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Many area school districts are delaying the new school year, with Online at Home learning

By La Prensa Staff

The Toledo Public Schools board of education, for example, will push back the start of the academic year until after Labor Day weekend and students will learn at home online, much the same way they ended the prior school year. Fall sports are in serious jeopardy, because those won’t start until Oct. 1.

The TPS academic year will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 with students learning remotely. Students will have access to all learning resources and will be provided a digital learning device, such as a Google Chromebook. School district officials are working to expand wi-fi access. In a statement on the district website, TPS officials emphasize “state-licensed and credentialed educators will teach live every day.”

Those are the parameters described in what is called a “Red Light” status. TPS administrators developed traffic-light themed instruction levels for the upcoming academic year. The red-light status is reflective of recent increases in coronavirus cases in Lucas County and statewide.

“As you all know, there is no right way or right answer. In some aspects, you’re going to have some people who are going to be upset. In some aspects, you’re going to have some people who are happy,” said TPS Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant in a video posted on the district website. “At the end of the day, we had to make a decision which is best and safe for our students, as well as our staff.”

Dr. Romules Durant
TPS Superintendent

Eric Gordon
CEO Cleveland Metropolitan
School District

The district warns students, families, ant TPS staff should be prepared to remain under that status for the entire first semester, but that status could change as the COVID-19 situation warrants.

“I think every one of you will appreciate we’re not just going into remote to stay in remote,” said Dr. Durant. “We’re going to evaluate other schools, in essence of coming back full or in half, will impact school culture. By having that information, it will help us determine what is best for our students and staff to come back and do things in a hybrid way.”

Students can pick up free breakfast and lunch meals from their assigned school for the week. They’ll also be eligible for all active school sports and extracurricular activities at their home school. However, no TPS sports season will begin before Oct. 1, leaving other schools scrambling to fill nonleague contests on their fall schedules.

For example, Delta and Swanton in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League were scheduled to face TPS opponents in the second week of the football season. Instead, they’ll play each other and count the game as a nonleague contest, in addition to a league rivalry game later in the season.

That also leaves TPS high schools, at best, to engage in a City League football season, which likely would leave them ineligible for postseason play due to a lack of games. However, Ohio’s governor has yet to weigh in on whether any sports will advance to a full season. Scrimmages in all fall sports were eliminated, even though practices were allowed to begin on schedule Aug. 1.

A yellow light status means students could continue to opt to continue a virtual learning opportunity, as opposed to going to classes. However, physical attendance in a school would be on an “A/B” schedule. Students would either attend in-person classes on Monday and Thursday (Group A), or Tuesday and Friday (Group B). Wednesday would be at-home online learning.

Students would have assignments and online learning to complete on their off days during a yellow light status. Meal service would continue, with students taking home lunch and breakfast for their non-attendance days. All students in grades 3-12 will receive a Google Chromebook for their schoolwork. Elementary students would still receive art, music, and physical education, but on a trimester basis.

A green light status indicates school is in full session, as normal. A virtual learning option would remain in place for those who prefer to continue to utilize it.

Families have the option to request virtual learning for the entire first semester, regardless of the status TPS is operating. The deadline for online learning opt-in is Saturday, Aug. 8.

TPS administrators plan to meet individually with every family before the start of the academic year. Those meetings are expected to occur between Aug. 14 and Labor Day weekend.

Many of the eight largest urban Ohio school districts are employing similar tactics to start the new academic year. Cleveland Metropolitan Schools, for example, was the first to announce a virtual learning option, at least for the first nine weeks. Many of the Ohio 8, as they are known, are re-evaluating their original return plans. TPS had initially announced a hybrid learning model, which currently mirrors the “yellow-light” status.

Many of Ohio’s school districts have yet to announce formal return to school plans, as their administrators continue to evaluate health advisories. The Toledo-Lucas County Health Dept. is set to announce precautionary guidance, which many local school districts plan to use to finalize their academic year plans. Most suburban school districts are set to return the week of Aug. 17.

During a recent statewide coronavirus briefing, Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that help was on the way for districts needing technology and broadband access. The financial aid is coming in the form of $50 million in matching grants, which would help schools get what they need in additional wi-fi access and digital devices to loan to students.

Parents can submit questions via email at questions@tps.org. District administrators plan to provide updates via social media and online at the “Responsible Readiness page on the district website, www.tps.org.



Copyright © 1989 to 2020 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/04/20 17:57:47 -0700.




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