During a special meeting held Thursday, the Buckeye Valley Board of Education voted to return to in-person classes five days a week beginning March 22.
At its Feb. 10 meeting, board members discussed moving from the current four-day learning model back to a traditional five-day learning model, but a final decision wasn’t made until Thursday’s meeting.
Superintendent Dr. Andy Miller provided the board with an update on the district’s current COVID-19 cases. He said staff and student cases are the lowest they’ve been since before December.
“We look to be trending in the right direction,” Miller said. “I feel pretty good about the things we have in place.”
Miller added Buckeye Valley staff will be getting their second dose of the COVID vaccine on March 6, and he would like to give teachers the recommended two weeks for the vaccine to reach maximum efficiency.
He said a big advantage of waiting to resume five-day education until two weeks after the second dose is that staff who are exposed to COVID will not have to quarantine for two weeks before returning to school, which has been the protocol since the start of the school year.
“I think it’s important we go with the model we have for the full two weeks for the staff, and (it’s important) for them to feel comfortable,” Miller said.
Board President Justin Osborn agreed. He said returning to five-day education on March 22 will give staff a full week of classes and then a week off for spring break. Osborn added spring break will give staff a chance to think about any changes that need to be made.
Osborn also praised district staff for following safety protocols and preventing the spread of the virus within the school.
“I think our district has done as fantastic job…” he said. “All of the teachers and staff at every level have to be commended for all the work they put in over this period of time.”
The board added that once students return, safety protocols must continue to be followed, and cleaning and sanitizing will be stepped up to keep the school safe.
Before adjourning, the board passed a resolution to return students on the “Barons are Back” plan to five-day education on March 22.
“We want to get the kids back in school, and we want to do it responsibly,” Miller said. “I think we’re in a good spot.”
The board said students in the online academy will remain online. Miller said students will not be able to change learning models because they were semester-long commitments.
The board also voted to approve the “2020 and Beyond Strategic Plan,” which states the district’s goals are student success, a caring culture, resource stewardship and effective communication.
The board will meet next at 6 p.m. March 17.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.