In response to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision Monday to keep school buildings closed and cancel in-person classes for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, local school districts, which stated they were not surprised by announcement, vowed to continue working with families and students to have the school year end as smoothly as possible.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria said his office will continue to work to “provide Ohio students with the best possible experience given the circumstances for the remainder of the school year.”
“We realize this was a very difficult decision for the governor — we appreciate his leadership,” DeMaria said in a statement posted on the ODE’s website. “We are going to get through this the same way we’ve gotten this far — together. We also understand that there will be many questions stemming from today’s announcement. The Ohio Department of Education remains committed to providing answers as they become available.”
DeMaria thanked Ohio students and families for working hard during the closure.
“Finally, I want to thank students, staff, families and caregivers who have demonstrated incredible flexibility and can-do spirit in the face of this public health emergency,” he said. “I am so inspired by how hard you’ve worked to adapt and respond to this situation. Thank you for your continued patience, flexibility and enthusiasm.”
Delaware City Schools Superintendent Heidi Kegley said Tuesday the district is working on plans to close out the rest of the school year.
“Yesterday’s announcement was not unexpected, but it still hurt,” Kegley said. “This is certainly not how any of us wanted to end the school year. We will continue our at-home learning for the rest of the academic year and are currently working on plans on how to close out the school year for our students and families. The high school team is currently working on plans to honor all of the achievements of our graduating class, including graduation.”
Kegley added the district will provide additional details to families soon.
Last week, Kegley told the Delaware City Schools Board of Education that the district has already secured July 24 as a backup graduation date.
Delaware Area Career Center Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman sent an email to students and their families after the announcement, noting remote learning is a certainty for the rest of the school year.
“Parents and students — you are all doing a fantastic job adapting to this new way of operating and I am continuously impressed by what you are accomplishing,” Freeman said. “While today’s announcement brings clarity to the question of how long remote learning might go on, it certainly does not answer all of our questions. We will continue working with our state leaders and health officials to bring you more answers. For now, we will all continue pushing forward and doing our best.”
Freeman added the DACC has rescheduled its Completion Ceremony for July 8, but she said that date may change depending on state mandates.
In a letter sent to families in the Buckeye Valley Local School District Monday evening, Superintendent Andy Miller responded to the announcement by stating, “We understand this decision is in the best interest of student safety and welfare, but it is still disheartening. We know that students and families will have to face the finality of lost athletic seasons, performances, banquets, memories with friends, and many other fun activities that are all staples at the end of the school year.”
Miller said the district had anticipate the announcement and is working to help students finish the school year.
“This also comes at a time that families face their own unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “We also know the governor’s order to close school for the rest of the school year presents a great challenge to our families. However; the district has been anticipating this possibility all along and will continue to work diligently to partner with you in furthering your child’s education and well-being.”
Miller said remote learning will continue, and the school buildings will remain closed through the remainder of the year.
“We will continue to adjust and administer our virtual learning plans and expectations, provide student services and resources to the best of our ability, and distribute free meals to our students,” he said. “We are also working on plans to address any potential learning gaps that may occur during remote learning, including our youngest learners.”
Miller added teachers and staff will remain available via email and will hold virtual office hours to help students and their families.
“We appreciate your support and know that we will continue to work together as a school community to navigate through these challenging times together,” he said.
Glenn Battishill can be reached 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.