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Village Schools

The halls of Mills Lawn elementary school stood empty at noon Monday, March 16, as the local school district enacted Gov. Mike DeWine’s order closing all kindergarten through 12th grade schools for at least three weeks. (Photo by Carol Simmons)

Schools closed through May 1

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Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday, March 30, that he has ordered the continued closure of all kindergarten through 12th-grade schools until at least May 1. While DeWine previously said that the shutdown likely will go on through the end of the school year, he has not yet made that official. The original three-week closure, which began Monday, March 16, was to have ended with students back in class Monday, April 6.

For Yellow Springs students, their originally scheduled spring break fell in the middle of the closure. Allowing for time off during the spring break period, teachers initially prepared packets of homework and study resources up to April 6.

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Anticipating that the shutdown would extend beyond the original three weeks, the district had already been planning for continued home learning.

On Tuesday, March 31, Superintendent Terri Holden said that she had been on video conference calls with teachers all morning. She said the specifics of their plans were not quite ready for sharing, but families would be notified soon about what to expect.

Holden did confirm that the food delivery program, which is providing meals to students who qualify for free or reduced lunches along with others who identify a need, would continue through the closure. Families can call the district office, at 937-767-7381, for more information about the effort.

Even before the shutdown extension, the Ohio Legislature last week approved the waiver of state-mandated school testing for the 2019-20 school year.

The action was among a number of school-related amendments to House Bill 197, which enacts a variety of statewide relief measures in response to the social effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Yellow Springs Schools had been scheduled before the closure to start testing next week.

Along with the testing waiver, the Legislature also approved the cancellation of the annual state report cards, which are based primarily on test results and are normally released in September. Relatedly, the voucher system, which identifies schools as underperforming based on those report card grades, will stay the same for next year, after several months of efforts to revise the program. Currently, students who attend such designated schools, including Mills Lawn Elementary, can receive money from the district to attend an approved private and/or parochial school. The application period began Wednesday, April 1, and information and forms are available on the Ohio Department of Education’s website,

Other school-related measures approved as part of the state relief bill include an allowance for seniors to graduate if they were on track to complete graduation requirements as of the date schools closed, March 17; and a change in the number of distance-learning days (where curriculum is delivered remotely) permitted for the makeup of school closings, from three days to the full extent of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Yellow Springs administrators have been careful not to classify the initial schoolwork provided to students as distance learning, because it has not included the presentation of new curriculum. Holden has said that will change going forward, however, as the district figures out ways teachers can continue teaching remotely.

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