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YS Schools to resume in-person classes with new academic year

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Yellow Springs Schools will begin the 2020–21 school year with a resumption of “regular, in-person classes,” Superintendent Terri Holden has announced. However, “vulnerable” students whose families are uncomfortable with sending them back to the classroom will be offered an online learning option.

The start date, as previously announced before the in-person return was decided, is anticipated to be Thursday, Aug. 27, a week later than originally scheduled. The school board is expected to finalize the date change at its next regular meeting, Thursday, July 9, along with an earlier start time for the middle/high school campus.

Holden notified district families about the local reopening decision a day before Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state’s plan for reopening Ohio’s schools this fall, which is outlined in a newly released 36-page document titled “Reset and Restart Planning for Ohio Schools and Districts.”

“I think there’s a strong consensus among teachers, school principals, parents and the public around Ohio that our kids need to get back into the school building,” DeWine said during a press briefing Thursday, July 2.

DeWine said the state’s decision was also influenced by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has concluded that the benefits of being “physically present in school,” with safety precautions in place, outweigh the effects of continuing to keep students at home.

While Ohio is moving forward with the expectations that schools will reopen, the state is leaving specific plans up to individual districts. The only real requirement from the state is that all staff members — teachers, administrators, aides, custodial workers, office support, etc. — wear a mask, which the governor noted is in line with the statewide requirement for all places of employment. All other recommendations, including maintaining physical distancing of six feet and asking students from third grade up to wear masks, is “aspirational,” DeWine said.

Superintendent Holden wrote in her letter to families that the local decision to resume in-person classes was not made lightly.

“Our decision was informed by the results of our parent survey, which indicated a strong desire to resume normal, in-person classes this fall.” Holden wrote.

She added that the district is working closely with the county health department in developing the district’s plan. Certain aspects of that plan have already been determined. Among them are:

•A requirement that all students, in addition to staff, wear a mask at school and on buses. (Exceptions will be made by the superintendent in consultation with the health department.);

•An expectation that guardians will monitor their student’s temperature and overall health daily before sending a child to school;

•The suspension of field trips and assemblies;

•Seating charts on buses;

•The installation of new seating and plastic dividers in classrooms;

•Limited visitation;

•Frequent cleaning of high touch areas, surfaces and materials;

•The continuation of food services, with the logistics to be determined.

Holden also wrote that the district “will provide a complete online school option” for vulnerable students whose families are concerned about sending them back to school. K–12 students who decide on this option will be required to continue with online learning for a full semester at a time. 

More information about the plans to reopen local schools as well as results of the parent survey will published in a future issue of the News.

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One Response to “YS Schools to resume in-person classes with new academic year”

  1. Beasley Bookhammer says:

    (disclaimer: I don’t currently have children of school age.) If I did, I would not be able to send them back. The risk wouldn’t be worth it because I’d worry so much about them becoming infected or infecting us because of health issues. But there are so many opportunities for all people to learn today online. Encyclopedic knowledge is at our fingertips. Like the words to a song “they’ll learn more than I’ll ever know” and how true. If you feel it a more reasonable choice for your peace of mind or personal situation to keep your child at home for online learning, don’t be shamed because of it. I would have loved it as a child because I learned better without distractions and was always ahead of the class, but had to go slower for them. Some kids will thrive online. Know your child and circumstantial risk and make the wisest choice; it’s not one size fits all with learning. Never has been. Best wishes for a healthy, productive school year!

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