CLEVELAND — On Thursday, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health issued two key recommendations for schools as they prepare to reopen for the 2020-21 school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, the CCBH is advising districts in the county to begin the school year operating remotely due to the elevated health risk posed to students, staff and family members.
They are also recommending that schools discontinue extracurricular activities such as sports, band, theater and choir during the remote learning period.
The recommendation about discontinuing sports came a day before the Ohio High School Athletic Association said it plans to proceed with the fall season and cleared the way for fall sports practices to begin Saturday.
In the aftermath of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health's recommendations, the following districts in the county have responded:
- Bay Village City School District: District says eLearning may be likely, announcement to come. Sports can begin practicing on Thursday, Aug. 6.
- Beachwood City School District: Beachwood Schools will start the 2020-2021 school year with all students engaged in remote learning.
- Bedford City School District: All students will attend virtually for the first quarter of school. Sports, band, theater, choir, and other face to face activities will be suspended during the remote learning period.
- Berea City School District: Athletics have been suspended until further notice; The district's Reopening Task Force will take the recommendations of the CCBH under advisement during meeting on Monday, Aug. 3.
- Brecksville-Broadview Heights: District will move forward with hybrid plan for start of school. Students will attend in-person classes two days a week and engage in remote learning for three days a week, in order to allow for social distancing in schools.
- Brooklyn City School District: All athletic and extracurricular activities will be suspended until further notice. The district's School Reopening Format (in-person or remote) will be officially communicated to families next week.
- Euclid City School District: Students will learn at-home in a virtual environment for at least the first marking period - Oct. 16.; Practices, games and activities will be stopped immediately.
- Fairview Park City School District: The school year will begin remotely. All athletic and other extracurricular activities will be suspended immediately until further notice.
- Garfield Heights City School District: All extracurricular activities are suspended, including but not limited to all sports and band activities.
- Independence Local School District: The district will hold in-person classes for students five days a week, subject to change, based on infection rates and government agency guidance.
- Lakewood City School District: The district will begin the school year operating remotely. All athletic and other extracurricular activities will be suspended immediately until further notice
- Maple Heights City School District: The decision has been made to start the 2020-2021 school year in the Maple Heights City Schools in a fully remote platform.
- Mayfield City School District: Remote learning for at least the first quarter of the year. Non-contact and contact sports may practice. Non-contact sports (golf, tennis, volleyball, cross country) may compete against other teams.
- North Olmsted City School District: Effective immediately all extracurricular activities are suspended until further notice. The district says it will be re-evaluating its restart plan in the coming days.
- North Royalton City School District: Pausing all activities and athletics until a plan on reopening is finalized.
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- Olmsted Falls City School District: Reopening committee will meet this week. According to Superintendent Jim Lloyd, "there are still more than five weeks between now and our start date of September 8th. As a result, we continue to plan for our reopening and hope that our year may be able to start in person." Since the district is not officially in a remote learning model yet, they are allowing the continuance of extracurricular activities at this time.
- Orange Schools: Will be fully remote for the first semester (end-date 12/18/20) of the 2020-2021 school year. Fall sports and related co/extracurricular activities are suspended.
- Parma City School District: All student functions are suspended until further notice. Classes to resume with nine weeks of remote learning.
- Richmond Heights Local School District: Remote online learning for all students in grades PreK-12 for the start of the 2020-21 school year. No in-person instruction will be available, at this time, for the first quarter (9 weeks). The only sports for the fall will be cross country track and volleyball.
- Rocky River City School District: All school events, activities and athletics are postponed until further guidance is received from the CCBH. A special Board of Education meeting will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 5 to review further CCBH recommendations about online learning.
- Shaker Heights City School District: Students will begin the school year remotely on Monday, Aug. 31 and all in-person athletic practices, events and conditioning are suspended immediately until further notice.
- Solon City School District: Will start the year remotely for the first quarter. This includes the cessation of in-person athletics, band and extra-curricular activities for the first quarter effective immediately.
- South Euclid-Lyndhurst City School District: According to Superintendent Linda Reid, officials will "work in the coming days to determine what changes may need to be made to protect the safety of our students and staff. I will be in communication with you as we work through this process. We will also be reviewing the county’s recommendation on extracurricular activities."
- Strongsville City School District: Athletics and the SHS Marching Band will be allowed to practice, yet will remain in Phase II. A decision has not been made as to if the district will move forward with its planned phase-in start or if it will take the CCBH recommendation to start the 2020-21 school year in Remote Learning 2.0.
- Warrensville Heights City School District: The administrative team, staff and Board of Education is working collaboratively to provide additional information available to parents and staff regarding readjustments in the coming days.
- Westlake City School District: School year will begin remotely. Girls Tennis, Boys Golf, and Girls Golf will proceed as scheduled. Football, Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, Volleyball, Boys Cross Country, and Girls Cross Country will be delayed and revert back to the OHSAA Phase 1 Restrictions.
CCBH says sports competitions and other extracurricular activities may not be conducive to the use of protective measures like social distancing or the use of facial coverings during participation. Additionally, activities such as band, theater and choir also have the potential to increase transmission through spread of respiratory droplets.
"Without the implementation of these primary prevention strategies, the potential for COVID-19 transmission between athletes, trainers and coaching staff dramatically increases. Transmission that may occur in these settings has the potential to spread elsewhere in the general community," the CCBH says, adding that data indicates that the current level of community transmission of COVID-19 is "significant."