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Ohio’s students won’t be returning to school for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.
The governor announced the news during his daily press conference on Monday, and it was met mostly with disappointment rather than shock. Schools have been closed since March 16 and many teachers, students, and parents had doubted they would be returning to the classrooms this year. But that didn’t make the official decision any easier to swallow.
Although remote learning creates its own set of challenges for teachers and administrators, they were supportive of the governor’s decision to keep schools closed. The Ohio Education Association, which represents more than 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s schools, appreciated the states focus on the health and safety of students and staff.
“ While our members deeply miss interacting with students in person, OEA’s top priority is the health and safety of our students, members and the communities we serve,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “OEA members will continue to do all that they can to ensure the wellbeing of students and to keep students creatively engaged in learning throughout the duration of the shutdown.”
There is the possibility that we will have a blended system this fall — some distance learning as well as some in-person learning. That's just a possibility and each school district is different.
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) April 20, 2020
The governor was also looking to the future at the press conference and couldn’t say whether or not schools would reopen in August for the 2020-2021 school year. He raised the possibility of a blended learning experience next year, where students would attend some classes in person and others remotely.
Those decisions will largely be left up to individual districts. Columbus City Schools, the largest school district in the state, is committed to serving students remotely for the remainder of the year. Talisa Dixon, the Superintendent of Columbus City Schools, released a video for students and parents, reassuring them of the district’s plans for remote learning.
“I’m sure many of you are feeling much like I am in craving a return to normalcy. We are uncertain what the future holds and what it means for our students and staff, and I know this uncertainty can be stressful. As we lead these new remote lives, I can’t help but miss seeing our students and staff in our school buildings. Our schools are a safe haven and second home for so many of our students, and we cannot wait until the day we are able to welcome them back in,” said Dixon.
“Until that time comes, though, Columbus City Schools is committed to engaging with and educating our students through the CCS Online Academy, which will be our virtual learning platform through the end of the academic year. Our school buildings may be closed, but learning will continue remotely.”
If you’re a parent on the steep learning curve of educating your child at home, you can visit coronavirus.ohio.gov for helpful resources. This is a stressful time for everyone and to all of the parents out there helping your kids cope with all of this, you deserve the world.
To the teachers who are working tirelessly and adapting to an entirely new reality, we applaud you. And to the students who are missing out on the last months of school, particularly the seniors, know that our hearts are with you. I feel pretty confident that Columbus will give you the recognition you deserve, as soon as it’s safe to do so.
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