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Government/Politics

School Districts Want Flexibility From Ohio Lawmakers To Deal With Unexpected COVID Issues

Will Schwartz,  Ohio School Boards Association
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Will Schwartz, Ohio School Boards Association

Schools throughout Ohio are dealing with outbreaks of COVID-19. Some have temporarily shut down. Others have gone to remote learning until the situation gets under control.

How a school district can react is based on the plans they set forth this summer when COVID cases didn't pose much of a threat to in-school learning.

About half of the state's more than 600 public school districts have submitted paperwork with the state to provide a blended learning model, according to Will Schwartz with the Ohio School Boards Association. That means they intended and planned from the onset of this school year to be remote for part of it.

Schwartz says 323 public school districts, 26 career centers, and four educational service centers have submitted a blended learning declaration for the current school year. In total, that's about one-half of the 711 statewide districts, career centers, and ESCs.

But now that COVID poses a threat, Schwartz says schools that intended to be in-person all year are seeking options.

“What school districts are asking for a similar remote learning flexibility from last school year where they can pivot on a day to address a staffing shortage by bus drivers or educators or illnesses in the classrooms or quarantine, Schwartz says.

Schwartz is hoping lawmakers prioritize giving this authority to districts when they return to the Statehouse later this month.