Schools across the state were originally set to return to the classroom next week as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s “extended spring break” order was set to end April 3. For many in the education field, the April 6 goal of returning to school seemed overly optimistic from the outset, however, and on Monday, DeWine delivered the unsurprising news of the k-12 school closures now extending through Friday, May 1.
During his daily press conference Monday, DeWine thanked teachers, administrators, students, and parents for their work under the circumstances, saying, “This is a problem not of our making, but it’s a problem you all have stepped up to and are doing a great job (of handling).”
The extended closure now puts school districts in an even more precarious position as they must still weigh the technical possibility of classes resuming this school year, while also formulating end-of-year plans should school end later in May as originally scheduled. For the Olentangy Local School District, the academic year is scheduled to come to a close May 21, just three weeks after DeWine’s updated timeframe for reopening.
Questions are aplenty regarding what school districts are planning to do in regard to students’ grades during the absence, and by extension, overall grades for the 2019-20 school year. Answers are few and far in between, given the fluid nature of the circumstances, but OLSD Chief Academic Officer Jack Fette offered a few statements to The Gazette when asked about OLSD’s plans moving forward.
“We are dealing with unprecedented challenges, but we are up for the task,” Fette said. “Olentangy Local Schools hires the very best teachers and staff, and they are showing their incredible skills and talents every single day. We are moving ahead with grade cards, but they may be adapted to reflect the current environment. It’s still school, and we don’t want to diminish the lessons our students are learning and completing.”
Graduation day for OLSD is perhaps the largest combined ceremony in the state and will only have grown larger this year with the addition of Olentangy Berlin’s inaugural graduating class. Asked about the district’s plans with its graduation ceremonies, Fette said, “We are looking for the best option so our kids can celebrate the completion of the greatest accomplishment of their lives thus far.”
To remain up to date on all news and decisions coming from OLSD, visit the district website at www.olentangy.k12.oh.us.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.