During his 3 p.m. summer update, Dr. David Glasner, superintendent, announced the district is considering a full remote start plan for the reopening of schools.
This announcement comes a week after the Shaker Heights Teachers’ Association published a letter calling for school to start and continue remotely until at least the end of the first semester.
The letter, which was shared with the administration July 21 and posted to the SHTA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, recommended that “the 2020-21 school year begin and remain remote and virtual at least through January 2021” because of the ongoing and increasing spread of COVID-19.
If school were to begin fully remote, classes would start Aug. 31. If the district were to implement the current hybrid learning plan, which includes both in person and online learning, school would begin on Aug. 24.
Slides displayed during Glasner’s update noted the need for controlled community spread of the coronavirus in order to bring students and teachers back into school buildings. Currently Cuyahoga County, there are 11,788 confirmed cases. In Ohio, there are 85,177 confirmed cases. According to IdeaStream, 480 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed last week in the county.
If the district moves to a full remote learning schedule, Glasner said, it will aim to provide childcare with the help of the city recreation department for families who need it.
“As you all know, student and staff health and safety is our primary concern and priority as we plan for the school year,” Glasner said in the update. “And that remains the case, particularly as we see COVID-19 cases continue to rise in this area. And our decisions are informed and guided by the district’s strategic plan, which rests on two pillars of educational equity and the International Baccalaureate framework.”
Following Glasner’s announcement this afternoon, the SHTA released another letter stating teachers’ commitment to ensuring students get the best education with online learning. “As we consider a virtual beginning to the 2020-2021 school year, the SHTA Executive Board would like to assure parents and community that we are fully committed to a robust online curriculum,” the letter stated. This will include accommodations for students with IEPs and 504 plans, regular conferences and one-on-one interactions with teachers.
The current hybrid plan would have the high school operating on a 3/4 schedule, grades 5-8 and Pre-K on an A-B week schedule and students K-4 going to school all day every day with smaller classes.
Concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in the county and state have pushed the SHTA and administration to consider a full online start.
The District will announce a final decision this Friday about whether the reopening of schools will have a virtual or hybrid start.
Campus and City Editor Chethan Chandra contributed to reporting. The Shakerite will continue to cover this story as it develops.