CLEVELAND, Ohio — As coronavirus continues to surge around the state, are schools making the switch to remote learning?
In Cuyahoga County, many districts have reconsidered plans to reintroduce students, or made a temporary switch to remote learning to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. Some districts are using state trends to make the decisions, while others are feeling the pressure that local coronavirus cases put on staffing.
There are no restrictions on Ohio’s schools as the state introduces a curfew and cracks down on gatherings to try and slow the increase of cases. The decision is left in the hands of local school officials and boards of education.
The most recent map from the Ohio Department of Education shows that between Sept. 21 and Nov. 12, the number of public districts planning for 5-day and hybrid models went up. Only 45 districts were reported as staying all-remote. Most school districts were in hybrid models.
In places like Berea and Brooklyn, a hybrid model has worked and is currently still in place. In Solon, officials are staying the course but issued a notice on Nov. 13 warning of what will happen if cases continue to rise.
For other districts, like North Royalton, whether students are in school buildings depends on more localized data. If Cuyahoga remains red in the state’s color-coded alert map, officials will assess, beginning Nov. 30, factors including cases per ZIP code, how many staff and students are out, and whether substitutes are available. In Chagrin Falls, the district is upping the rate for substitute teachers.
In Independence, which switched Nov. 10 to remote learning because of a rise in cases in school buildings, a major problem was the lack of support staff, like drivers or cleaners. The district will stay in remote learning until the end of Thanksgiving break, but Superintendent Ben Hegedish said officials might consider staying remote for another few days.
The district was operating in an all-in model, with 90% of families opting for in-person learning. Hegedish said coronavirus conditions at the school reflected what happened statewide. For the first seven weeks of school, the district had three cases. In the past three weeks, there have been 10.
Here are some of the school districts in Cuyahoga County that have changed course or opted to stay remote during the county’s return to “red,” or Level 3 status, or because of the spike in cases the past couple of weeks.
These listings will be updated.
Bay Village schools announced on Monday that students would learn from home Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, because of the rise in coronavirus cases. As of Oct. 21, the district planned to move to online learning from the week of Thanksgiving to Dec. 7.
Beachwood schools delayed the start of the winter sports season for contact sports, including basketball and wrestling, to January. Superintendent Robert Hardis said in a video message that the measure is a “pre-emptive” measure for keeping students in buildings.
“Keep practicing, keep preparing with your coaches, your season is coming,” he said.
Breckville-Broadview Heights is “pressing pause” on a five-day return, Superintendent Joelle Magyar wrote in a letter to the community on Nov. 12. Grades K-4 will stay in a hybrid model. Broadview-Brecksville High school students will be out through Nov. 30, so the building can be cleaned due to what the county board of health defined as an “outbreak.”
Cleveland Heights-University Heights
The school board voted on Nov. 11 to keep school in remote learning until January 15.
The district posted on Facebook that buildings will remain in remote status until at least Nov. 30.
Superintendent Chris Hanke said in a video message that the district will remain learning remotely until January.
Lakewood schools postponed in-person start dates when the county moved into “red” status in late October.
Maple Heights schools will remain remote through the end of the second quarter, due to the county moving into “red” status.
Mayfield schools announced on Oct. 9 that high schoolers would move to remote learning because of cases and quarantining at the building. This will continue through the end of Thanksgiving break. All other buildings are open.
North Olmsted schools will begin remote learning on Nov. 23, through Dec. 7, Superintendent Michael Zalar announced in a note to the community on Tuesday. The switch is because of a rise in local cases in staff and students, both online and in-person.
Zalar wrote that the case numbers rising is consistent with what’s happening around the state, which has made it difficult to staff buildings.
Independence schools will be remote through the end of Thanksgiving break due to a rise in local cases.
Has your school district or private school pivoted recently because of the coronavirus? Let us know by sending an email to Emily Bamforth at email@example.com.
A previous version of this story incorrectly labeled Strongsville schools as fully remote through the end of Thanksgiving break because of a rise in local cases. That was incorrect.