AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Public Schools have announced that its board of education voted to return students to in-person learning beginning on March 8.
The district says kindergarten through 2nd grade will report back to school on March 8. The remainder of the district's students will return on March 15, including pre-kindergartners.
Monday evening's announcement comes just over a week after Gov. Mike DeWine called out the district for not committing to return to in-person learning by his goal of March 1.
The state is in the process of giving first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to school employees and staff members whose districts signed an agreement to be back by the governor's target date. Despite signing the agreement, some districts including CMSD in Cleveland and Akron Public Schools, have indicated that they may not make that goal.
DeWine was angry during a hastily-called briefing on February 12, where he specifically criticized Cleveland and Akron in his remarks.
"In Akron, school staff has been vaccinated in the Akron School District. But now we're told they won't go back until March 15. That is not acceptable," DeWine bristled. "In Cleveland, we are in the midst of vaccinating teachers and personnel in Cleveland City Schools. I asked if we should stop the vaccinations. Their CEO (Eric Gordon) has made a commitment to me to do everything in his power to get the kids back in class March 1."
Last Thursday, DeWine chose to take a 'glass half-full' attitude when it came to schools that are coming back and those who are not.
"The program has been successful," DeWine said. "The fact that some schools might miss this by a few days is not good, but I think we need to keep our eye on the ball. The glass is about 95 percent full and we should not fixate on the five percent."
DeWine noted that he had "received a text from Akron" moments before the start of the briefing, indicating that they were looking at moving up their timetable of return.
Akron Public Schools report 69% of the district's students will return to in-person learning after their families opted in. The other 31% will remain in 100% remote learning.
Editor's Note: The below video aired on February 12, 2021
- 'We're just not there yet': Cleveland Teachers Union president skeptical about district's plan to resume in-person learning
- Cleveland Metropolitan School District releases plan for return using hybrid learning beginning March 1
- Gov. Mike DeWine says state 'should not fixate' on Ohio school districts that won't be back by March 1