is listed as a red level 3 county.

“I’m here to fight for my children. I’m here to fight for the rights to want the choice to go to school,” Christie Gibbons said.

A petition is now circulating with more than 500 signatures asking the superintendent and school board to reconsider and allow in-person learning.

On Monday, Gov. DeWine expressed concerns about the growing number of coronavirus cases. He says the state’s upward trend could reverse progress and send all students back to remote learning. However, there has not been any indication that a remote learning order from the state is being considered.

That decision is currently up to school leaders.