Jan. 13, 2021 -- Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby has recommended to the Board of Education that the District remain in a fully remote learning status until at least Monday, February 1.
The recommendation followed a from Superintendent Kirby and the administrative team during the January 12 Board of Education work session.
Cuyahoga County has been under a stay at home advisory since November 18, 2020. The county has also remained in Level 3 “red” alert level status in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System since October 15. The District considers county, state and national guidance when determining recommendations for reopening.
“We have followed the guidance of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health as it relates to when it is safe to return to school. They have indicated that there are other factors they consider when providing school guidance on reopening, including the number of active cases, community spread, and vaccine availability,” Superintendent Kirby explained.
The District plans to offer instruction in a hybrid model on or before March 1, pending guidance from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. The recommended return structure is that all staff will return to schools in a hybrid model, and students will be phased in to in-person learning. The phase-in would prioritize pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade first, as those students have not yet attended school in their buildings. Small groups of students, such as students with low-incidence disabilities, will return aligned to the Board of Health guidance.
Superintendent Kirby went on to recommend that kindergarten students return in the that has been developed by kindergarten teachers and the advisory committee. According to the interest survey sent in December to families, 49% of parents who wish their kindergartner to return to school in the second semester (or aren’t sure) prefer the half-day model; 40% prefer the hybrid model and 11% do not have a preference.
Families will still have the option of keeping their children in fully remote learning. It’s important to note that these students will not have to enroll in the Ohio Online program, as there is currently confusion about this circulating on social media. However, the District cannot guarantee that the fully remote students will be able to keep their current teacher(s) due to staffing needs.
Specific information regarding individual building operation plans and procedures will be available soon on CHUH.org, and the overall District Health and Safety plan can be found .
The state has announced that vaccinations will be distributed to school personnel as part of Phase 1B beginning the week of February 1. Superintendents must agree to have their schools in an in-person model, either full or hybrid, by March 1 in order to be able to receive vaccines for school personnel. Substitute staff, District contractors and student teachers are also eligible for the vaccine. Vaccinations are also expected to be effective in protecting against the new strain of COVID-19 that has been detected. The District is awaiting additional details on this process from the state and the county.
The Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio has agreed to assist the Cuyahoga County Board of Health with vaccine distribution to educators. For planning purposes, the CCBH has asked the ESC to gather the number of eligible employees who plan to receive the vaccine. The District has since sent a survey to staff in order to help collect this data.
The Board of Education plans to meet again within the next two weeks to receive further updates from Superintendent Kirby and District leaders.