LEWIS CENTER — In a move that has long seemed inevitable, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the closing of school buildings for the remainder of the school year during his press conference on Monday, meaning Olentangy Local School District students will continue their distance learning courses for the duration of the academic calendar.
“The virus continues,” DeWine said of the chief reason for keeping schools closed. “We have flattened the curve, but it remains dangerous. The situation is fluid.”
In addition to the virus itself and the dangers it still poses, DeWine said discussions with school officials have also raised concerns about the issues of continuity. He said “a large number” of superintendents, principals, and other school officials have indicated to him that returning to in-school learning with a short amount of time remaining in the school year “is probably not a good idea, even if the health situation was resolved.”
“This is sad news for all of us — students, parents, teachers, staff and our entire community,” Olentangy Local Schools Superintendent Mark Raiff said in a statement on the district’s website. “However, we remain committed to finishing this school year strong. We will celebrate our students’ achievements and milestones, and support our families during this unprecedented time.”
Raiff went on to state, “The district transitioned from an in-school to a distance learning environment in mid-March and remains committed to continued improvement and execution of our distance learning plan in the coming weeks. We also are committed to communicating the most thorough information possible to you. We know you have many questions and we are working diligently to provide the answers you seek regarding the remaining weeks of school.”
While there has been no word from the district on an official canceling of the May 17 graduation ceremonies, officials announced earlier this month the district has secured a secondary date of July 19 for the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, which would host ceremonies for all four Olentangy high schools.